20 NOVEMBER 2002

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Toon this week: Festive mood

An appeal to labourites

Last Sunday, the Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami delivered a keynote speech at the end of the Nationalist Party conference Ghazla ghall-uliedna held at the Eden Century Ice Rink.

It was a focused speech delivered to hit home the message that is at the heart of Europe’s longest serving political leader; his vision is sometimes called an obsession. But it is a welcome obsession.

Not once in his delivery did he mention the words Alfred Sant but he did appeal to labourites.

He addressed Labour party followers specifically calling on them not to give up on supporting their party but to vote for Europe in the upcoming referendum.

It was a welcome move, which we gladly applaud.

The future in Europe as everyone knows is not a concession for the Nationalist Party.

The Prime Minister spoke at length about the implications of European Union membership and economic growth.

He reminded his audience about the successes of his government.

There are several achievements even though we are not too happy with the way the government has tackled matters pertaining to essential issues such as the question of pension and welfare reform, the over-subsidised parastatal companies, the bloated civil service and others.

Nevertheless, this government will have to be noted for a number of fundamental reforms.

The first is the establishment of a free market system.

The second is the setting up of a dynamic private sector

And the third is a sound tax regime and the fourth is the realisation of a buzzing educational and skilled base.

The last hurdle that Dr Fenech Adami dreams of is European Union membership which he rightly believes will catapult Malta into a market of 500 million.

This will position Malta to take up those investment challenges that can provide for growth.

This country and its citizens will benefit. There are risks involved but we are convinced that the Maltese will live up to these new horizons.

To derail this process one finds the crusade of Alfred Sant who continues to argue that partnership not membership suits us far better.

He knows that the polls are pointing to an overwhelming shift towards European accession.

It still has to be seen how Labour will get out of this one.

The insensitive Dane

The Danish prime minister’s comments yesterday is proof that our negotiators are not to be taken for granted. Rasmussen speaking to journalist Kurt Sansone said that Malta should not call for any additional special arrangement.

The Danish PM added that the EU would not wait for Malta. His words were plainly too harsh and out of synch with the general mood in Brussels. Outspoken Rasmussen is clearly insensitive to Malta’s position.

The strong reminder comes at a time when Malta is seeking a zero rate for VAT on food and medicine.

In this respect, the EU has been stubbornly unmoving and has refused to budge. Even though two other EU states, the UK and Ireland have special concessions on food and medicine.

Yet, an occasion where the EU’s position should be derided and criticised for its two weight and two measures stance.


Copyright © Network Publications Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07, Malta
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt