Saturday, 17 February 2001

Irish Stew Recipe

The Times of Malta

The Editor,

Dear Sir,

Clearly Dr Austin Bencini and I have very different views on Malta`s application for EU membership. But do we have to disagree even where we agree`

My reference to the La Salle case in my piece Irish Recipe (The Times 15th February) was to emphasise the point that the fact that La Salle contract should proceed, in spite of reservations on its constitutional congruence,` should not lead to the argument that our constitutional neutrality is an expired concept.` Basically this is same thing Dr Bencini argued in his reply.

The argument that neutrality of our constitution has been rendered irrelevant and is an expired concept has been made by influential government components and its frequency increased with the unfolding of the La Salle story. Dr Bencini seems to has missed them.

Dr Bencini makes a strong assertion. `Malta alone (is) to decide the extent and the meaning of what Malta`s neutrality means or should mean since no foreign interference of any sorts exists on this debate.` Whilst this is perfectly true in the present circumstances I ask for reflection if this assertion would hold in the context of membership in the EU which is envisioned as follows my EU Commissioner Prodi: "Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power` In other words, not just a trading bloc but a political entity,"

Dr Bencini seems to have missed my argument` that pooling of sovereignty in certain areas inevitably leads to loss sovereignty in other areas even where it was not intended. The Irish are finding that pooling of monetary sovereignty is forcing them to subject also their fiscal policies to de facto pooled sovereignty. Similarly Malta will eventually find that even if allowed to opt out` of CSFP arrangements initially,` it would only be a question of when, not if,` that it will have to succumb to the pressure of turning the EU into the political project envisioned by Prodi.` `EU membership is a long term contract and cannot be judged purely by the honey-moon years.

The main point of my article (hence Irish Recipe) was however another.` Our economy needs a social contract based on tax reductions. This has proved so successful in Ireland that the EU is trying to slow down their success. Unfortunately we are going in a totally different direction.


Alfred Mifsud

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