The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Prioritizing peace

Owen Bonnici Friday, 12 April 2024, 10:34 Last update: about 2 months ago

Establishing peace in Gaza and seeking the implementation of the two-State Solution in the Middle East should be regarded as an imperative task by the European Union. It is essential to prioritize efforts aimed at fostering peace in Gaza and giving our all to the realisation of the ideal of having, in our lifetime, two countries - Israel and Palestine – standing next to each other.

Similarly we must keep standing fast with Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unlawful aggression and this for as long as it takes.


I had to pleasure to underscore those points during a recent address which I gave as a guest speaker at a conference organized by the Party of European Socialists in Bucharest which was called “We stand together, for our Europe”.

Central to the discussion was the notion that the European Union (EU) must base its foreign policy on values rooted in social justice. Values serve not only to define the EU's identity but also as instruments for effecting positive change on the international stage. I emphasized that environmental sustainability, economic equity, and technological advancement must be integral components in shaping the EU's foreign policy, as these areas present significant opportunities for a socially-just EU to make a tangible impact.

Moreover, the importance of actively working towards peace cannot be overstated. In the context of the ongoing conflicts and geopolitical tensions, prioritizing peacebuilding efforts is paramount. As a citizen of Malta, a country that has navigated its own challenges through history, I understand firsthand the significance of promoting peace and stability in regions grappling with conflict and unrest.

In this vein, Europe's solidarity with Ukraine serves as a testament to the collective commitment to upholding international law and defending the sovereignty of nations. The EU's unwavering support for Ukraine underscores the imperative of standing shoulder to shoulder with countries facing external aggression, while also advocating for diplomatic solutions and peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

Similarly, the pursuit of peace in Gaza and the implementation of a viable two-state solution for Israel and Palestine are critical endeavors that demand earnest attention and concerted action. Recognizing the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security is fundamental to achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict. It is incumbent upon the international community, including the EU, to actively support and facilitate dialogue, negotiation, and reconciliation efforts between the parties involved.

As important as the value of actively pursuing peace, is the value of social mobility.  Social mobility emerges as a key factor in building a fairer and more inclusive Europe. Ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens to thrive independently is essential for fostering social cohesion and economic prosperity across the continent. By prioritizing policies that promote social mobility and address systemic inequalities, the EU can create a more just and equitable society for its citizens.

During the conference, notable speakers such as German Chancellor Olaf Schultz and PES Spitzenkandidat European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit highlighted the importance of advancing social justice as a cornerstone of EU policy. Their insights underscored the need for collective action and solidarity in addressing pressing global challenges and advancing shared values of peace, justice, and equality.



The main premises of Għaqda Mużikali San Pietru fil-Ktajjen ta’ Birżebbuġa

The process of acquiring the premises of Għaqda Mużikali San Pietru fil-Ktajjen ta’ Birżebbuġa has been successfully completed. Seven properties belonging to Musical Societies have now been procured from the Government with another five being under a formal promise of sale agreement.

The seven premises which we have acquired are those relating to Marija Reġina Musical Society in Marsa (established in 1977), Stella Levantina in Ħ’Attard, Circolo San Giuseppe Filarmonika Sagra Familja in Kalkara, Santa Liena Band Duke of Connaught’s Own Musical Society in Birkirkara, Antoine de Paule band club in Raħal Ġdid, and Stella Maris band club in Tas-Sliema. These properties are now owned by the Government, acting as the principal landlord for these societies.

These twelve societies were facing serious eviction risks due to legal complexities predating the 1995 rent laws.

The Government took proactive steps to safeguard these musical societies, which are integral to Maltese Festa in every community. While highlighting the significant benefits derived from supporting Maltese festaI would like to emphasizes the importance of these Band Clubs remaining operational and accessible to their respective communities.

Thus, the Government's decision to intervene and purchase premises facing imminent eviction is seen as a crucial move to bolster the cultural sector, especially following UNESCO's recent recognition of the Maltese festa as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Will continue being committed to ensure that the Maltese identity and traditions continue to thrive within our communities.

The acquisition of Għaqda Mużikali San Pietru fil-Ktajjen ta’ Birżebbuġa was completed with a total investment of €1,100,000. Overall, the Government anticipates investing €19 million, factoring in the acquisition costs of the seven properties already secured and the pending contracts for the remaining five properties.


100th anniversary since the arrival of the first organ in Malta

One hundred years have passed since the first organ made by the renowned Mascioni family, arrived in Malta. It was installed in the parish of Ħal Safi in April 1924, and from there, several parishes across our country, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral, acquired organs from the same Italian family.

To commemorate this anniversary, a number of cultural activities will take place, notably a concert scheduled for today at the Ħal Safi Parish Church, featuring organists Sylvana Camilleri, Paul Portelli, Joe Caruana, and Mark Vassallo. Through carefully selected pieces, attendees will have the opportunity to appreciate the versatility of this instrument, while witnessing the talents of some of our finest organists. Joining these organists will be the Macula Choir Ensemble and soloists from the Ħal Safi Band.

It was Monsignor Giovanni Battista Ghigo in 1923 who commissioned the present organ, funded by benefactor Michelangelo Busuttil. The organ, comprising a 56-note keyboard and a 27-note pedalboard, arrived in Malta in April 1924 and was first used on Easter Sunday, April 27th, 1924. In January 1962, after an agreement with the Mascioni company, an electric blower was installed to operate the organ. Over time, the organ underwent two restoration interventions, one in the sixties by Father Mikiel D'Amato and another in 2004 by Robert Buhagiar.

During this concert, organized in collaboration with the local council and the Western Region, there will also be historical interventions and visual presentations. Admission to the concert is free of charge.

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