The project Democratic engagement and civic participation was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens”
Participation: The project involved 700 citizens, notably 650 participants from the city of Ta’ Sannat, Gozo – Malta, 38 participants from the city of Montefiascone – Provincia di Viterbo – Italia
Location/ Dates: The event took place in Ta’ Sannat, Gozo – Malta, from 30.09.2016 to 04.10.2016
The implemented activities and methods used were:
Twinning between the towns of
Ta’ Sannat (Gozo – Malta) and Montefiascone (Provincia di Viterbo – Italy)
Programme of activities for the delegation from Montefiascone (held between 30th September and 4th October 2016)
Event 1 – Friday 30th September 2016
The group arrived at Malta International Airport at 12.15hrs and was welcomed by the Mayor Mr Philip Vella, Councillor responsible for Culture and Tourism Ms Maria Cassar Sultana and members of the subcommittee for the Town Twinning.
Then the delegation was taken to Cirkewwa to be transferred to Mgarr Harbour, Gozo.
The Italian delegation was settled in apartments at Ta’ Sannat and at DownTown Hotel – Victoria Gozo.
In the evening the delegation had a welcome meeting at the Local Council Administrative Hall where a reception was held.
Afterwards Ta’ Sannat Mayor Philip Vella and the Italian Asseccore Fabio Notazio addressed the participants and spoke briefly about the significance of the strengthened cooperation for both towns. Reference was also made to the main themes of this project: euroscepticism, debating the future of the EU and democratic engagement of citizens.
At the main village square (Pjazza Santa Margerita) a cultural festival activity with traditional music and folk dances by Ta’ Seguna Folk group and Sinnet folk group, the parish village children’s choir and the 2008 ambassador singer for the Eurovision song festival Morena took part. The Italian project participants enjoyed the activities and interacted with the Ta’ Sannat citizens.
An audio visual feature about Ta’ Sannat history, traditions, culture and environment was shown to all participants.
Event 2 – Saturday 1st October 2016
The Italian delegation together with the Councillors, the Gozo Business Chamber and Gozo Tourism Association attended to a business conference for business owners to meet with other entrepreneurs who have successfully spread their business to more than one member state. Success stories were promoted during this session; business owners from both localities were informed about the single market and how to expand their business overseas. By this it will also strengthen commercial ties between Ta’ Sannat and Montefiascone by increasing the scope for importing and exporting between the two localities.
Maltese MEP’s and MEUSAC representatives were invited to discuss how citizens can be more involved within the EU decision-making process and how local government can facilitate this interaction.
The public was invited to attend a panel discussion on eurosepticism chaired by academics with different opinions on the EU. It also covered topics: the euro, decision-making within the EU institutions VS Member States’ sovereignty, the migration crises and the often fragmented approach of the EU, whether there should be deeper integration within the EU or less.
Afterwards a networking lunch was held to create as many networking opportunities as possible between the attendees.
Later MEP Dr Alfred Sant and a lecturer from the Institute for European Studies from the University of Malta delivered a public lecture on the merits of the EU and EU membership. The lecturer explained the consequences of a hypothetical collapse of the EU, the single currency and the single market. The public asked questions and made interventions.
In the evening a concert held by Socjeta Muzikali Santa Margerita (Ta’ Sannat village band) at the village Main Square was a great success.
Event 3 – Sunday 2nd October 2016
A pontifical mass in Italian was concelebrated by H.E. Bishop of Gozo Mgr. Mario Grech, Ta’ Sannat Archpriest Fr. Michael Curmi, and other parish priests at Ta’ Sannat Parish Church with the participation of parish church choir. Hon. Dr Justyne Caruana M.P. also attended for this activity.
The official signing twinning ceremony took place outside the church parvis. The Mayor Mr Philip Vella and the Italian Asseccore Fabio Notazio addressed the participants and described the similarities of Ta’ Sannat and Montefiascone and the future cooperation between the two localities in areas of common ground. Both of them mentioned the necessity that the relation between both villages should continue on educational ground, cultural, social, and environmental, sports and economical levels. Exchanging of tokens took place. The Ta’ Sannat, Maltese, Italian and the European anthems were sung.
A traditional lunch was organized where local songs from both communities were sung together. The Italian delegation interacted with the Ta’ Sannat citizens participants.
Event 4 – Monday 3rd October 2016
The Italian delegation together with the Mayor, Councillors and members of the sub-committee visited Sannat Primary and Special Unit – Profs. Guze Aquilina School. Ms Pauline Grech – Head of school, teachers, learning support assistants and the staff joined the delegation. They were guided around the various units of the school. Children aged 5 – 10 and parents were informed more on the EU. Parents also understood how to use fun games as educational tools to start explaining complex subjects regarding the EU to their children, and broaching the topics of citizenship and democracy. Children enjoyed themselves while learning facts about the EU, such as what it means to be an EU citizen, cultural facts about the 28 member states, which are the main EU institutions? where they are located? and so on. It was discussed also that there will be an exchange student’s program were Maltese students will study the Italian language and the Italian students will study the English language. The floor was addressed by Headmistress Ms Pauline Grech, Italian Headmistress Silvia Chiricotto and two Italian teachers.
The delegation visited the Ministry for Gozo – Hon. Dr Anton Refalo were they discussed the citizens ideas on societal engagement in different fields education, environment etc. They discussed also how to improve the engagement of citizens in our work and in the policy-making process such as the channels of communication currently in place and whether they need to be improved, and best practices/ initiatives that can be piloted.
After the Italian delegation had a guided tour to prime historical sites of Gozo, namely the Neolithic Temples of Ggantija at Xaghra, and the Citadel fortification in Victoria.
Later they visited the Massar vineyard where they were shown the plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice. The science, practice and study of vineyards were also discussed. Massar vineyard produces a wide variety of wines from wine, to barrel, to assembly line, to sales, to your glass.
Later in the evening the delegation visited The Azure Window (a breathtaking gozitan view) which is a limestone natural arch in Gozo situated near Dwejra Bay on the Inland Sea. The formation, which was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed, is very popular with scuba divers. They also visited Dwejra Tower which was built by Grand Master Lascaris to watch the arrival of vessels and to give first warnings to nearby watch towers. The fascinating area was a perfect sunset photo shoot.
Event 5 – Tuesday 4th October 2016
Transfer of Montefiascone delegation from Ta’ Sannat to Malta International Airport, where the group departed at 8.00 a.m. to Fiumicino Airport – Rome.