PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER: Speech by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the ASEM 12 meeting

It is indeed a breath of fresh air to be here in a global forum which, despite grouping countries with different perceptions, portrays a generally convergent and positive view of global trade and a rules-based approach.

At a time when many, rightly so, argue that globalisation has created victims due to current safety nets not being effective enough, we must remind ourselves of the benefits brought about by the post-World War 2 world order – and that humanity has never known such an extended era of prosperity, peace, better life expectancy, literacy and opportunity.

As the smallest member state of the European Union, at the periphery of Europe and centre of the Mediterranean, we have learnt throughout our history that the best way to face challenges is to embrace change.

And this forum is ideal to find synergies on how to face these challenges together, and also the opportunities both on the horizon and those already with us.

One opportunity is already upon us, improving the way in which states, corporations, and citizens manage their data. And that is Blockchain. Bringing the era of centralisation of information to an end. Which is, for many reasons, good news. Because the advent of blockchain is democratising systems. Now we need to work together to make sure countries are not only ready, but they also embrace this momentous paradigm shift.

As a country, Malta is actively working on a framework to do this. An even greater crossroads will be relating this to the future of work – a social and economic function that has defined humankind since time immemorial.

The transition to the digital economy, a veritable industrial revolution, poses unprecedented issues that need to be addressed.

The most crucial element is Artificial Intelligence, a development that is constantly changing, and will further change our world and life as we know it.

AI can be an immensely effective path to accelerate development in previously unthinkable ways – from giving more access to medical care, to a more effective defence mechanism. Importantly, there is the need for such developments not to be sided by one single corporation, country, or continent.

It needs a global governance system, and a drive towards regulatory systems, to make sure this is a win-win situation.

Source: Government of Malta