Nationalist party looks towards
EU as Labour promises cuts in public spending
Parties manifestos on finance and economy
"Conformity with international regulations, without
foreign interference." A misnomer sounds off in the first of Labours
proposals on financial services.
Likewise, another quirk in the same chapter: "A new Labour government
will investigate the situation whereby HSBCs purchase of Mid Med
Bank gave it a dominant position in the banking sector." It is
evident Labours, and possibly even scorn is at the heart of Labours
policy with regards to HSBC.
Its dominant position was however never earned, but bought over, Mid
Med having already proved itself the bank with the dominant position
before HSBC came to town.
These are the strange flavours in the MLPs economic approach.
But the targets on controlling public spending are clear and decisive,
all intimately tied to cutting down on EU harmonisation (an estimated
Lm22 million yearly), and cutting down on the friends-of-friends
And that means streamlining parastatal expenses, foundations follies
and special consultancies to the ministries. Which is why Malta Enterprise
will be dismantled and replaced by the Malta Development Corporation,
a revival of one of the MLPs botched 1996-98 plans.
The fiscal deficit will be decreased by three per cent in 2006, Labour
At the other end of the spectrum, the Nationalists are rooting for re-election
through the EU ticket, and their manifesto is a reminder of Copenhagens
conclusions and what lies beyond.
"As EU members, Malta will attract more investment than ever before
through the doors that will be opened to the big EU market."
The Nationalists manifesto and its wording is more comely and
colourful affair. The main thrust is the European Union, at times looking
more like a MIC information leaflet than an electoral programme. On
the other, the drab and prosaic presentation of the MLP and AD manifestos
make for the presence of more than once concrete proposal.
The PN have focused on EU benefits to SMEs, assisted through Business
Incubation Centres. The Malta Enterprise Board, collecting the MDC,
METCO and IPSE together, will be enabling a more efficient use of resources.
The attention to fledgling enterprises, in a better position to create
new jobs, is also on the PNs programme. Again, the EUs the
main thrust, with the proverbial opening of new doors as
the key to turning Malta into an export-oriented economy.
Malta is also being earmarked by the PN as a commercial centre servicing
the entire Mediterranean region, especially through the Freeport.
A greater emphasis on the economy is present in this years AD
manifesto, with a more social approach to economic planning. The Green
Party talks about the need to shift emphasis from an industry that is
heavily dependent on construction and development, to a more export-orientated