27 FEBRUARY 2002

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Aznar visits Malta

Spanish Prime Minister Aznar arrived late last night in a lightening visit where he met the Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami and other top government officials. Spain presently holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has claimed that Spain feels that EU presidency will be "a great opportunity for us to apply the policies we believe in."

This means Spain will hold the very highest responsibility for the co-ordination of the work undertaken by the Council of Ministers of the European Union and will represent the Union internationally. Spain will be in a position to take a leading political role in all fields. In general terms, the main functions carried out by the Presidency will be the co-ordination of the work of the Council and the overseas representation of the EU.

Spain is placing more value not only on enlargement of the EU itself, but also on acquiring better benefits for all of the citizens within. Spain has pledged to fight terrorism, and focus on social reforms. This change of presidency may prove favourable for Malta’s accession prospects.

"Spain has been within the EU long enough to reap its benefits and can claim that membership works also for Mediterranean countries."explained Joanna Drake, expert on European law and main spokesperson for the IVA movement. "Spain is in a better position to understand Malta’s requests based on a culture which resembles its own."

The Maltese Government can find a valuable ally in the Spanish Government which would undoubtedly aid Malta by supporting its proposals. During this year which is crucial to Malta’s bid to join the EU, Spain may aid the country in acquiring increased attention to sensitive areas such as agriculture, environment and funding. These areas have been recognised as being particularly hard chapters for Malta but Spain may better understand the dichotomy within our country and thus better understand the arguments and expectations being raised.

 



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt