Monday, February 24, 2003
Dealing with the EU - 24th February 2003, 19.42

Desmond Zammit Marmara, writing in the Times of Malta, slates the ironically named Nationalist party for undermining the isalnd's national interest. In a story familiar from to many other accession countries, the European Commission has adopted a 'take it or leave it' attitude, presenting EU membership as a reward for any country invited to join rather than entering a relationship of equals. Marmara states that Malta's strategic position is important to the EU and more concessions should have been wrung out of Brussels before accepting the package offered.

Marmara is wrong to accept that membership of the European Union is beneficial in any form but he certainly pits Brussels in its place.

We cannot put European Union issues at the top of the country's agenda and give all the other important issues a backseat as the Nationalist government has done, with the disastrous socio-economic results that you can see all around you. A new Labour government will put at the top of its agenda the really important issues such as reducing the burden of taxation on Maltese citizens, controlling and reducing government expenditure, tackling the drug problem among our youths, improving technical education and reducing the number of youths who leave secondary schools without the academic and social skills necessary for success in life, and tackling environmental problems such as Maghtab.

Meanwhile, the negotiations with Brussels would go on but only as a backdrop to all this. Valletta would be the centre of operations and not Brussels. You would not switch on the television or the radio to a nauseating over-saturation of EU-related programmes. The European Union would be one topic of debate among many, equally-important others.

If you love your country, you cannot vote yes at the referendum. Viva Malta!

I suspect that this is the only time I will be rooting for Labour!


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