The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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‘This war has inflicted substantial material and moral damages upon the people of Ukraine’ -Bonnici

Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 11:44 Last update: about 3 months ago

Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici said that this year will be remembered as the year characterised by Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine. 

"This war has inflicted substantial material and moral damages upon the people of Ukraine, including its cultural sector, and as a European block we have a duty to support and assist in order to protect the cultural diversity of the continent," the minister stated.

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Whilst addressing a formal Culture Council meeting in Brussels, which was also attended by the Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister Bonnici stated that the impact on the cultural sector in Ukraine looks likely to be widespread and possibly last for a long time.

"In this context, Malta has already provided and is providing humanitarian support and services for Ukraine, but as the war rages on we need to keep looking for ways on how to keep supporting Ukraine and maintain humanitarian assistance," he continued.  Minister Bonnici explained that the European approach is best suited in order to directly address the issues at hand in the shortest time possible and highlighted Malta's support for the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

He also mentioned other means to assist the cultural sphere of Ukraine, such as cooperation that can be extended to artists through enhanced contacts between European Capitals of Culture and Ukrainian cities and the swift development of joint digitalisation programmes in the sector. This can help to offer a more secure environment.

He said that culture is the soul of a country, and thus Ukrainian culture must be seen as the foundation for Ukraine's future. He continued that it is important to develop long term remedies as they move forward together in keeping this support at the heart of the European Union.

"Indeed, the continuous war prevents the development of long-term remedies. Yet, this is a strategic move because keeping Ukrainian culture alive is important to protect the cultural diversity of this continent and build Ukraine's future. This concept also lies at the heart of the European Union," stated Minister Bonnici.

Also, during the Council, the Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova presented the Commission's proposal on the European Media Freedom Act to Ministers. Minister Bonnici thanked the Commission and the Presidency for the progress report prepared on this proposal, highlighting that Malta is supportive of EU action and the objectives of the proposed Act which would aim to improve the functioning of the internal media market.

The minister concluded that "Malta looks forward to the continued discussion under future Presidencies, in order to develop the best possible text that can reflect the needs of the sector."

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