24 30 January 2001
GWU to discuss anti-EU motion
The General Workers' Union said that it will discuss a motion against Malta's EU membership with its delegates on Thursday 8 February, during an extraordinary session of the Union's National Delegates Conference.
The Union said that in view of the country's economic circumstances, the delegates will be asked to approve the motion.
Tony Zarb, GWU Secretary General, referred to a study which the union commissioned by various local and foreign experts beyond any bias of partisan politics', during a press conference, held at the Workers' Memorial building, yesterday.
Mr Zarb said various EU Directorates in Brussels and EU Parliamentarians in Luxembourg assisted by providing vital information.
The study, which will be put before the delegates, includes research on the current restructuring, which has been deemed necessary for the local economy, irrespective of EU membership. The eight-chapter study also deals with the way negotiations are being conducted. According to Mario Cutajar, deputy secretary general, the study uncovers the negative impact on various sectors of the economy, particularly the manufacturing industry, the public sector, ship buildings and repair.
When asked, Mr Zarb said it was not ethical to reveal the identity of the experts who completed the report at this stage. He said that the union had the country's best interests in mind, adding that the motion was not limited to rejecting EU membership, but also put forwards its suggestions for good relations with EU member states, as well as other economic blocs.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Party issued a statement yesterday in reaction to the GWU's press conference. The PN claimed that the union had chosen to follow the Labour Party, instead of giving priority to the workers' interests, adding no conclusions could be drawn form the union's report.
"However, the union is still forwarding a motion against Maltese EU membership," the statement continued. The PN statement explained that European socialist parties and workers' unions are in favour of their countries' joining the EU, adding membership offered many advantages to Maltese workers.