The Grand Chancellor meets European Ambassadors to discuss common challenges ahead
The unexpected and radical changes imposed by the pandemic, and its far reaching social and economic consequences – beyond the medical ones – were discussed in the working lunch between the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Albrecht Boeselager, with over 20 Ambassadors from different European countries, which took place yesterday in Rome at the Magistral Villa.
“The present status of international relations continues to be characterized by a widespread world disorder, a crisis of democracy, violations of human rights, autocratic trends, rise of nationalism and protectionism. All these factors are inevitably affecting humanitarian diplomacy,” said the Grand Chancellor.
Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg, head of the European Union delegation to the Order of Malta and the Holy See, echoed Boeselager’s concern and noted: “Is high time that we can meet again to exchange views on global crisis situations and strengthen our cooperation in areas of common concern: humanitarian assistance, dealing with migration and refugees, and the health sector, especially with regard to the Covid emergency. We both support fair distribution of vaccines as we can overcome this emergency only by acting together and not leaving the poorest behind”.
As Boeselager explained during the meeting “the remittances of migrant workers, estimated at 600 billion USD in 2019 have dropped in 2020 by 15% and are estimated to drop this year by further 15%. This is about as much as the entire development aid or co-operation worldwide. Many African countries have gone back 10 years from the point of view of their development. The production of the covid vaccine has effectively halted the production of other vaccines. Diseases such as dengue fever are again becoming a threat due to the lack of vaccines. All these factors will increase migratory pressure on Europe”, Boeselager stated.
The Grand Chancellor illustrated the action undertaken by the Order of Malta over the past few months to fight the pandemic, both at a medical level and at a diplomatic level, with the implementation of the “Doctor to Doctor” project aimed at increasing knowledge of the virus and how therapies for its containment, allowing different countries to learn from each other.
Boeselager also emphasized the Order of Malta’s continuous efforts to ensure the observance of principles of human dignity and the implementation of humanitarian laws. An example is the training course for Libyan official organized online in February on “Protection of migrants and refugees” which represented a valuable experience for a country undergoing rapid transformations, with the Government of National Unity formed in March 2021.
The ambassadors of the European Union, most of them accredited to the Sovereign Order of Malta, received more information on the Order’s constitutional reform process.