Speech by Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici given at the EuroMed Justi
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the first place I must say that it is a pleasure and an honour for me to experience the organisation of a Euromed Justice event in Malta.
Malta has always had a Mediterranean mission based on the need for understanding, trust and cooperation both between the countries of the Mediterranean and between the countries of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Nowadays, Europe and the Mediterranean region face very strong challenges in the law enforcement and the justice sectors.
These certainly include the challenges posed by migration, human trafficking (which is often also linked to migration), organised crime, international trade in narcotics, and cybercrime.
All these challenges have the potential to destroy the trust required for our societies to thrive in a peaceful environment.
Taking on these challenges with any chance of success requires solid trust, understanding and cooperation between all countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
That cooperation is implemented both on a bilateral basis, through the various links which have developed historically between our countries over the ages , and on a multilateral basis which builds an atmosphere of collective trust, personal contact and understanding which is conducive to continuing and institutionalised cooperation and dialogue.
In my opinion, although the bilateral relationships are and remain a very important cornerstone since they are based on a tradition of understanding, the multilateral cooperation between the law enforcement and prosecution authorities of this region is more important.
I am aware that the Euromed CrimeEx network plays a progressively more important role in this region and I must also congratulate Euromed for the setting up of the Network of General Prosecutors which had its first meeting in Madrid last January and which plans a second meeting next year in The Hague.
In this context of increased cooperation we consider that the initiative to ‘Train the Trainers’ in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters consolidates Euromed’s efforts and should serve as an important platform not only for increasing mutual understanding but also for the establishment and acceptance of compatible working methods and practices which ultimately enable ongoing and effective cooperation.
As you are aware, Malta is geographically, culturally and historically as Euro-Mediterranean as it gets.
We are very pleased to be hosting this initiative which is ultimately a small step in our efforts in the fight against crime which is also directly related to our need to guarantee peace and security based on the rule of law and respect for human rights in this region.
I hope that during your stay in Malta you will also be able to mix business with some moderate pleasure in the style of good and well organised international meetings and that you will be able to experience some of the history, culture, food and other attractions which this country has to offer.