The Mediterranean Basin has been described by some as the “cradle of world civilisation” – a phrase that underlines its strategic importance and its historic role in determining the history of western civilisation. Over the centuries, Britain recognised the importance of this maritime highway and in doing so it exercised a crucial and fundamental role – a role that has changed over time from one that was inspired by its geopolitical interests as a military and economic empire, into one embracing the concept of a commonwealth serving people of a common heritage. From one that chose sharing of sovereignty within the European Union into one that more recently has chosen to extricate itself from this Union in order to reassert its total sovereignty. Throughout this journey, the Island of Malta made its presence felt on a number of historic occasions first as a British colony and later as an independent sovereign state and member of the European Union to this day. It is therefore interesting to explore the potential of Britain’s current and future role in the Mediterranean especially in the light of today’s tough challenges: peace and security in Europe, the war in Ukraine, the food and energy crisis, migration, climate change, the rule of law. Of course, it is the UK people and its government that will shape this role as time goes by, but perhaps a Mediterranean perspective might contribute constructively to this debate.

 

Dr Lawrence Gonzi

A former Prime Minister for nine years (2004-2008; 2008-2013), Lawrence Gonzi led Malta during its first nine years as a member of the European Union. During his premiership, Dr Gonzi retained the Finance portfolio while guiding Malta through an economic restructuring process ahead of Malta’s adoption of the Euro in January 2008. With a political career spanning twenty-five years, Dr Gonzi occupied several positions prior to becoming Prime Minister including Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Social Policy and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Although retired from active politics, he continues to participate as a member of European and international organisations, including the Commonwealth, while focusing on political, economic, environmental and ethical issues.

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