Ittra tas-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-assocjazzjoni deheret fit-Times ta’ Malta ta’ llum rigward ir-rapport li kien deher fl-istess gazzetta dwar il-possibbiltà tal-għeluq tal-ambaxxata Maltija fi Brussell. L-ittra tgħid hekk:
Embassy in Brussels is essential
The report “Belgium Closes Its Embassy In Malta Due To Cost-Cutting” (July 12) questions the continued presence of a Maltese Embassy in Brussels.
I am not in a position to pass judgment on the value of this embassy when it comes to bilateral or multilateral relations.
I am, however, better placed to appreciate the work done by its staff numbering not more than two people (the Ambassador and the Consul-General) who offer an excellent service to the benefit of the Maltese in both Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Objectives include “Network effectively with the Maltese abroad”, “Promote stronger political and economic relations with the countries of Maltese migration” as well as “Promote Maltese culture and identity internationally”.
If those objectives are to stand any chance of being achieved, Belgium and Luxembourg cannot be overlooked.
The number of Maltese in these countries today makes them the third largest Maltese expat community in the EU after the UK and Italy. In 2011, more Maltese passports were distributed through Brussels than through the embassies in Paris and Berlin combined.
Transferring the embassy’s responsibilities to technical attachés at the Permanent Representation, as suggested in the report, is risky.
The role of these attachés requires skill in policy negotiation with the EU. To expect them to take up consular work is to fail to appreciate the highly-specialised nature of the work they do, not to mention the considerable work pressure they are already subject to.
Finally, the embassy also ensures Malta’s visibility in the EU’s capital. With the second largest diplomatic and press corps in the world, reducing Malta’s presence in Brussels would be to fail to maximise on this opportunity.
Secretary-General, Maltin fil-Belġju asbl