Europa Nostra calls on Malta’s re-elected Prime Minister to make heritage preservation a priority

On 14 June 2017, Europa Nostra’s Executive President and Secretary General sent a letter to the recently re-elected Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat wishing him another successful term in office. Denis de Kergorlay and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, also on behalf of Europa Nostra’s President Maestro Plácido Domingo, praised the impressive restoration projects of very high quality carried out in the country, particularly in Valletta, many of which with European support. They urged Prime Minister Muscat to put the preservation of Malta’s unique built and natural heritage as an urgent priority for his new government. The Executive President and Secretary General also reiterated that Europa Nostra stands ready to strengthen the cooperation with the Prime Minister’s office on heritage and cultural matters, especially in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of Europa Nostra and our President Maestro Plácido Domingo, may I extend our hearty congratulations on the results of the recent national elections in Malta and convey our best wishes to you for another successful term in office.

The Board of Europa Nostra was recently in Malta and we had the pleasure of meeting the Minister of Culture, Dr. Owen Bonnici, as well as many Malta members of Europa Nostra. We exchanged ideas for the forthcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, which, coming together with Valletta’s year as European Capital of Culture, presents a unique opportunity for the celebration of Malta’s unique cultural heritage.

We were most favorably impressed with the extraordinary amount of restoration of monuments and fortifications and of the judicious use Malta is making of European support to meet the challenge of finding sustainability for such a great number of historic assets such as few nations can boast. The investment in Valletta especially is, indeed, commendable.

We would take this opportunity, before the Malta Presidency comes to a close, and at a time when Malta’s economic performance is a shining example of success within Europe, to appeal to you to put the preservation of Malta’s astonishing and beautiful built heritage and rare natural environment as an urgent priority for your new government. The common European heritage we share is embodied not just within Malta’s historic monuments which you have preserved so well but within its traditional towns and villages, its rural areas and coastline. Rapidly advancing urban redevelopment and tall buildings spurred by economic success can spell the end of this heritage not just for us as Europeans but primarily for the Maltese to whom it has been entrusted. We appeal to you to protect Malta’s traditional architectural legacy in its towns and villages. We would appeal to you to give particular protection to the World Heritage City of Valletta from encroaching high-rise projects. This majestic city epitomises the first successful European project that is our common responsibility to preserve.

Europa Nostra reiterates its willingness to promote throughout Europe and elsewhere the key messages of the European Year of Cultural Heritage during and after 2018. We look forward to working with your government, other governments in Europe as well as with all EU Institutions, to achieving this end.

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