" ITREALMS: Malta gears up for Schengen

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Malta gears up for Schengen

Remmy Nweke in Malta

The Maltese government is eager to join Schengen community, just as it has advanced reasons it does not operate embassies in most African countries including Nigeria.

Joining Schengen community in Europe means that Maltese would be
able to travel round the European Union and members of the Schengen countries with one visa and even any body issued the same visa by Maltese government or its representatives stand to benefit equally.

Director, Multilateral Affairs, Mr. Giovanni Miceli told ITRealms Online exclusively, that major reason Maltese government do not operate its own counsel offices in most African nations including Nigeria is due to the economic wherewithal to sustain such operations.

He expressed optimism that very soon, Malta would join other European countries in issuance of popular Schengen visa to further empower her citizens, especially since the nation is strategically located within the Mediterranean.

Highlighting that Malta is working hard toward joining the Schengen nations, which is visible in the restructuring of her international policies to this effect including rebuilding of her international airport.

He also said that the Island of Malta, is a little over 400,000 in population and has only sand and sea as natural resources whilst most of the time the sand is not there to behold, hence leaving the country with only sea.

Additionally he attributed this to lack of manpower to operate such offices in different countries.

In the entire continent of Africa made up of 53 nations, he said, Malta has about four embassies, specifically in the northern Africa and none in the West Africa.

Mr. Miceli explained that in order to solve the problem of visa to visitors of his country, an arrangement is in place for British embassies to issue visas for intending visitors.

Also, Malta has established honourary offices in selected countries, which do not issue visas to foreigners.

Globally, he said, Malta has 25 embassies, noting that the nation is operating within its economic limits so as to make these embassies viable.

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