Sunday, 25 March 2001


The Malta Independent on Sunday


The editorial of The Malta Independent on Sunday last week was a masterpiece in contradiction.

The editorship of this so-called independent newspaper made the cool declaration that it `would like to see this government re-elected principally because the opposition Labour Party is against EU membership`. The independence of this newspaper proclaimed in its title is sacrificed on the alter of the EU which this newspaper considers as the be all and end all, an ultimate objective per se. Not merely as a means to lead to the final end of giving the citizens of this nation a sustainable prosperity within the context of our nationhood, sovereignty and constitutional` neutrality, but an end in itself whatever it takes to get there.

For the editorship of this newspaper the PN should be re-elected no matter how much they mismanage, no matter how many tax millions they burn, no matter how much corruption taints the executive,` for as long as the MLP sticks to its policy of Switzerland in the Mediterranean. What a poor definition of independence!

But the contradictions do not end there. The policy for joining the EU in full membership as early as possible is the major impediment for the re-election possibilities of the current administration.` The two cannot co-exist.

The first signal was given in the local election results.` The PN demanded a vote of confirmation of their national policies which are all pinned on to the mast of early accession into the EU. In the right direction slogan clearly was meant to signify early arrival at the EU membership destination.

The verdict is unmistakable. A wide sample of one-third of the population, if anything more biased towards pro-PN regions and localities, have placed the PN in a distinct minority.` And all this in spite of the bounce back which the PN fortunes had through the mishandling of the La Salle issue by the Drydocks Section of the GWU which gave the Prime Minister an opportunity to enjoy a rare short instance of perceived strong` leadership.` No doubt some residual benefits of this La Salle bounce back benefitted the PN vote in the local elections but, failing more gaffes from the Labour /GWU side, it will be completely exhausted in future elections.

The message was however not lost on the Prime Minister.` Knowing that government present position is unsustainable the Prime Minister was forced to dig himself into further contradictions.`

In a direct TV debate with the Leader of the Opposition the Prime Minister acknowledged, for the first time may I add,` that Switzerland in the Mediterranean policy, is a sensible and adaptable policy for Malta but he went on to add that his government can obtain the necessary derogations from the EU to be able to achieve the benefits of Switzerland in the Mediterranean within a framework of EU membership.

Can you believe it` Those who were accusing Labour for promoting an unrealistic a la carte solution outside the membership option have lost so much room for manoeuvring` that they are now shamelessly contradicting themselves in `proposing `unrealistically to turn EU membership from a set menu into a lavish buffet display.

So according to our Prime Minister the EU will be accepting derogations which would permit us to buy our basic food at international world price and not at higher internal EU prices.` The EU will be allowing us to restrict property purchases by other EU nationals to one single property unit for own use.` And whilst our citizens will have all the freedom to work wherever they will in other EU states,` we will be given the right to restrict access of other EU nationals to our domestic` labour market.

The EU will be allowing us to retain our status of active neutrality and we will not be forced to follow any present or future initiatives to align our foreign and defence policies to the central objectives designed in Brussels.

Now any elementary student who has even a remote following of developments of the enlargement project of the EU knows that this is day-dreaming at its best. Regular pronouncements from Brussels unmistakably point that permanent derogations from the acquis communitaire are out the question and transitory provisions will only be considered exceptionally, for short periods and in very small quantities which do not offend the single market concept.

Continuing to tie itself in self-destruct contradictions will inevitably lead this government to obvious results of which the last local elections was just a fore-taste.

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