UPDATE: PM receives courtesy call by German Minister of Affairs
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi today received Michael Link, the Minister for Affairs of Germany.
They had a formal meeting at Auberge de Castille.
H.E. Michael Link referred to Malta as "an anchor of stability in Europe".
Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonio Borg said that the bilateral relations between Malta and Germany may be termed as excellent and deep-rooted with a strong legal framework of bilateral agreements spelling out various forms of cooperation. He also had words of appreciation for the sponsorship by the Embassy of Germany in Malta which financed the complete restoration of the Chapel of the German Langue at St John’s Co-Cathedral, a project which totalled €150,000. Minister Borg also referred to the initiative by Germany to relocate asylum seekers from Malta. The total number of persons that were relocated to Germany since 2006 is hence 286.
Germans comprise the third largest group of tourists visiting Malta. Besides the tourist sector, around 70 German enterprises are firmly creating over 2,500 jobs. The number of German tourists visiting Malta has been fluctuating within the 125-150,000 range for a number of years and this year has been no exception. German visitors to Malta in 2011 reached almost 135,000 an increase of 6.7% over the previous year.
Trade exchanges between the two countries rose since Malta joined the EU. Malta returned to a trade surplus with Germany following three years when exports dipped below imports. Trade exchanges reached €631 million compared to €620 million in 2004. The trade surplus reached €16.3 million last year compared to a deficit of €14.6 million in 2010.
The increase in imports in 2011 was largely accounted for by plastics and articles thereof (10.7 million), pharmaceutical products (€2.0 million), dairy produce (€1.6 million) sugars and sugar confectionery (€1.2 million). On the import side, the most important product categories are plastics and plastic products (13%), machinery and mechanical appliances (13%), electrical machinery (10%), motor vehicles and parts (7%), precious or semi-precious metals and stones (5%), paper and paperboard (2%) and essential oils and pharmaceuticals (each 2%).
There are currently 740 firms registered with MFSA with German shareholding.