My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly meets with his Maltese counterpart at the General Affairs and External Relations Councils, which occur monthly. The last visit by a Foreign Secretary to Malta was by my right hon. Friend Mr. Straw in November 2005.
The UK is Malta's second largest trading partner after Italy (2008 first quarter provisional figures). British business therefore thrives in Malta. Thousands of British tourists visit Malta each year, contributing to Malta's tourism industry.
The UK continues to be the country of choice for Maltese post graduates and since Malta's entry into the EU the number of Maltese students choosing to do undergraduate degree courses in the UK has been increasing steadily.
We co-operate closely in other fields such as defence, with regular ships visits and training for the armed forces of Malta. A member of the armed forces of Malta is currently receiving training at Dartmouth and another will go to Sandhurst in September.