Current Affairs
Malta’s new High Commissioner in U.K. determined to ensure the continuation of medical services to Maltese

Following the termination of Norman Hamilton’s five-year term as Malta’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that Joseph Cole will be the new High Commissioner in the U.K. from the beginning of this month. In his first comments to TVM, Mr Cole said that one of his priorities will be to ascertain that medical treatments to Maltese in the U.K. are not interrupted due to Brexit.

With a career spanning 35 years in the diplomatic corps, Joseph Cole served as Malta’s ambassador in the United States, Australia and The Netherlands, among others.

High Commissioner Cole stated that due to Brexit, the coming months and years will be among the most crucial of his career.

“Challenges are great, however I expect very exciting time especially now that everyone knows that the United Kingdom will had different relations not only with the European Union but also with the rest of the world”, he stated.

Asked on the impact that Brexit may have on the health services that Maltese patients receive in the U.K., Mr Cole said that negotiations are ongoing with the British Government so that the 1975 agreement which assures the service, will continue after Brexit.

“The Maltese Government’s will is to continue with the agreement; from the UK’s side it appears that the agreement will be respected. We have to keep our eyes and ears open for what is being proposed. However, I believe that the treatment of Maltese patients in England should not have problems to continue and I can assure you that this will be one of the most priority issues in our work until we settle the Brexit situation”, High Commissioner Cole added.

On UK-EU negotiations and the possibility that Brexit occurs without an agreement between both sides, Mr Cole said that his experience tells him that in EU councils eventually both sides will reach a compromise.

“There were issues that member states had completely different opinions from each other and I also can assure you that the discussion will also be a heated one, however in the end as things calm done and everyone gives his opinion, some form of compromise is reached and I hope that the Brexit situation will have the same result not only due to the Maltese community in the U.K., but also for the United Kingdom and its partners in Europe”.

Malta’s new High Commissioner in the UK is expected to present his credential to Queen Elizabeth in October after the Queen returns from holidays at Balmoral Palace in Scotland.