Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela was hosted at the Italian Foreign Ministry by his counterpart Minister Enzo Moaveri Milanesi. The two ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to intensify the excellent and historical bilateral ties on various levels between the two countries. They underscored the opportunities for the further strengthening of such relations, in particular with regard to close coordination in the field of migration, both on a bilateral and well as a European level, in the context of the revision of the Dublin Regulation.Malta and Italy also reaffirmed their common will to deepen collaboration on matters of mutual and longstanding interest.


Source: medNews


The diplomatic standoff between Malta and Italy on migration escalated and has worsened in the last hours as the Maltese government has accused the Italian authorities of creating a dangerous situation for the 629 migrants stranded on the vessel Aquarius. Amongst the rescued there are 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women.

The Maltese government also showed concerns at the Italian authorities’ directions given to the crew aboard Aquarius and insisted these go against the international rules. The ship is now some 27 miles east of Malta.

In a telephone communication with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat reiterated that Malta will not take the said vessel in its ports. Muscat insisted that his government is acting in full conformity with its international obligations.

The Maltese Premier said that without prejudice to its position, and in conformity with its policy throughout the past years, Malta has always been willing, where possible, to carry out emergency medical evacuations of persons requiring urgent medical care for humanitarian reasons.

The migrants were rescued by various vessels in the Libyan rescue zone and then transferred to the Aquarius. The Italian island of Lampedusa was the closest port of the rescue area, but the newly-elected right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared all the Italian ports closed and demanded Malta to take the migrants.


Source: medNews


A study conducted by the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (OADA) has revealed that the dates sector in Tunisia will face, during the next decade, several internal challenges including essentially an excess of production on the local market, in addition to overlap of the date collection period with the month of Ramadan of the year 2025. Among the external challenges of the date chain, the study mentions the self-sufficiency of the Moroccan market that has imported half of its demand from Tunisia. Tunisia will lose its position on the Moroccan market, as Morocco prepares to plant one million palm trees under the “Green Morocco” program, the study said, adding that Morocco aims to achieve self-sufficiency by 2025. The competition of the Algerian dates (Deglet Nour) is another challenge that Tunisia faces, especially since the date production of Algerian has accelerated the growth to reach, in 2014, 850 thousand tons, against 427 thousand tons in 1999.

In addition, imports from the European market are stagnant (Tunisia occupies 37% of the European market). The same study found that the Indian market imports 36% of its dates needs from Tunisia, while Tunisia’s share of the Asian market does not exceed 3%. He also revealed that the production chain of dates in Tunisia is facing structural problems in production: fragmentation of ownership, production based on the Nour deglet variety and aging of over one million palm trees. The study then addresses the problems of the continuous increase in production costs and the difficulties hampering agricultural mechanization within the old oases. It is also the weakness of the financial resources of small farmers, the rate of supervision, the lack of guidelines in the field and technical references to new technologies in addition to the abuse of natural resources. The document recommends the establishment of an action program to improve production, productivity and quality. The authors of the study call on farmers to join agricultural service cooperatives and adopt agricultural mechanization to control production costs, as well as the diversification of early varieties that can easily be sold on the domestic market. As far as quality improvement is concerned, the document requires greater value for the product by granting quality standards (organic and geographical production). It should be remembered that Tunisia currently has 6 million palm trees that produce 62% of the “deglet nour” variety and 38% of other varieties and average production has reached 201 thousand tons in the last decade.

Source: medNews


Italy was the main source of industrial equipment and machinery imports with $ 4.5m and accounted for 23.8% of the total covered month, followed by Germany with $ 4.3m (22.7%) and China with $ 3.1m (16.8%). The total of imports of industrial equipment and machinery reached $ 42.8m in the first two months of 2018, up by 35% from $ 31.7m in the same period of 2017. Italy was the main source of such imports and accounted for 27.7% of the total in the first two months of 2018, followed by Germany with 21.3% and China with 15.1%. Further, imports of industrial equipment and machinery amounted to $ 18.8m in February 2018, up by 75.6% from $ 10.7m in the same month of 2017. 

Figures released by the Ministry of Industry show that industrial exports totaled $ 390.4m in the first two months of 2018, constituting an increase of 4.7% from $ 372.7m in the same period of 2017. Industrial exports reached $203.4 in February 2018, up by 8.8% from $ 187m in the preceding month, and by 3.4% from $ 196.8m in February 2017.

On a country basis, Saudi Arabia was the main destination of Lebanese industrial exports and accounted for 8.3% of the total in the covered period, followed by Turkey with 8.2%, the UAE with 7.5%, Iraq with 7% , Syria with 5.4% and Qatar with 5.2%. In February 2018, 10 Arab States, 10 European economies, seven African countries, five Asian economics, three countries in the Americas and one country in Oceania imported $ 1m or more each of Lebanese industrial products.


Source: medNews


In the period January-April 2018 the number of tourists in Israel was 1.36 million, 25% more than the same period last year. The Ministry of Tourism expects to increase their numbers this year thanks to large-scale marketing efforts, but the current security threat is now casting a shadow over this optimism, because the tourism sector will be the first to suffer the effects negative with tourists who could reschedule their holidays, and there are concerns that the record of 3.6 million visitors last year will not be exceeded. This was announced by the Globes business newspaper.

Only in April 2018 (when the Jewish, Catholic and Orthodox holidays fall) there were 408,000 arrivals, 17% more than in April 2017, when 350,000 people visited Israel. The Ministry of Tourism states that the revenues related to the tourism sector in April exceeded 2.1 billion shekels. The optimism of the Ministry of tourism is also linked to the momentum created by the visibility achieved thanks to the Giro d’Italia, which started this year from Jerusalem. 238,000 of the 408,000 tourists in April, more than half, came from Europe, in particular from France, Germany and the United Kingdom. As part of the preparations for the cycling race of the Giro d’Italia, the number of visitors from Italy in April was 15,000, 48% more than in April of last year. The number of tourists from the United Kingdom fell by 13% to 19,300. 105,000 tourists came from North America, including over 80,000 from the United States, 16% more than last year. 14,000 tourists came from Central and South America, 41% more than in April 2017. The number of visitors from Asian countries reached only 35,700 units, still a very low number, but 32% more than last year.

Source: medNews


The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury and the Ambassador of Italy to Amman, Giovanni Brauzzi, signed the new Framework Agreement for Development Cooperation, which replaces and innovates the previous Agreement of 1966.

The new agreement – explains the Embassy – launches a structured cooperation, even in the medium and long term, in favor of the Hashemite Kingdom, which goes beyond the response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis that was the basis of the action of previous years.

The agreement signed yesterday morning in Amman, underlines the Embassy, “seals Italy’s ongoing commitment to supporting Jordan in the field of development cooperation”, which, it should be noted, has seen the return of the Hashemite Kingdom in the last three years among the priority countries for the action of the Italian Cooperation, the establishment of an AICS headquarters and, in March 2017, the signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding which makes available to Jordan over 162 million euros in three years between aid credits and gifts.

On the fringe of the signing of the agreement, Ambassador Brauzzi presented the Minister with the Honour of the Order of the Star of Italy, which was given to the Fakhoury of Jordan by President Mattarella.

Source: medNews


Go ahead from the shareholders’ meeting of Esso Italiana to an agreement with the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach for the sale of the Augusta refinery and fuel depots of the same city of Syracuse, of Palermo and Naples and of the related pipelines.
“The decision is the result of a thorough and careful evaluation – says in a statement Gianni Murano, president and CEO of Esso Italiana -. Our commitment in Italy, where we have been operating for over 125 years, is still valid. Esso Italiana and the companies of the Group will continue to serve the market and its customers “.
Esso Italiana and the companies of the ExxonMobil Group will also sign long-term commercial and technological contracts with Sonatrach for the supply of petroleum products, operational and development activities and the use of fuel depots in Augusta, Palermo and Naples.
“The agreement – the note of Esso Italiana explains – has no impact on Esso-branded service stations, customers, fuel and lubricating and wholesalers, or on other ExxonMobil Group operations in Italy”.

“Sonatrach is extremely proud to make its first international investment in the refining sector in Italy, in particular in Augusta – said Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, Chairman and CEO of Sonatrach – We are committed to maintaining employment levels, management continuity, operational excellence and high standards of health, safety and the environment. Our goal is a long-term presence, with a view to safety and commitment to constructive dialogue with the workforce, authorities and communities “.

Esso Italiana will “collaborate with Sonatrach to ensure careful management of the transition, with particular reference to personnel, security, relations with local communities and environmen protection – the company says -. During the transition, EssoItaliana will continue to ensure constant attention to the safety and efficiency of operations, and ensure compliance with the commitments undertaken with the authorities”.

The completion of the transfer of the business unit is subject to a number of conditions and legal restrictions, including the completion of the information and consultation process with the trade unions and the approval of the Antitrust Authority. The sale is expected by the end of 2018.
The employment contract of approximately 660 employees of Esso Italiana will be transferred to the purchaser.

Source: medNews


by Domenico Letizia*
ROME (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The growth rate of the Albanian economy, which has been rising in recent years, is expected to be the best of the Balkan area in 2018. The development of the Gross product is driven by several components: private consumption, a significant increase in exports and investments in general with specific focus on public ones related to the construction of civil infrastructures. However, the strong commercial dependence with strategic partners, such as Italy, should be emphasized, given that the ongoing economic recovery contributes to the increase in Albanian economic activity. With regards to the Banking System, as a whole, Silvio Pedrazzi, Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors Member of Intesa SanPaolo Bank Albania, recently stated in an interview that there are excellent parameters of liquidity and capital solidity which however are in contrast with some structural problems that can be traced back to the modest size of most Banks, to the high level of Problem Loans and to a low level of profitability. 

Moreover, even though Albania has joined the agreements for the exchange of tax and financial information (CRS – Common Reporting Standards) from the beginning, to date the competent Authorities have not yet issued the implementation instructions; the financial intermediaries are therefore not able to provide the public administration with the expected data. It should be noted that as a rule the Government and the “Donors” do not grant any financing directly to the commercial banks. The financial contributions made available by these subjects are aimed at the development of certain specific sectors or actions aimed at improving civil and social infrastructures.

In this context, the loans granted directly to the Albanian State by International Financial Institutions (such as World Bank, EBRD and other similar bodies) for the construction of improvements to the infrastructures (water, electricity, road networks, reduction of energy consumption) or for the efficiency of the public administration (reform of the Cadastre, reform of justice, etc.). In this case, the funds obtained are then injected into the local economy mainly through the use of tenders and / or contracts that can be attended by individual private companies, both local and foreign. In parallel, other funds are injected to provide the commercial banks with sources of funding to support and / or guarantee specific types of loans in specific economic sectors.

This is the case, for example, of the Guarantee Fund for Agribusiness (which covers up to around € 100 million) and funds for the development of female entrepreneurship (Women in Business). It should be remembered that the high Italian business presence is unique, a presence in almost all economic sectors, from manufacturing, to infrastructures and services; there are large, small and very small companies, constituting, as a whole, an extraordinary wealth both for Albania and for Italy. Italian entrepreneurs have been true pioneers, among others, in the renewable energy sector, in manufacturing processes and in the provision of services.

* Responsible for the Communication of “Italian Network” and President of the Research Institute of International Economics and Politics (Irepi)


Source: medNews


A prize to the memory, to the courage and to the head of a race chronicler. Daphne Caruana Galizia is the winner of the 2018 edition, the twenty-first edition of the national journalism award Mario and Giuseppe Francese, organized by the Order of Journalists of Sicily. The delivery ceremony will be held on Wednesday 2 May, in the main hall of the ‘Vittorio Emanuele II’ high school in Palermo. The title of the event will be ‘Freedom of press under attack’. Daphne Caruana Galicia is the Maltese journalist who was killed at the age of 53, last October 16, in the explosion of a car bomb. Two weeks before his murder she had filed a police report because she had received threats.

Source: medNews


According to an announcement by Minister of Transport, Hesham Arafat, Egypt is planning to build a high-speed train between El Alamein and Ain Sokhna.The project is part of the country’s EGP 55 billion investment in the railway sector, with construction set to begin in the second half of the year, Arafat revealed.

Egypt is also said to be working alongside China on developing a railway to link Cairo to the new capital, while other projects include a monorails in 6th of October City and in the new capital, as well as a railway lines between 6th of October and Aswan. Totaling EGP 120 billion, Egypt’s railway investment plans are reported to include a metro line, which will cost an estimated EGP 90 billion. The new metro line is set to accommodate four million passengers through 27 tunnel stations and 12 surface stations, at a length of 48km. 


Source: medNews

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