Melvyn Mangion on the Malta Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Melvyn Mangion
6 min readApr 6, 2021

Melvyn Mangion writes about the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s main role is to ensure that Malta’s foreign political objectives are reached both within the European Union and both regionally and globally.

Apart from this, the Ministry must ensure that it maintains effective relations with Maltese around the world, while strengthening its political and economic relationships with countries hosting Maltese emigrants.

The aims of Maltese foreign politics are to ensure that Malta benefits politically and economically from its geopolitical situation, that its membership in the European Union reaps benefits, and that in spite of its small size, Malta contributes towards the building and strenghthening of a European Union that gives added value to its citizens.

The Ministry must also maintain and improve Malta’s relations with international organisations such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth, and its bilateral relations especialy with its neighbouring countries in the Mediterranean according to Melvyn Mangion. The Ministry also works to promote Maltese culture and identity internationally so that Malta can serve as an international centre of dialogue and knowledge. The Ministry must ensure participation in regional fora with relevance to the Mediterranean, such as with the Euro-Mediterranean Process, the Northern Mediterranean Dialogue (5+5), and Med Forum.

Malta must continue to be proactive in order to promote peace and stability in the Mediterranean, so that prospects for peace in the region can continue to grow. Maltese foreign politics must also ensure that the country works with international communities in a fight against organised crime, terrorism, extremism, as well as human and illegal armaments trafficking.

From time to time, the Foreign Affairs Ministry focuses on specific issues. It is currently addressing the problems being brought about by climate change, and the issue of energy saving by backing international initiatives to bring about political and economical strength within energy producing countries so that it can secure an adequate supply.

Malta will continue to endorse the protection of children’s human rights worldwide as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and their right to live, grow and be protected from abuse and exploitation.

Malta is working hard to back international efforts to meet the demands of the elderly especially when it comes to training in developing countries. Malta will therefore continue to emphasise the importance of the elderly’s contribution towards the community.

During the past few years, Malta was negatively affected by the regular arrivals of immigrants, therefore it is insisting and will continue to insist that the problem be shared between all EU member states.

Consular Work

Apart from carrying out the Maltese Government’s foreign political affairs, the Foreign Affairs Ministry handles the country’s consular work. The Maltese embassies abroad give priority to promoting Malta as an attractive country for investment, commerce, culture as well as tourism. They also work to increase exportation from Malta. Both the Ministry and Maltese embassies provide an important service to Maltese citizens, such as giving information and assistance with regard to the issueing of passports, and provide aid in cases of sickness, financial losses, loss of passports, and other such accidents.

The importance of consular work can be seen in that within a year, the Maltese embassies and consulates receive more than 8,000 requests for assistance or information from Maltese people who are either on holiday or else living or working abroad.

Consulates described by Melvyn Mangion

Since Malta is a small country, it is not possible to have an embassy in every country in the world. In fact, the amount of embassies currently stands at 25. Malta has general consulates in large countries or cities such as Canada, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, with representatives who are trained to provide the best possible service to the Maltese communities present in these countries and cities. The conulates work hand in hand with the embassies and Ministry, helping with the issueing of pensions, passports, visas and citizenship.

Protocol

The Protocol Directorate is the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s first point of contact. Public relations play an important role since the Directorate’s work varies from welcoming newly accredited ambassadors or high commissioners to the answering of any questions put forward by the general public.

The Directorate, together with the Office of the Prime Minister and Office of the President, organises state and official visits. The Protocol Directorate ensures that the correct ceremonial procedures are carried out, assists incoming and outgoing delegations, organises transport arrangements, publishes official and cultural programmes, and, in conjunction with the police, coordinates security measures for visiting dignitaries.

The Protocol Directorate also assists ambassadors and high commissioners for Malta, as well as other diplomatic staff, in ensuring that the privileges and immunities according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations are administered correctly. The Directorate also answers to the requests from resident and non-resident missions seeking diplomatic authorisation for the use of Maltese airspace and territorial waters.

Visa Unit

People from over 100 countries wishing to visit Malta must acquire a visa before entering the country, whatever the reason for their visit. The Central Visa Unit, established in 2006, is a professional authority that efficiently processes visa requests, thus issuing visas to people as quickly as possible.

The unit was responsible for setting up the procedures related to the Schengen System in the Maltese embassies and consulates within the Schengen zone. This system works through the Visa Management System, a specialised software with a high level of security that provides a connection between the embassies and consulates and the Maltese Government network.

Palazzo Parisio

Palazzo Parisio, which houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was built in the early 18th century by Bishop Sceberras on the street formerly known as Strada San Giacomo. The building originally consisted of two floors, however a third storey was added after World War I.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the building became the property of Chevalier Paolo Parisio Muscati, a Maltese Neapolitan nobleman who married Donna Anna Muscati, the grand-daughter of Donna Maria Sceberras, Bishop Sceberras’ mother.

In June 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Malta he took up residence at the Palazzo. During his eventful seven days’ stay in Malta, before embarking on his Egyptian campaign, Napoleon transformed Malta’s ancient and administrative system and replaced it with the Napoleonic Code. Only three months later, the Maltese uprose against the French until the latter were forced to leave Malta. During the blockade of Valletta by the French, Chevalier Parisio joined forces with the Maltese peasant’s army and headed the Naxxar battalion.

Chevalier Parisio was held in high esteem by the local British authorities and a number of dignitaries would take up temporary residence at the Palazzo during their official visits to Malta. He was one of the first Maltese to be honoured with the Order of St Michael and St George. After his passing away, the building was passed on to the de Piro family and the state of the building deteriorated by the year 1886. At some point there were no fewer than 100 people living in the Palazzo.

This was so till Postmaster General, Sir Ferdinand Inglott, persuaded the owners to first lease then sell the Palazzo to the Government. After extensive restoration works, its doors were officially opened to the public in May 1886 and was to serve as Malta’s General Post Office.

During World War II, the Palazzo suffered great damage and although it was possible to keep the original facade, restoration works could not be carried out on the decorations that adorned the ceilings and walls.

Palazzo Parisio became home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 1973.

Melvyn Mangion served as the spokesperson of the Malta Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Melvyn Mangion

Melvyn Mangion is an experienced professional in the financial services industry and PR sector. Read at www.melvynmangion.com https://melvynmangion.weebly.com/