On the 17th October, Ambassador John Paul Grech hosted the ‘Group 13’ – an informal group of thirteen resident ambassadors coming from all regional groupings, including Europe, Africa and Middle East, Asia, Latin America – to a working lunch to discuss the issue of migration, especially its illegal dimension.
The guest speaker was Dr. Peter Altmaier, Federal Parliamentary State Secretary within the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany. It is worthwhile mentioning that apart from Malta, the Group 13 includes, inter alia, Egypt, Spain and Italy – three key countries deeply involved in the question of illegal immigration in the Mediterranean.
The German State Secretary was unequivocal with respect to the fact that Germany fully recognizes the special needs of Malta to counter this phenomenon and to this end has been advocating and contributing towards tailor-made and special solutions for Malta. Apart from receiving a number of refugees, Germany is contributing to the Frontex-led Nautilus operations in the central Mediterranean.
Two days later the ambassador travelled to Bremen to deliver the inaugural address marking the foundation of the Association of Maltese Linguistics within the Institute of General and Applied Linguistics of the University of Bremen.
The foundation of the Association took place in the context of an international symposium on aspects of Maltese Linguistics organised by the Institute on the initiative of Professor Thomas Stolz who last March delivered a number of lectures at the University of Malta and who is the Association’s first President.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture sponsored an evening to celebrate the founding of the Association. Two Maltese chefs cooked a fenkata in Bremen, while Maltese folk singer-songwriter Walter Micallef provided entertainment during the evening.
The event was also attended by the President of the Malta Council on the Maltese Language, Professor Manwel Mifsud, who along with Bernard Comrie (Leipzig), Ray Fabri (Malta) and Martine Vanhove (Villejuif), were elected Vice-Presidents of the Association.
The Association will request the University of Bremen to support future initiatives and seminars, the first being a follow-up seminar planned for Spring 2009. To this end, the Embassy has already made representations with the Rector of the University of Bremen to endorse and support this initiative.
On October 28, Ambassador John Paul Grech was in Stuttgart to start an intensive two-day official visit to the region of Baden-Württemberg, the area from which most of the German companies operating in Malta emanate. Ambassador Grech was accompanied by Dr. Stephanie Anzinger and Mr. Noel Hollier from Malta Enterprise.
The visit included:
a) a meeting with the Vice President of the Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg;
b) a workshop organised in collaboration with Malta Enterprise at the Chamber of Commerce Rhein-Neckar Mannheim, where Ambassador Grech delivered a speech on ‘Malta in the EU – A New Perspective after Three Years’, while Prominent International and Lufthansa Technik delivered testimonials to over 22 participants from the Mannheim business community;
c) the opening of an art exhibition by Maltese-Gozitan artist, John Grima held at the LandesBank Baden-Württemberg, Mannheim, where Ambassador Grech delivered an art critique on the art of Grima;
d) one-to-one meetings with a number of global players from the Stuttgart area including Daimler, to explore investment promotion opportunities in Malta;
e) a meeting with high officials from the Chamber of Commerce, Stuttgart;
f) a meeting with the Minister of Trade of Baden-Württemberg, Ernst Pfister, and
g) a meeting with the Lord Mayor of Mannheim.