‘An even stronger relationship between the Order and Europe’
The cooperation agreement signed with the President of the European Commission
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso received in Brussels the Grand Master of the Order of Malta Fra’ Matthew Festing. During the meeting, together with the Order’s Grand Chancellor Jean-Pierre Mazery, an important international cooperation agreement was signed.
In his statement, the Grand Master pointed out that: ‘this agreement has great implications: it constitutes the base for developing an even stronger relationship between the Order of Malta and Europe’. President Barroso has asserted that: ‘the European Commission shares the Order of Malta’s values and mission and will do all it can to support its work’.
The Memorandum affirms that the European Commission and the Order of Malta, emphasizing the importance of their adherence to fundamental values and their common approach with partner countries based on the promotion of respect of human dignity, freedom, solidarity, justice and good governance, will cooperate in the following areas:
– assistance in emergency and post-crisis situations, including rehabilitation and development
– medical and social assistance to persons involved in migration
– support to local economic and social development
– protection of victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups
– dissemination of international human rights
– inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue
– sponsorship of seminars and workshops on topics of common interest
In the talks following the signature ceremony, Grand Master Festing and President Barroso addressed numerous topics of international scope. From the Middle East, with reference to the humanitarian situation in Gaza, to the migration flows towards Europe, specifically in the Mediterranean basin, and the Order’s humanitarian initiatives in this sector in various European countries. There was particular emphasis on intercultural dialogue, activities in favour of the disabled and, finally, the initiatives planned for 2010, European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
The Grand Master and President Barroso agreed to meet again in Rome, in the Magistral Villa.