Malta is a key European Union country given its geographical location and its accession this year to the United Nations Security Council, as a non-permanent member, President Alar Karis says.
Speaking during an official visit by the President of Malta George Vella, to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which both also formally joined the EU at the same time, in May 2004, President Karis noted the continued, strong relations between the two countries and burgeoning cooperation, most notably in education and tourism.
The Estonian president said: "Malta offers Estonian tourists warm seas and a sunny climate, while in Estonia, you can hike in forests and some unique bog-lands," with reference to differences between the two EU member states, while as to similarities, the Estonian president noted that many schools on Malta use Estonian-made online gaming environments as a n aid to studying mathematics.
President Karis also congratulated President Vella and Malta on becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, a post Estonia held 2020-2021.
Given the current security situation, President Karis also expressed his hopes that Malta be active in the organization in conducting of necessary reforms, and that it will firmly continue to put pressure on the Russian Federation, a permanent security council member.
President Karis also spoke of the importance of keeping green issues in focus and not to bow to Russian pressure to circumvent this, even in a situation of soaring energy prices.
The Estonian president also highlighted Russia's use of both energy and food supplies as a weapon.
He said: "We must isolate and weaken Russia until they halt, and continue to fully support Ukraine for as long as necessary, to help it win the conflict. It is crucial to explain to all countries that Russia is destabilizing the world economy by effectively stealing Ukraine's grain, and stopping the flow of natural gas to Europe regardless of previous contracts and agreements."
The president also noted Malta's experience as a front-line EU state in terms of migration, adding that Estonia, too, was now in the front line, given the influx of Ukrainian people fleeing the Russian invasion, and highlighted the need to strengthen the EU's support for these people and for the member states most affected by migration.
Both countries support the expansion of the EU and the integration of the western Balkan nations, as well as Ukraine and Moldova, into the union, as a way of preserving security and ironing out gray areas in alignment in the EU's neighborhood.
The Head of State of Malta George Vella and his wife are visiting Estonia Tuesday and Wednesday, to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
President Vella is also meeting with Riigikogu Speaker Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu and Tallinn City Council Chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski, while on his official visit, while Miriam Vella is accompanying Sirje Karis on a visit to a children's home and to the Estonian History Museum.
When Estonia first became independent in 1920, Malta was under British rule. It became independent in 1964.
Estonia and Malta also face each other on the football field in in Tallinn, in a Nations League clash later this month.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia