- Capital - Valletta
- Population – 450,285 (2013 est.)
- Government – Parliamentary Republic
- Prime Minister – Joseph Muscat (since March 2013)
- President – George Abela
Malta - Public Diplomacy Overview
Malta is a member of European Union (2004), Eurozone (2008), Commonwealth of Nations and UN.
Malta has been called the symbolic point where East meets West, due to its location in the Mediterranean Sea halfway between Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. Because of this location, it is a major shipping center and throughout history has acted as a safe haven and refueling location for various military forces. The Maltese economy relies heavily on foreign trade and tourism, thus public diplomacy is a key resource for promotion of the country, although a growing boost to the economy has been found in the film industry. Malta has made a strong campaign for bringing film production crews to the region. In addition, the Maltese are hoping to capitalize on a world renowned health system and increase their market for medical tourism.
Seeking entry to the European Union, former Maltese President, Professor Guido de Marco summarized Malta’s diplomacy as having fundamentally two pillars, “two directives which endorse each other and which reflect Malta's place in history and in geography; we are a European country, with a language and a culture which underlines the Mediterranean character of our country. Within this context our awareness of the politics of the region and indeed our understanding of the problems affecting our Southern neighbors, give us an insight which I believe will be Malta's positive contribution to the European Union in its Mediterranean dimension.”
Malta Foreign Policy
After its admission into the European Union, Malta set out to revamp, update and outline its foreign policy strategic objectives. Malta’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2008, Michael Frendo remarked, “This new context [the EU] provides us with new challenges which require new approaches. Membership of the EU places us firmly within the historical process of the construction of a post-Cold War united Europe. It frees the mind from the constraints of a small territory and provides our citizens with a continent in which they can, by right, travel, study, work and reside. It provides us with the tools to influence decision-making in European policies including common foreign policy and therefore enables us to strengthen our relevance and enhances our weight to international affairs in all contexts, regional, bilateral, multilateral and/or regional context feeds strength and relevance in bilateral relations and vice-versa. The formulation of Strategic Objectives of Malta's Foreign Policy must be seen within the context of the new reality of membership of the European Union and, equally, within the reality of a globalized world economy, increased competition, new emerging markets and industrial powerhouses, a defunct Cold War paradigm, a reform and review of the United Nations Organization, the emergence of terrorism and a global threat, religious fundamentalism and the rise of illegal immigration. Malta must be supple and fast to adjust to these new realties. It must be proactive internationally retaining a definite and clear focus.”
The Strategic Objectives
I: Harness Malta's geopolitical relevance to maximise political and economic benefits
II: Make a success of European Union Membership and contribute towards the construction of a European Union which gives added value to its member states and its citizens
III: Strengthen Malta's bilateral relations, in particular relations with its immediate neighbours
IV: Maintain a special focus on furthering dialogue, peace, stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean and the Middle East
V: Promote Malta's relationship with existing and emerging major economies
VI: Seek maximisation of multisectoral benefits from Malta's international network of embassies and consulates
VII: Address holistically the international aspects of illegal immigration
VIII: Actively contribute to further development and good governance within the Commonwealth
IX: Network effectively with the Maltese abroad
X: Promote stronger political and economic relations with the countries of Maltese migration
XI: Promote Maltese culture and identity internationally
XII: Promote Malta as a location for international dialogue and scholarship
XIII: Work with the International Community to defeat terrorism and extremism
XIV: Promote democratisation and further respect for the rule of law and human rights
XV: Promote respect of the International Rule of Law and the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflict
XVI: Maintain a special focus on issues relating to the Sea
XVII: Support a just regulation of international commerce and promote Malta's interests with regard to the challenges of globalisation
XVIII: Elaborate and Action a Policy and Work Programme of Humanitarian and Development Assistance, based on the value of solidarity
XIX: Address other current global issues of concern to Malta: Energy Security; Climate Change; Small States; Ageing; Children
XX: Maintain a dynamic organisational structure that can meet these objectives
The Malta Conference (1945)
The Malta Conference was held from January 30 to February 3, 1945 between President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom on the island of Malta. The purpose of the conference was to plan the final campaign against the Germans with the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Both leaders agreed on the undesirability of the Red Army advancing into central Europe. Another focal point of discussion was finding a solution for the millions of Displaced Persons of the Holocaust.
The Malta Summit (1989)
The Malta Summit consisted of a meeting between U.S. President George H. W. Bush and U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev, taking place between December 2-3 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. No agreements were signed at the Malta Summit. Its main purpose was to provide the two superpowers - the United States and the Soviet Union - with an opportunity to discuss the rapid changes taking place in Europe with the lifting of the Iron Curtain, which had separated the Eastern Bloc from Western Europe for four decades. The summit is viewed by some observers as the official end of the Cold War. The meetings took place on board the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorkiy, anchored off the coast of Marsaxlokk Harbour. The choice of venue was also highly symbolic. The Maltese Islands are strategically located at the geographic centre of the Mediterranean Sea, where east meets west and north meets south. The Malta Summit of 1989 signalled a reversal of many of the decisions taken at the 1945 Yalta Conference. President Bush said: "We can realise a lasting peace and transform the East-West relationship to one of enduring co-operation. That is the future that Chairman Gorbachev and I began right here in Malta."
Cultural Public Diplomacy
Malta Council for Culture and the Arts
Pressure from the Democratic Nationalist Party helped to establish the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts by an act of Parliament. One initiative that the Nationalist party felt was crucially important was cultural exchange and sharing of information and knowledge regarding culture, across boundaries. Today the council works closely with the UNESCO on implementing several cultural initiatives, including the UN’s year of dialogue.
Council Objectives: 1. Raise standards in cultural programs across all art forms 2. Create opportunities and generate exposure for young talented artists both locally and internationally 3. Develop educational structures that encourage active participation and enhance creativity for all students of all ages 4. Broaden and increase access to high quality arts and cultural events 5. Develop sustainable relationships with business channels and organisations in the field of art and culture 6. Build awareness and promote Maltese culture and arts locally, around the Mediterranean basin and internationally
National Orchestra of Malta
Founded in 1968, the National Orchestra of Malta has integrated much of the compositions of many European composers. In part, this is thanks to the excellent co-operation that the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys with important Orchestras in Europe.
The Orchestra toured for the first time during the season 2001-02. In Belgium the Orchestra performed at the City Hall in Brussels, while in Sicily, in collaboration with the Teatru Manoel (Malta) and Operalaboratorio of Palermo, it took part in a five-performance production of Mozart's Cosi' fan tutte at Palermo's Teatro Orione. In June 2003, the National Orchestra participated in the production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide at Rome's Teatro Argentina, followed by a concert in the evocative ruins of Villa Adriana in Tivoli.
In August 2006 the members from the string sections of the Orchestra teamed up with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra through EU's Leonardo Mobility Project, which enabled a number of string musicians to join one of the world's top orchestras in workshops and two concerts held at the Spilberk 2006 Festival in Brno, Czech Republic. In January 2007 the Orchestra joined the Orchestra Sinfonica di Pesaro in two concerts at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta in Malta and the Teatro Gioacchino Rossini in Pesaro, Italy.
More recently, in March 2008, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra performed Rossini's La Cenerentola on two consecutive nights with great success at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano, Switzerland.
The Malta Film Commission is a government body established for the role of advising the Minister responsible for the film sector on policies pertaining to the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual and film servicing industry. The Film Commissioner has the responsibility to assist the production of films in Malta and the set up of industries for the production of films in Malta and to market the locations, facilities, skills, talent and expertise available in Malta in order to attract inward investment in the form of international audiovisual productions shooting on the island.
Malta has created a robust program of incentives to lure film opportunities to the country including: cash rebates, tax credits, co-productions and investment funds.
Malta boasts a plethora of diversity in filming locations that transcend multiple era’s including: Antiquity - Prehistoric structures, ancient landscapes and impenetrable fortresses provide productions with settings that have changed little over thousands of years.
High Baroque - The beautiful and immaculately-preserved cities of Valletta, Mdina and Cottonera offer a multitude of locations ideal for productions set between the 15th-19th centuries
Contemporary - Ongoing development means that modern Malta also offers contemporary urban settings with a uniquely Mediterranean aspect
In addition, Malta has worked to cultivate a trained workforce ready made for film production. The skills and experience of Maltese crew have developed enormously over the past few years. An increase in the number of people involved in this sector was also registered. Production managers, production coordinators, second and third assistant directors, location managers, camera assistants, art directors, special effects supervisors, production assistants and many other positions can all be hired from Malta.
A few of the well known movies filmed in Malta include: Captain Philips, U-571, Gladiator, Troy, Midnight Express, Popeye, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Munich. Film directors Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Ridley Scott, Alan Parker, John Glen, Robert Altman, Renny Harlin and Roman Polanski as well as producers Dino de Laurentis, Lord Puttman and Branko Lustig have all filmed in Malta over the years. some of this is true.
Rolex Middle Sea Race
In 2009, the Rolex Middle Sea race will take place on October 17, off the shores of Malta where it has been held for the last 30 years. The Middle Sea Race was conceived as the result of sporting rivalry between great friends, Paul and John Ripard and an Englishman residing in Malta called Jimmy White, all members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC). In the early fifties, it was mainly British servicemen stationed in Malta who competitively raced. Even the boats had a military connection, since they were old German training boats captured by the British during the war.
The course attracts athletes and spectators form around the world and offers an exciting race in different conditions prevailing in Maltese coastal waters.
Ted Turner, CEO of Turner Communications, has written that the Middle Sea Race "must be the most beautiful race course in the world. What other event has an active volcano as a mark of the course?"
Tourism & Country Branding
In 2006, The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) embarked on a branding exercise hoping to more effectively have an impact on the way Malta is marketed in the various tourism segments. The branding of the Maltese islands is high on the agenda of Government and the Malta Tourism Authority, and indeed, goes hand in hand with the MTA’s new approach towards marketing the destination.
The Malta Tourism Authority has a diverse role, but one which, in essence, is all about creating and fostering relationships. MTA is Malta’s tourism industry regulator and motivator, its business partner, the country’s brand promoter, and maintains and manages meaningful partnerships with all tourism stakeholders. MTA also fosters relations with local and international media.
The official role of MTA is:
- to promote and advance Malta as a tourism destination;
- to advise Government on tourism operations and to issue licenses under the Act;
- to contribute toward the improvement of the level of human resources in the tourism industry; and
- to advise government on the planning and development of the tourism industry as well as on the infrastructure supporting the industry.
Malta is hoping to capitalize on the emerging market for medical tourism. Malta established its first hospital in 1372 and has consistently ranked high in the World Health Organization country ratings, currently residing at number five. Current efforts are focused primarily on UK tourism opportunities as the Malta healthcare model is based on the UK model as well as English being one of Malta’s official languages.
Malta is hoping to attract both patients and physicians to the island for world class treatment and care.