I would like to thank the organisers, EDIC Valletta and EDIC Central Region, as well as the Nature Trust Malta for inviting me to participate in this tree-planting ceremony.
Planting a tree is a highly symbolic act.It is often used to mark a special occasion. Trees are living organisms with many symbolic meanings:tree-planting is often associated with births, weddings and funerals.The relatively long life expectancy of trees has led to tree‑planting to mark the inauguration of historic undertakings.
During the short growing phase of these 28 young trees, world leaders agreed the so-called Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations. The EU Member States will implement them over the coming years and I am confident that we will see rapid progress in environment protection year on year, in parallel with the growth of these symbolic trees.
With this in mind, I am pleased to participate in the planting of these 28 trees representing the 28 EU Member States, especially doing so in my home country.
I learnt with great appreciation about the numerous recent tree promoting events in the Centre. They will all help to teach our children and grandchildren about the intrinsic value of a tree and what it is able to provide for us when it is part of a forest ecosystem.
Around 40% of the EU terrestrial area is forest land and, although EU forests have been recovering over the last two decades, they are still facing many challenges.
I am confident that our young students present here today recognise just how important trees are for the environment and our climate.By planting more trees here in Malta, we can really improve soil quality, help protect birds, animals and other plant species, and reduce pollution of our air and water.
Let´s do our utmost to promote this initiative across the EU, and beyond, to raise awareness and show the added value of nature protection. I count on you - the future generation - to help us do this and to reach the goal of planting 100 million trees by 2017. Who knows – maybe one day one of these trees will win the European Tree of the Year award!
check against delivery