“Solidarity through Love” – that is the theme of Malta’s first 2-euro special coin in the series “From Children with Solidarity”. Issued in 2016, it is intended to remind us of our social obligation not to abandon people in need.
This idea of solidarity accompanies Malta’s first Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is happening at a time when solidarity within Europe, but also solidarity with our neighbours outside Europe, is being put to the test.
As the smallest member of the EU, we are using the first half of 2017 to try, together with the other Union members, to build bridges and to reach compromises on the pressing issues of our time.
Because of our geographic location, we feel especially connected with our neighbours in North Africa and the Levant, with whom we share old common qualities and experiences. But, as committed Europeans, we are also bound to the culture, history and values of our common living space, the European Union. This attitude is reflected in our priorities for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union: solidarity in the search for sustainable solutions to refugee issues, economic prosperity with social inclusion, a Europe of security, freedom and justice, a special focus on the southern neighbourhood and finally maritime affairs, especially concerning the survival of our marine resources.
Due to its strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and its excellent natural harbours, Malta was always very coveted. The seafaring peoples and the great powers struggled to gain possession of Malta for thousands of years. Many of them controlled it and at the same time made it their own home or their second home, for short or long periods, and all left their mark. That is why Malta’s history is not only long and turbulent, but also particularly rich and diverse. The presence of the various foreign rulers and the constant contact with people from other countries, especially through the manifold trade relations, created a unique melting pot of civilizations over the course of the millennia. Malta’s cultural heritage is manifested in diverse forms of artistic expression, including music. We are very pleased to be able to present to you some examples of the multi-layered culture of the Maltese islands.
I wish you a pleasant expedition with classical music, pop and folklore from Malta. If you like what you hear and are curious to know more, I would like to introduce you to the European Capital of Culture in 2018, Valletta, the capital city of our Mediterranean nation with a population of 430,000 that will once again be the focus of European attention.