Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Charles Tannock MEP hosts exhibition on the Order of Malta

22nd March 2012

Charles Tannock MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group Foreign Affairs and Human Rights spokesman, this week hosted an exhibition in the European Parliament highlighting the humanitarian work carried out by the Sovereign Order of Malta. Dr Tannock is President of the European Parliament-SOM Friendship Group.

On Wednesday evening Dr Tannock hosted a reception to highlight the exhibits, where the Grand Master of the Order was guest of honour. The European Parliament's President Martin Schulz, ECR group leader Martin Callanan, and many senior MEPs from across the political spectrum saw and heard details of the Order's global humanitarian work.

With roots dating back to the year 1050 the Order is the oldest surviving order of chivalry. It is considered to be a sovereign subject in its own right under international law by over 100 countries and international organisations and has observer status at the UN. It has around 13,000 members and 80,000 volunteers in more than 120 countries with a particular emphasis on medical and humanitarian aid and currently receives some 2 million Euros a year support from ECHO, the EU humanitarian agency. The Order aims to assist vulnerable people, the homeless and those with terminal illness and leprosy, without distinction of race and religion.

The Grand Master and Prince is Fra' Matthew Festing OBE,TD,DL who is from the UK.

Speaking at the reception, Dr Tannock, himself a retired medical doctor, said:

"Few organisations have shown themselves to be so adaptable, modern and relevant in today's world. To my mind, this is because of the simplicity and purity of the Order's hospitaller vision: ministering to the poor and sick.

"Our exhibition is a chance to find out more about the humanitarian work of the Order. Wherever there is poverty, wherever there is need, wherever there is disease, the Order is present. There aren't any no-go areas for the Order; no one faces discrimination on the grounds of faith or confession. And the guiding light for the Order today is as it always was: the simple Christian charitable message. Where some aid agencies have reams of guidelines and lists of procedures, the Order has just the scriptures."