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Pen Lister – Smart Learning
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This doctoral research project is now completed. I defended my PhD successfully in August 2021, after submitting the draft thesis for examination in early November 2020. I have published and continue to publish numerous papers about the research itself and about other aspects that arise out of the research. I have also presented for the past three years at the Human Computer Interaction International conference, in the Distributed, Ambient and Pervasive Interactions track, chaired by Dr H. Patricia McKenna. My Orcid is https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1071-693X.

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I’m keen to hear from higher education academics who might be interested in creating a journey and running it with their students, undergrad or post grad. So what’s involved in taking part in smart learning research? This page tells you what you need to know.Read more →

Grandmasters Palace, Valletta, Interior. © Marie-Lan Nguyen. Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY 2.5

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

Palace Structure

  • The palace was modified and embellished by the Grand Masters after de Monte, which gave the building a Baroque character (based on new explorations of form, light and shadow, and dramatic intensity).
  • In 1724, the ceilings of the main corridors were decorated with frescoes by Nicolau Nasoni, during the magistracy of António Manoel de Vilhena.
  • During the British protectorate, the kitchen of the palace which served the Grand Master was converted into an Anglican chapel.
  • In 1840 a semaphore (system of conveying information by means of visual signals) station was installed on the palace’s belvedere.
  • Parts of the building, including the hall housing the Palace Armoury, were hit by aerial bombardment during World War II, but the damage was subsequently repaired.

Some excellent images of the inside of the Palace together with more information on the different rooms are available from the Maltese History and Heritage blog.

Further information about the palace interior is available from the Heritage Malta website, with times and cost to visit the palace. The Heritage Malta Flickr Gallery contains many images, some are linked below:

Main Dining Room, The Palace, Valletta

Sala del Gran Consiglio (Grand Council Chamber), The Palace, Valletta, linked from Heritage Malta

The Palace corridor leading into the State Rooms, The Palace, Valletta

The Palace corridor leading into the State Rooms, The Palace, Valletta, linked from Heritage Malta

“The King Borne” and “The Animals’ Fight”, part of the Gobelins ‘Les Teintures des Indes’ (The Indian Hangings) series, 1710, Tapestry Chamber, The Palace, Valletta

“The King Borne” and “The Animals’ Fight”, part of the Gobelins ‘Les Teintures des Indes’ (The Indian Hangings) series, 1710, Tapestry Chamber, The Palace, Valletta, linked from Heritage Malta

Palace Interior

STATE ROOMS

  • The state rooms are the Throne Room, the Tapestry Hall, the State Dining Hall, the Ambassador’s Room and the Page’s Waiting Room.
  • The Throne Room originally known as the Supreme Council Hall was built during the reign of Grandmaster Jean de la Cassière (1572-81). It was used by successive Grandmasters to host ambassadors and visiting high ranking dignitaries. During the British administration it became known as the Hall of Saint Michael and Saint George following the foundation of this order in 1818. The cycle of wall paintings decorating the upper part of the hall are the work of Matteo Perez d’Aleccio and represent various episodes of the Great Siege of Malta. Giuseppe Cali painted the coat-of-arms of Grand Master Jean de Valette on the wall recess behind the minstrels gallery.
  • In 1724, the ceilings of the main corridors were decorated with frescoes by Nicolau Nasoni, during the magistracy of António Manoel de Vilhena.
  • During the British protectorate, the kitchen of the palace which served the Grand Master was converted into an Anglican chapel.
  • In 1818, the British transformed the Tapestry Hall by completely covering the walls with neo-classical architectural features designed by Lieutenant-Colonel George Whitmore. These were removed in the early 20th century. The minstrel’s gallery is thought to have been relocated to this hall from the palace chapel which was probably its original location. Of particular interest is the original coffered ceiling and the late 18th century-style chandeliers.

ARMOURY

  • A large hall at the rear of the palace was used as an armoury from 1604 onwards. The arms collection in the Palace Armoury is regarded as one of “the most valuable historic monuments of European culture”, despite retaining only a fraction of its original size. The armoury includes many suits of armour, cannons, firearms, swords, and other weapons, including the personal armour of some Grand Masters such as Alof de Wignacourt, and Ottoman weapons captured during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.
  • The original hall of the armoury was converted into the meeting place of the Parliament of Malta in 1975–76, and the arms collection was relocated to two former stables at the palace’s ground floor, where it remains today.
  • In 1840 a semaphore (system of conveying information by means of visual signals) station was installed on the palace’s belvedere.

COURTYARDS

The palace is built around two courtyards – Neptune’s Courtyard and Prince Alfred’s Courtyard.

Neptune’s Courtyard

  • In 1712 Romano Carapecchia designed the Perellos fountain, originally dominating the courtyard under the loggias.
  • This was hidden from the main view when the British installed the Statue of Neptune and a garden landscape in the middle. The statue was brought to decorate the courtyard, on orders of the British Governor John Gaspard Le Marchant, some time between 1858 and 1864.
  • In 1897 Governor Sir Arthur Lyon retrieved escutcheons containing the coats of arms of Grand Masters of the Order, which were removed in the 19th Century from formerly Order’s buildings, and affixed them “for their better preservation”, as indicated by a marble slab below the coats of arms.

Prince Alfred’s Courtyard

  • This contains a clock tower, which includes the Moors Clock as well as three other dials.
  • The clock was designed by Gaetano Vella and it was inaugurated on 11 June 1745, being modified by Michelangelo Sapiano in 1894.
  • Local tradition states that the clock is much older, having been brought from Rhodes at the time of the Order’s arrival in Malta in 1530.
  • Parts of the building, including the hall housing the Palace Armoury, were hit by aerial bombardment during World War II, but the damage was subsequently repaired.

Palace Function

  • 1569-1571 Private residence of the knight Eustachio del Monte.
  • 1571-1597 hosted the first Auberge of Italy
  • 1571 – The house of the knight Eustachio del Monte became the private residence of Grand Master Pierre de Monte moved the Order’s headquarters to Valletta, and he lived in the house of Eustachio del Monte, who was his nephew.
  • In 1574 this house began to be enlarged into a palace for the Grand Master. It continued to serve as the official residence of the Grandmaster till the arrival of the French in 1798.
  • During the French occupation of Malta (1798 to 1800), the building became known as the Palais National (National Palace) reflecting the ideas from French revolution and part of the whole reformed establishment in Malta.
  • 1800 – Became the official residence of the British Governor of Malta.
  • The Grandmaster’s Palace was the seat of the Parliament of Malta from 1921 to 2015. Parliament met in the Tapestry Hall from 1921 to 1976, when it moved to the former armoury. The House of Representatives moved out of the Grandmaster’s Palace to the purpose-built Parliament House on 4 May 2015. During Malta’s first presidency of the European Union in 2017 the former parliamentary meeting hall was used to host the meetings of the Council of the European Union.
  •   Following Malta’s independence in 1964, the building became the seat of the Governor-General of Malta. It has housed the Office of the President of Malta since the office was established in 1974.
  • Currently houses the office of the President of Malta


Sources
Featured: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGrandmasters_Palace_Valletta_n13.jpg

Grandmaster's Palace, Valletta, inner courtyard. By PodracerHH (Own work). GFDL or CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

This is one of two pages about the former Grandmaster’s, now President’s Palace in Valletta. Page two, about the palace structure and interior, is available here.

History

  • Names: Grandmaster’s palace, Magisterial Palace, National Palace, Governor’s Palace, President’s Palace.
  • Built between the 16th and 18th centuries.
  • When Knights started building the new City of Valletta in 1566 the original plans were to build the Grandmaster’s palace on high ground in the southern part of the city (on or near the site later occupied by Auberge de Castille).
  • On the original site of the palace the house of the knight Eustachio del Monte was built in 1569 and also the first Auberge of Italy was built in 1571.
  • In 1571, Grand Master Pierre de Monte moved the Order’s headquarters to Valletta, and he lived in the house of Eustachio del Monte, who was his nephew. The Council of the Order subsequently purchased the house, and in 1574 it began to be enlarged into a palace for the Grand Master.
  • In 1597 the Italian langue moved to the new Auberge in Merchant street and the original Auberge was also incorporated into the palace.
  • The Grandmaster’s Palace was built to Mannerist designs (visual trickery and unexpected elements that challenged the renaissance norms) of Glormo Cassar.

Emmanuuel Pinto de Fonseca. By Pierre Bernard. CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1740s, Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca made extensive alterations to the building and gave it its present configuration. Pinto’s renovations included the embellishment of the façade, the opening of a second main entrance, and the construction of a clock tower in one of the courtyards.

Location

  • It is the largest Palace of the City occupying a whole central city block.
  • Front façade, facing the North-West, is located opposite the Main Guard in St George’s Square along Republic Street.
  • The back façade, facing the South-East, is in Merchants Street.
  • The left side, facing the North-East is in Archbishop Street.
  • The right side, facing the South-West is in Old Theatre Street.


Sources
Featured:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AValletta%2C_Gro%C3%9Fmeisterpalast%2C_Hof.JPG
2nd image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Pinto_da_Fonseca#/media/File:Emmanuel_Pinto_de_Fonseca.jpg

Great Siege Monument. By Adrienne Azzopardi (Own work), CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

Some brief facts regarding the history of the monument to the Great Siege of Malta. The monument was originally located opposite the site of the old Auberge d’Auvergne, now the Courts of Justice building, but now stands adjacent to St John’s Co Cathedral on Republic Street in Valletta.

History

  • This monument is the work of the renowned Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino who worked on it during 1926 while in Rome.
  • It was inaugurated on 8th May 1927.
  • During the inauguration, Chief Justice Arturo Mercieca delivered his speech in Italian, while the priest, philosopher and poet Anastasio Cuschieri delivered a speech in Maltese, both in the presence of the British Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Thomas Alexander Vans Best. This illustrated the language question and the political tension of the time.
  • In 2010 it was restored to addressed the effects of unfavourable atmospheric conditions, in particular the natural weathering process caused mainly by salt deposition, acidic bird droppings as well as past interventions.
  • Since October 2017, the monument has been used as a makeshift memorial to the murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Structure

Auberge d’Auvergne (restored). By Unknown pre-1923 (British period photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The monument originally faced Auberge d’Auvergne. Due to the extensive damaged caused during WWII the remains of the original Auberge were removed and in the 60s the Courts of Justice were built on the same site.
  • It consists of three bronze figures, two females and a male in the middle.
  • These female figures are wearing flowing dresses as well as a band in their hair.
  • The central muscular male figure is wearing a three-pointed crown, half a suit of armour, holds a sword in his right hand which points down the centre of the monument and holds a shield with his left hand.
  • The monument is a work of Neoclassical sculpture which lacks ancient models focussing on figures from the Roman era.
  • The monument shows powerful simple lines which hint at Sciortino’s avant-garde style.
  • The positioning of the figures was inspired by Davide Calandra’s relief La Glorificazione della Dinastia Sabauda at the Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome.

Meaning

  • This monument is also known as the ‘Monument to the Fallen of the Great Siege’.
  • The female figure on the left represents Faith and carries a papal tiara (a crown that was worn by popes of the Catholic Church) in her outstretched hand.
  • The female figure on the right represents Civilisation and carries a mask of Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom.
  • The central male figure represents Fortitude or Valour.

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Siege_Monument

Featured: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGreat_Siege_Monument_-_Valletta.jpg

Republic Square. By Bs0u10e01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

The Names of Misrah ir-Repubblika (Republic Square)

Over the time Republic square had the following names:

  •      Piazza Tesoreria
  •      Piazza dei Cavallieri
  •      Piazza Regina
  •      Misrah ir-Repubblika (Maltese)

History of Misrah ir-Repubblika

During the knights era it was called Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights Square).

During the British era the Governor Sir Gaspard Le Marchant [photo] changed the square into a private garden to be accessed only by the British [photo of enclosed Piazza Regina]. The statue of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena was brought from Fort Manoel to the middle of the square / garden. In 1887 this statue was moved to Floriana and in 1891 replaced by one of Queen Victoria to commemorate her 50th birthday.

The building on the Northwest side of the square (adjacent to Café Cordina) served as the treasury of the Order. From 1708 – 1849 the first post office was located in this building. Over time it housed government offices, a hotel and a cinema. It now houses the Casino Maltese.

On the other side (southeast) of the square, there is the National Library which was built by the Order when larger premises were required. Though completed in 1796, it did not open due to the French occupation. If was officially inaugurated under the British in 1812 by Civil Commissioner Sir Hildebrand Oakes [photo].

The Grandmaster’s palace is on the North side of the square showing its strategic position and role along time.

Today it is a common meeting place for people who come over to the open air cafes to chat and relax in Republic square.



Sources
Featured: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARepublic_Square_Valletta_Malta_2014.jpg

The Courts of Justice, 2018 with decorations for Valletta, European City of Culture. By penworks. CC-BY-SA 4.0

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

The court building stands on the site of what was previously the Knights’ Auberge d’Auvergne built in 1570 to the design of Girolamo Cassar.

Auberge d’Auvergne (restored). By Unknown pre-1923 (British period photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1825 it became the seat of the Tribunale di Pirateria and of the Corte di Fallimento.

In 1840, during the governorship of General Sir Henry Bouverie, the Civil Courts moved into the building.

During World War II the entire complex was destroyed by a German parachute mine, and was rebuilt in the late sixties to the classical design seen today.

The building was inaugurated on the 9 January 1971 by the then Prime Minister Dr George Borg Olivier, in the presence of the Governor Sir Maurice Dorman, the Archbishop Sir Michael Gonzi, Judges and Magistrates, ministers and other distinguished guests.

The present building comprises seven floors, three of which are below the level of Republic Street. These three levels house the Civil Courts Registry, the Court Archives, the police lock-up and a car park. Up till a few years ago, the Valletta Police Station was also housed in one of these three under-street-level floors.

Sources and further links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courts_of_Justice_building_(Valletta)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auberge_d%27Auvergne

Banca Giuratale, Mdina. By Continentaleurope (Own work). CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

The Corte Captanale of Mdina (see featured photo) is the oldest Court of Justice in Malta, and consisted of the Criminal Court and the Civil Court. Its jurisdiction extended to all country districts outside the fortified towns of Mdina and later Valletta.

Appeal from the decisions of these Courts lay to the Board of Jurats called Universita’ who received the assistance of a lawyer, but whose advice they were not obliged to follow; and to the Supreme Tribunal of appeal, in Valletta, after the building of the new city.

The Criminal Court consisted of the Capitano di Verga, a Judge (who sat on both Courts), and the Advocate Fiscal.

Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. Musée de la Légion d’honneur. CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

1784: The first codification of the Laws of Malta was made by Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan. It sanctioned the publication of the Diritto Municipale di Malta, containing a synthesis of the state of the laws of the island during the rule of the Knights between 1530 and 1798.

Sir Adriano Dingli. Source: http://judiciarymalta.gov.mt/former-chief-justices.

Additional photo Sir Adrian Dingli (https://www.maltagenealogy.com/libro%20d%27Oro/dingli.html))

1854: Sir Adrian Dingli (Chief Justice 1880-1895) embarked on the colossal task of codifying the laws of Malta, following the model of the Code Napoleon.

Sir Thomas Maitland. Copyright ‘Thirlestane Castle Trust” with kind permission.

1814: Governor Sir Thomas Maitland (Governor of Malta 1813-1824) abolished the Corte Capitanale, and concentrated in the Gran Castellania the following tribunals:

  • the Grand Criminal Court
  • the Grand Civil Court
  • the Court of Administration of public Property
  • the Commercial Court or Consolato di Mare
  • the Supreme Tribunal of Appeal

Maitland’s key reforms:

  • The jurisdiction of the Criminal Court of the Gran Castellano (up to now confined to cases occurring in Valletta and the Three Cities – Birgu, Bormla and Senglea) was extended to the entire island, as well as Gozo, which up to that date had its own Court of Law, the Corte Governatoriale.
  • The previous Consolato del Mare (set up by the Knights in 1697) was turned into a Commercial Court on the British model. The Corte della Castellania was divided into two halls: one for the Criminal Court and one for the Civil Court.
  • All judges were appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the King. They were appointed for life, until retirement or until suspended by the Governor.They had to take an oath of loyalty to the King and could not work privately as lawyers.
  • Sentences passes by a judge in an open court were final.
  • The Court of Appeal consisted of two halls, one for commercial, the other for civil cases. There was no appeal from the Criminal Court.
  • The Governor and two judges constituted the final Supreme Court of Justice dealing with exceptional cases.
  • The power of the Governor to reverse judicial decisions, a power practiced by the Grandmasters, was abolished.
  • Italian was made the language of the Courts.
  • The laws concerning corsairing, torture and slavery of Muslims were abolished, and these practices were declared illegal and punishable by imprisonment or by the death penalty.

By this time the current system has evolved from this.

Useful further links



Sources
Thomas Maitland image source: https://artuk.org/visit/collection/thirlestane-castle-trust-2634
Thomas Maitland copyright notice, (permission granted): https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/lieutenant-general-sir-thomas-maitland-17591824-governor-of-malta-18131824-211089#image-use

The Courts of Justice. By Berthold Werner (Own work) GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

The Courts

In a liberal democratic state, the judiciary has four main responsibilities:

  1. Formulating the rule of law
  2. Interpreting and applying the law along with the constitution.
  3. Provide impartial adjudications of disputes between the state and individuals, between individuals, and between different levels of government within the state.
  4. Part of a system of checks and balances. Keeps in check the executive (the Cabinet) and the legislative (House of Representatives)

To accomplish these four duties, two basic principles must be upheld:

  • Maintaining a liberal democratic state.
  • Maintaining the principles of a legal democracy and state.

The Present Justice and Law Courts System

The courts in Malta are divided into Superior and Inferior courts, as well as Tribunals.

Judges sit on the Superior Courts, while magistrates sit on the Inferior courts.

The Superior Courts are:

  • The Constitutional Court
  • The Court of Appeal
  • The Court of Criminal Appeal
  • The Criminal Court and
  • The Civil Court
  • The Civil Court (Family Section)
  • The Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction)

The ‘Inferior Courts’ include both superior and an inferior jurisdiction.

The Maltese judicial system is a two-tier system comprising: a court of first instance, presided over by a judge or a magistrate, and a court of appeal. The Court of Appeal is presided by one judge if it sits in its inferior jurisdiction and is presided by three judges if it sits in its superior jurisdiction.

There are also various tribunals that deal with specific areas of the law (such as the Industrial Tribunal and the Division of Inheritances Tribunal) and have varying degrees of competence.

The highest court, the Constitutional Court, hears appeals in cases involving violations of human rights, interpretation of the constitution, invalidity of laws and cases concerning disputed parliamentary elections and electoral corrupt practices.

In the criminal court, the presiding judge sits with a jury of nine. The court of appeal hears appeals from decisions of the civil court and of various boards and tribunals, including the Industrial, Small Claims, and Consumers’ Tribunal. The court of criminal appeal hears appeals from judgments of conviction by the criminal court.

The Civil Court (Family Section) hears all cases relating to family matters including marital separation, divorce, annulment and filiation. The Family Court is housed in a separate building.

The Civil Court (Voluntary Section) is a non-contentious court deciding matters such as adoptions, tutorships and curatorships, interdictions and incapacitations, and the opening of wills.

There is also a Juvenile Court which hears and decides actions in which minors are involved. It has both a civil as well as a criminal jurisdiction. When presiding in its civil jurisdiction it hears matters relating to the protection of children that have been placed under a care order. When presiding in its criminal jurisdiction it hears actions in which minors are accused of crimes and contraventions.

Further links

The Constitution of Malta


Sources
Featured: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMalta_Valletta_BW_2011-10-07_10-41-05.JPG

Statue of Guido de Marco (detail). By A,Ocram (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons. Edit by penworks.

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

This page is about the political life of Guido De Marco, and lists his achievements and key events.

As Interior Minister and Justice

  • Led the reform and modernization of the Police Force and founded the Police Academy.
  • 1988 – attended Conference of European Law Ministers in Lisbon, and the Hague (1989).
  • 1989 – Introduces Malta into the Pompidou Group (Co-operation group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs) and participated at its meeting of Ministers held in London. Led Malta’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs held in New York.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs (May 1990 – October 1996)

  • One of his first acts was submitting Malta’s application for membership of the European Communities in Brussels on July 16th, 1990, stressing Malta’s European vocation. [Photo: Letter of Application to the EEC].
  • Underlined the validity of the Mediterranean dimension, promoting and pursuing the principle that the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue was a basic element to regional security and co-operation.
  • Consolidated Malta’s active contribution to the work of international organisations – the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth.
  • Introduced several bills in the House of Representatives that integrated important conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law.
  • 18th September 1990 was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly (45th Session). In this role he undertook a number of diplomatic initiatives:
    • Visit to the refugee camps in the Occupied Territories and Jordan, to Ethiopia and Albania.
    • Meeting with US Secretary of State, James Baker during the Gulf War
    • Meeting with H.H. Pope John Paul II.
    • Invited to Moscow for talks by the USSR Council of Ministers and to the People’s Republic of China.
    • Visited the Democratic Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea in May 1991 leading to the admission of these two countries to the United Nations.
    • Visited Chernobyl, the Czech and Slovak Republic.
  •   Between 1990 and 1996 he spearheaded other key initiatives in both the bilateral and multilateral fields including:
    • The expansion of Malta’s representation overseas
    • The conclusion of important agreements in areas essential for economic growth and co-operation. He headed Malta’s delegation to the various CSCE/OSCE Conferences.
    • In January 1992, at the CSCE Council in Prague, Malta launched Prof. de Marco’s initiative to declare the CSCE a regional arrangement in terms of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, a proposal which was later approved by the Heads of State and Government at the Helsinki Summit.
    • He promoted dialogue between the CSCE and the Mediterranean non-participating States.
    • Gave particular attention to the Maltese Community overseas visiting Maltese migrants in Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and smaller communities in a number of other countries.

Letter of Application to the EEC. By Dans (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Letter of application for membership of the European Economic Community by Malta, 1990. Sent from the Maltese foreign affairs minister Guido de Marco to the Italian foreign affairs ministers Gianni De Michelis, at the time holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council. Held at the House of European History in Brussels, Belgium. (Wikipedia)


 

Sources
Featured: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Denkmal_an_Guido_de_Marco.JPG