Our political relations are very good and have intensified since Malta’s accession to the European Union. We are Malta’s 4th largest trading partner and our country has a very favorable image, especially since France decided to unilaterally implement the European Solidarity Pact adopted under the French Presidency of the European Union and relieve Malta of 200 migrants. However, French investments in Malta remain very modest.
1. Political Relations.
Frequency of Visits: following Malta’s accession to the EU, visits in both countries have intensified. They have set the pace since 2009. No state visit took place during President Sarkozy’s term. After Mr. Fillon met his counterpart in Malta on May 8th and 9th, 2008 (first visit to the archipelago by a French Prime Minister), Lawrence Gonzi came to France on October 20th, 2008, as part of the French Presidency of the EU. Numerous ministerial visits have also taken place since then (Mr. Jouyet, Mr. Hortefeux, Mr. Barnier, and Mr. Woerth in 2008, Mr. Kouchner and Mr. Besson in February 2009). Mr. Juppé participated in the 5+5 Forum defense ministers’ meeting on December 2nd, 2010, and Mr. Hortefeux, Minister of the Interior, met Mr. Borg on December 3rd, 2010, in Valletta. Finally, in September 2011, Malta’s Minister of Culture and Tourism was received by Mr. Mitterrand.
Fruitful dialogue: France enjoys a positive imagein the archipelago:
France unilaterally decided to implement the solidarity section of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, which was beneficial for Malta, desperate to find places to host migrants from the Libyan coast. We also supported Valletta during their bid to host the European Asylum Support Office;
unity regarding the Peace process: Valletta aligned with France in the UNGA regarding Palestine’s observer status, and voting alongside France for its admission to UNESCO;
- Operation Harmattan conducted in Libya demonstrated Malta’s total availability: provision of airspace and maritime areas, as well as Valletta airport, for French forces;
France has also benefited from its diplomatic stances during the U.S. intervention in Iraq. France’s restraint was appreciated by the Maltese, very committed to the principle of neutrality;
generally, France’s attitude towards Arab countries was considered constructive: both with regards to its positions in the Middle East and with respect to the Arab League. France’s interest in the Mediterranean is highly regarded by Malta;
finally, at a time when the Maltese are trying to break away from strong Anglo-Saxon influence they appear more disposed to focus on French culture and language.
Two issues require special monitoring:
Combating illegal immigration: this theme figures as a national priority.
Maritime security: despite transitioning from “black” to “white” classification under the Paris Protocol in 2010, the state of the fleet sailing under the Maltese flag remains unsatisfactory in terms of security: accident of the Maltese tanker “Erika” (37,000 tons of fuel) and, last December, the cargo ship TK Bremen (Maltese flag), with 190 tons of fuel on board, on a rated beach in the Morbihan. In 2011, the Maltese flag represented the largest fleet in Europe and seventh worldwide in transport capacity.
For reference: Online betting: several Maltese companies organize online betting for horse racing events in France. Prior to April 2010, this was against French legislation granting a monopoly to the PMU in this area, and caused a major dispute with the Maltese betting company Zeturf. This bilateral issue disappeared with the Law dated April 6th, 2010 regarding openness, competition, and regulating the gambling and betting sector being voted.
Updated on 12.10.12
African Union – Meeting between Laurent Fabius and Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (03.10.14)
This meeting provided an opportunity to strengthen the close dialogue between France and the African Union on issues relating to peace and security in Africa, notably in the Sahel-Saharan strip and the Central African Republic. Mr. Fabius and Mr. Chergui reaffirmed their shared commitment to supporting the fight against terrorism on the continent.
Africa – Terrorism – Meeting of the African Union (02.09.14)
France welcomes the meeting on September 2 in Nairobi that the African Union Peace and Security Council devoted to the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, under the chairmanship of Idriss Déby, President of the Republic of Chad, in which it participated.
Golan Heights – Kidnapping of blue helmets (29.08.14)
France condemns the detention by armed groups of 43 Fijian blue helmets deployed within the framework of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights (UNDOF), as well as the surrounding of Filipino blue helmets.
Situation of the Eastern Christians - Communiqué issued by Laurent Fabius and Bernard Cazeneuve (28.07.14)
The situation of the Eastern Christians is unfortunately dramatic. The ultimatum issued to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat facing these people – who have historically been an integral part of the region – by jihadist groups in Iraq as well as Syria and elsewhere.
5+5 dialogue - 11th Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Western Mediterranean (22.05.14)
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss regional issues and the common challenges faced by the 10 countries – both in the area of security, with the situation in the Sahel-Sahara region, and in the economic field.
Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (28-30.04.14)
The 6th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States took place from April 28 to 30 in Mérida, Mexico. It marked the 20th anniversary of this regional organization of which France has been an associate member since it was established in 1994.
Ibero-American General Secretariat – Election of Ms. Rebeca Grynspan (01.04.14)
France welcomes the unanimous election of Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, former Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, as head of the Ibero-American General Secretariat.
ECOWAS – Election of the Ghanaian chair (29.03.14)
France congratulates President John Dramani Mahama on his election as chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Presidency of the African Union in 2014 (30.01.14)
France warmly congratulates Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, on his election as chairman of the African Union in 2014. It expresses its full trust in the new chairman and wishes him every success in carrying out his mandate.
Support for independent Arab media: CFI, operator of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, strengthens its position (January 2014)
Canal France International (CFI), the French cooperation agency and media operator of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently signed two substantial contracts (worth €2.7million) with the European Union to develop projects in support of independent media in the Arab world.
African Union - Presentation of border archives (29.11.13)
These documents concern 45 treaties and maps of countries in West, North and East Africa during the period of 1845-1956.
Laurent Fabius’s participation in the Regional Ministerial Meeting on Border Security (14.11.13)
The challenges posed by trafficking, illegal immigration and terrorism concern us all and require more effective control of Libya’s border areas, and more generally the Sahara-Sahel region.
Visit to Paris by José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) (21-22.02.13)
The discussions provided an opportunity to confirm France’s determination to deepen its political relations and strengthen its cooperation with all countries of the region.
“Latin America – a major foreign policy objective” - Op-ed published by Laurent Fabius in the French newspaper Le Figaro (20.02.13)
Starting on February 21, I will travel to three Latin American countries – Colombia, Panama and Peru – to work on revitalizing our relations with this continent. My visit to the region, following those by the president and the prime minister, has a clear purpose: we want to foster a lasting rapprochement with Latin America; this is a major foreign policy objective for us.
Election of Hailemariam Desalegn as chairman of the African Union (28.01.13)
France welcomes the election of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as chairman of the African Union. It commends the exemplary work of the outgoing presidency held by Benin, notably with respect to Mali, for which it encouraged the mobilization of the African and international community.
- Diplomatic Photo Gallery
- France / Malta Republic (in French)