The strength of our relationship is supported by political convergence (issues including migration, the Mediterranean and Libya), enhanced administrative cooperation (training of Maltese diplomats at the French National School of Public Administration – ENA), excellent cooperation on COP21 (Malta was one of the first States to ratify the agreement and Mr Muscat took part in the One Planet Summit on 12 December 2017), as well as areas of bilateral cooperation that are growing in substance.
Visits to France Prime Minister Muscat chose Paris for the first stage of his tour of major European capitals, on 28 November 2016. Alongside their meeting on 13 July 2018, the Foreign Ministers of France, Jean-Yves le Drian, and Malta, Carmelo Abela, signed a diplomatic cooperation agreement.
Visits to Malta: the French President twice visited Valletta in 2015: on 11-12 November for the EU-AU summit on migration, and for the opening of the Commonwealth Summit on 27 November. In 2017, during the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the French President visited Valletta on 3 February for the informal meeting of EU leaders.
French investment in Malta is limited, but the French presence is crucial for the Maltese economy. France is the country’s fourth-largest trading partner: STMicroelectronics is the main employer and the island’s biggest exporter (50% of the country’s exports) and the French-owned CMA CGM runs Malta’s commercial port (12% of the Mediterranean’s container shipping).
Work in promoting the French language in Malta is mainly driven by the Malta-Mediterranean Alliance Française branch which has 800 students. There are no State or private schools in Malta offering teaching in French or that offer a French curriculum.
Academic cooperation is somewhat limited. The University of Malta is partnered with University of Nancy II but there is little student mobility. There is strong competition with Italian and English.
More is done from a scientific perspective, with the most important initiative being the launch of a regional office of the French National Centre for Scientific Research at the University of Valletta and the implementation of the “Mistrals” research programme in 2011. This reflects our wish to construct a Euro-Mediterranean research area.
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Updated: 26 July 2018