Jānis Zelmenis

Speech of the honorary consul of Malta in Latvia on the reception in the honor of the independence day of the Republic of Malta 19.09.2015

20 September, 2015

Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests!

I would like to express my deep gratitude for you being here on this important day. It is a historical moment as it is the first time in Latvia that we are celebrating the Malta Independence Day. The Republic of Malta, an island archipelago with a population of some 421,000 located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the North African coast, has gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, on September 21.

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State. Ten years later, on 13 December, 1974, Malta declared itself a republic with a President as head of state. Malta is remembered as the venue for a summit between the US President George Bush Sr and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989, their first face-to-face ever encounter, which signalled the end of the Cold War. Malta, like Latvia, joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, and joined the Eurozone in 2008.

There is an honorary consulate in Riga since 2006. The mission of the consulate is the development of the economic and cultural relations between the two countries, enhancing business and investment opportunities. Air Baltic and tourism is an excellent example of such business contacts. The mission of consulate is to help Maltese citizens in the cases of emergency.

The global political climate is on torn between the undeniable economic benefits of migration and the political need to implement protectionist measures to appease the concerns of the general public. This has led to a number of countries implementing immigration and citizenship laws designed to meet these twin aims. The Republic of Malta has accumulated huge experience in this respect.

To quote the words of the President of the Republic of Malta H.E. Marie – Louise Coleiro Preca – We are facing a quite socially and economically unstable situation. Recent events prove that we lack tolerance towards each other. Peace shall be a way of life, creating a strong ground where we are not ignoring each other’s needs. There shall be a sense of a social commitment. We need to change, to prosper to the economic growth in order that we all can live in dignity. Both Malta and Latvia are parts of European Union, which implies being a multicultural society. To sum up both countries stand for the same three priorities: sense of social commitment, stability and competitiveness.

I am glad to welcome today our special guest from Malta, Mr. Karl Chetuci, who has come here to introduce for the first time the Maltese wine in Latvia. Meridiana’s wine estate is situated on a plain at the centre of Malta in close proximity to the ancient, walled-city of Mdina.  I want to thank you for sharing this historical moment, celebrating for the first time in Latvia the Maltese Independence Day.

Happy Independence Day!