• Team Owen Bonnici

A robust post-COVID strategy for Malta



As the pandemic unfolded, the government has acted swiftly and decisively to protect the health of its citizens and safeguard jobs and the Maltese economy.  Now, it is as crucial and as important to co-ordinate and implement an ambitious and robust post pandemic strategy that enables us to keep moving forward in a changed world. 


The emergence of the Coronavirus in 2019 was undoubtedly the most consequential event since WWII, affecting modern life, globalization, and relations between countries. The impact of COVID-19 on health, the economic sector, and society at large was and is substantial around the world, not least Malta. We must emerge strong and united out of the pandemic.  That is why we have set up a high level steering group for the co-ordination of the efforts leading to a national post Covid-19 strategy.


Three main principles which chart us throughout this course: the principle of sustainibility so that we leave our future generations a better Malta; the need of fostering a resilient economy and the bolstering of social justice and cohesion. In order to arrive to this end, the steering group will take stock of the work which other Ministries of the Government and entities are preparing post Covid-19, will visit what is being done in foreign jurisdictions also for the purposes of the identification and exploitation of our comparative advantages, and will draw up the actual national strategy itself. This document will be concluded not later than the end of Q2 of the current year.  Prior to that, consultations with key social partners will be undertaken.  It is crucial that the strategy attrats broad and general consensus in the country as much as is possible.


Professor Simone Borg will be chairing this core group and I publicly thank her for accepting to offer her services to the country in this important role.  In my view, Professor Borg brings to the table a wealth of experience: she has not only occupied leading academic posts in Malta and abroad but has worked in the field of diplomacy and environmental law.  I believe that she can be a uniting force in the country, a consensus builder and a strong advocate of sustainability. 


The other members of the core group hail from various sectors ranging from public health to

economic policy, from public administration to EU funding, from education to Social policy expertise, from social activism to being experts in attracting foreign investment and incentivising new economic niches.   I believe that they will all provide an important contribution to this whole effort. I thank each and one of them: Ms Joyce Dimech, Mr Mario Galea, Mr Godwin Mifsud, Mr James Pearsall, Prof Gordon Sammut, Mr Clive Tonna, and Mr Paul Zahra.  


Of course, in the furtherance of its work, the core group will be able to appoint the necessary

technical experts to provide specialised assistance and I have been humbled by the number of persons and companies who have shown interest in contributing to this group through their

expertise in various matters. This change which we will all be embracing, offers the potential for our country to emerge better and stronger than ever before by being innovative and changing threats into opportunities.


I trust this steering group will prove to be successful and will provide Malta with a fruitful strategy making Malta ready to move on and actually, be a leader in this field too.

Through this, we are committing ourselves to a better future also in line with recommendations of the EU which presented a long term budget to boost the recovery which is targeted to a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe. This shows also the Maltese Government’s commitment to improve the quality of life of the Maltese citizens, post Covid-19.


We will be ready to help lead responses to the COVID-19 pandemic through policy, coordination, and fast agile implementation, keeping in mind the burden that affected everyone through this pandemic which hit the whole globe. We are in this together and we will go out from the pandemic together with a positive approach.

 

I had hoped to be able to properly follow on TV at least some live snippets from the swearing in ceremony of the new US President Joe Biden and the new Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Unfortunately work commitments did not allow me to do that but I immediately listened to the

inauguration speech by President Biden at my very first opportunity as soon as I returned home last Wednesday.


I believe most Europeans drew a sign of relief when Joe Biden finally took over the White House. Listening to President Biden telling the millions of people who listened attentively to his words that things can change is indeed soothing.  His appeal to unity was indeed genuine and heartfelt.  His whole soul, as he himself said, was in it.


President Biden has given most, if not all, of his adult life to political service in favour of the people of the United States, first in the Senate and then as a two-term Vice President to President Obama.  I am sure that he will swiftly manage to bring about the sense of normality, calm and unity which the United States so much needs nowadays after four years of Donald Trump. I am confident that he will make America great again.

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