New Year's Message
Dear Colleagues and Friends, At the beginning of the New Year 2016, I wish you all both on personal and community level, a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. On behalf of the European Walled Towns, I express our solidarity with the historic city of York, and other Walled and Historic towns in the UK, that endured a great deal of damage and hardship, following the heavy flooding during the last few weeks. I hope that the damage and hardship the respective towns and their communities will be resolved as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately the year 2015, was not one of the best years for the European Walled Towns. We have lost three town members from the Netherlands; we have been through administrative problems, lack of communication and continuity. These difficulties required drastic changes and action from my part as President.
Although I regret, that we had to endure such difficulties, I believe the circumstances gave us the opportunity to renew and strengthen our organisation and establish a way forward. The renewal process was approved and implemented during the Annual General Meeting in Ravenna last October.
A new management team was set up. Andrew Grima of Valletta, Malta was endorsed as the new Secretary General, Veronique Stern of Hellevoetsluis from the Netherlands was elected as the new Vice President. The election of Veronique meant that, Hellevoetsluis has taken a central role for the first time within the administration of the European Walled Towns. Veronique has brought with her knowledge, experience and new ideas. She is complimenting the constant strive, loyalty and dedication towards the organisation by the long standing member Anne Scicluna, of Chichester UK. Another new comer was Emy Micallef who was endorsed as Interim Treasurer to oversee the financial aspect of the organisation. Medwyn Jones of Denbigh, Wales, another long standing member of the EWT and who have served as Treasurer for more than 10 years, who has always gave a valid contribution towards the EWT with his knowledge and experience, is back on the administrative set up as the President’s advisor. David Bruce, another long standing member will continue to support the EWT through his valid academic contribution. Vicky Macdonald another long standing and valid member of the EWT, will also form part of the new management team, representing the individual members.
We have also introduced a new membership fee structure, consisting of 140 Euros/100 Sterling for Walled Towns, 700 Euros/500 Sterling for Links of 5 to 9 towns, 1400 Euros/1000 Sterling for Networks of 10 or more towns and 30 Euros/22 Sterling for Individual members. We think that this new structure is more appropriate for today’s economic and financial challenges that we all have to cope with. In the coming days you will be receiving the invoice for the renewal of your membership fee. On the 10th November of last year, we have formally submitted our application to the Commissioner for Non Governmental Organisations in Malta, for the EWT to be officially registered as an NGO in Malta. The application was acknowledged by the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, and is now being processed by the office of the Commissioner for NGO’s. It will be beneficial for the EWT being registered as an NGO as it will give us the opportunity to participate in EU funded projects and other programmes designated for NGO’s in Malta. I am pleased to inform you, that the Municipality of Hellevoestluis has accepted my invitation to host this year’s symposium. It will be the first time that the town will be hosting the annual event of the EWT. The symposium will be held either between the 28th September and the 2nd October 2016 or between the 5th and the 9th October 2016. You will be duly informed of the exact dates and logistics in the coming days as soon as they are decided by Hellevoestluis. I am suggesting that the theme for the symposium should be, Conservation, Protection and Enhancement. Transport. Cultural Heritage Management. Tourism Development & Management. Spatial Planning. You are invited to read the five documents posted on our website (Resources) relating to such themes which provide interesting good practices, proposals and case studies. Such documents were produced by five member towns of the EWT as part of an EU funded project lead by the EWT. All members are invited to make a presentation based on the contents of the themes to give a wider perspective on the good practice guides and case studies included in such documents to today’s realities. The presentations will be discussed and put together in one document at the end of the symposium. I am very much looking forward to this year’s symposium as I am confident that it will be an opportunity not only to explore another EWT member town, which I am sure it has a lot to offer, but it will be an opportunity for us all to focus more on the exchange of experiences, and good practices rather than focusing on administrative matters. Therefore, I urge you to mark the above dates on your diaries as this year’s symposium will be a great opportunity to meet in Hellevoestluis and continue to take the EWT forward.
With many best wishes for 2016 Joseph Spiteri President European Walled Towns