03 August 2011
Assistant Chief Minister, UK and International Relations, Senator Freddie Cohen held a productive meeting yesterday (2 August) with Malta’s Prime Minister in the country’s capital city of Valetta.
Both Senator Cohen and Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, attended the meeting with Dr Lawrence Gonzi, the Maltese Prime Minister.
The meeting took place in the historic Auberge de Castille, which was once the official seat of the Knights of St John and now houses the Office of the Prime Minister.
Jersey and Malta’s common history was discussed, focusing particularly on the similarities between Malta’s ancient temples and comparable sites in Jersey such as Hougie Bie, as well as the Islands’ shared Napoleonic history (Malta was also invaded by the French in 1798, just 17 years after the Battle of Jersey). Points of similarity were also found in the siege of Malta during World War II and the German occupation of the Channel Islands.
On a more contemporary note, proposals to exchange students with the Malta Stock Exchange and to twin schools with Malta were also discussed. Other topics included the possibility of an exchange of art exhibitions with Malta, as well as co-operation within the financial services industry, matters of economic diversification, and the importance of broadband for small island economies.
During their trip to Malta, Ministers have attended a number of high-level meetings courtesy of the High Commissioner of Malta, His Excellency, Joseph Zammit Tabona. The High Commissioner invited Senators Cohen and Ozouf to visit the country after he met them in Jersey last year. Highlights from the busy itinerary were meetings with:
- Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi
- High Commissioner of Malta, His Excellency, Joseph Zammit Tabona
- Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investments, Tonio Fenech
- British High Commissioner to Malta, Her Excellency, Louise Stanton
- Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, Tourism and Culture, Mario de Marco
- Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority
- Chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange
- Chairman of the financial services promotional body, FinanceMalta
- CEO of HSBC Malta
- Chairman of Valletta Port Cruises
- Chairman and CEO of Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority
- Chairman of Malta Enterprise
Senator Cohen said “I was delighted to meet the Prime Minister of Malta. We had wide-ranging discussions on cultural, economic and educational issues. As island economies we have shared histories and we also share certain challenges for the future, which is why I was particularly pleased to have been able to discuss the proposal to promote student exchange and the twinning of a Jersey school with a Maltese school.”
Senator Ozouf added “It has been interesting and positive to have had the opportunity over the last four days to discuss many common issues that affect both Jersey and Malta in sectors such as financial services and information technology. It is through discussions like these that we are able to learn from one another.”