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Alfred Sant issues stark warning on the future of the EU

Labour MEP: ‘Discontent spreading across Europe and those who have nothing to lose are identifying themselves with far right parties’

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
28 November 2016, 9:23am
Alfred Sant addresses an audience in Qawra
Alfred Sant addresses an audience in Qawra
Former prime minister Alfred Sant said Malta will be presiding the EU at a delicate time when Europe faces political and economic challenges, while Malta has for the past three years been enjoying an increase in jobs and economic activity.

Sant told an audience at a conference organized by his office in Qawra that various crises had hit Europe during the last two and a half years, including the sanctions against Russia which affected energy projects with Europe; the negative effects of immigration in Germany and Eastern countries’ objections to receive immigrants; frayed relations with Turkey; terrorism in France and Belgium; and the effects of Brexit in other member states.

“Decisions taken by the European Union in the next two and a half years may not be in Malta’s interests. Malta will be affected directly if the EU becomes a military union, due to the island’s geographical position on the borders of the EU. Malta’s Constitution prohibits Malta to join military alliances but irrespective of this we must understand whether it is in our interests that the EU becomes a military union,” Sant said.

While striking out against a deepening military union, Sant was critical of pressures from the European Commission on Malta’s financial services sector due to the effects of the Panama Papers. “Decisions taken at EU level, even if they seem remotely far away, will leave their mark on us and our families. We must follow what is happening in Europe and continuously ask how these developments will affect us,” the Labour MEP told a packed house at the Qawra Palace Hotel.

“We must understand what is in our interests to take the necessary choices. The economy in Europe is recovering, but there still persists uncertainty that things can go to worse. European decision-makers are not sure they have found the right solutions to the challenges facing Europe. Stagnation still persists in business and investment circles.

“The elderly are uncertain about their pensions, youths and workers face bleak prospects in the world of work. Where will this stagnation lead to? Discontent is spreading across Europe and those who have nothing to lose are distancing themselves from the traditional political parties and identifying themselves with far right parties. Europe is falling behind economically and socially and is not meeting citizens’ expectations,” Sant said.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.