President Traian Basescu awarded, yesterday, the National Order “For Merit” in the rank of Commander to the Romanian Maltese Relief Service, for social work projects conducted in Romania in the past 20 years, on the occasion of the state visit of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing.
“During the meeting, we also addressed the fact that next year marks 80 years of diplomatic ties between Romania and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and we agreed to find the best means of celebrating this joyous occasion,” Traian Basescu stated, quoted by Mediafax, after his meeting with the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing.
The Romanian head of state further said that, during bilateral talks, they had analysed the possibility of extending cooperation between Romania and the Order of Malta in the fields of healthcare and assistance for senior citizens, as well as the possibility of drafting policies to assist the Roma community. “Last, but not least, we’ve exchanged opinions on recent events in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” the Romanian president concluded.
The distinguished guest also told president Basescu that one of the problems the Maltese Relief Service was facing in Romania was the reduced membership of the Romanian association, arguing that the association could barely function without drawing more members. During his meeting with the president Traian Basescu, Fra’ Matthew Festing was quite taken with the interior decoration of the Cotroceni Palace’s Blue Salon. “It’s wonderful here, magnificent. It’s fantastic, really fantastic,” the Maltese official commented on the room the meeting took place in. “It’s what Romanians can do when they want to,” the Romanian president replied.