Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.

Would you consider the PN leadership? ‘I don’t entertain hypotheses’ | Roberta Metsola

Ask the MEP • Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola takes 30 minutes out of her busy schedule to talk to MaltaToday on Panama Papers, migration, Russia and her role within the party

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
24 January 2017, 8:32am
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola
How has the Panama Papers impacted Malta’s defence of its taxation system? Can Malta withstand the European Commission’s plans for a common corporate tax base?

There is a shadow hanging over Malta and many MEPs on the civil liberties committee I sit on have expressed concern to me about the Maltese government.

If I were employed in the financial services industry, I would be disappointed that Mizzi has not been sacked because MEPs are erroneously linking the Panama Papers with Malta’s financial services sector in general.

Malta’s financial services system is a rigid one and while the EU must do its bit to fight tax evasion and money laundering, we will insist that this should not come at the expense of attacking small economies.

Yet, the Maltese presidency is in a tough position, because Konrad Mizzi ignored and bypassed the rigidity of Malta’s financial services system by opening a company in Panama.

Malta will be in a better negotiating position to fight pressure for tax harmonization if Muscat sacks Mizzi, but I doubt he will because he has already ignored the call of thousands of street protestors. Panama is going to remain a taint on Malta for a long time to come…

Malta will be in a better negotiating position to fight pressure for tax harmonization if Muscat sacks Mizzi
Malta will be in a better negotiating position to fight pressure for tax harmonization if Muscat sacks Mizzi
How realistic is Joseph Muscat’s plan for the EU and the Libyan navy to conduct joint patrols in the Mediterranean to repatriate asylum seekers intercepted outside Libyan territorial waters?

The Opposition has urged the government to use its geographical position as the closest EU country to Libya to up its game on intelligence gathering in the country. The fact that Libya is so unstable increases the pressure on Malta, and it must work closely with Federica Mogherini to bring all Libyan factions to the table to trash out a solution. The migration challenge is growing, and it would be a mistake for the government to think that deporting Malian children will solve anything.

The government and the EU should work hard for a compromise to be reached in Libya; we can never stop trying to find consensus between Libyan factions.

The government and the EU should work hard for a compromise to be reached in Libya
The government and the EU should work hard for a compromise to be reached in Libya
Do you agree with providing legal channels for refugees to claim asylum?

It is crucial that legal migration channels be set up to stop people drowning in the Mediterranean. Migrants should be screened and identified in their home countries, similar to the system that exists in the USA, and while vulnerable ones should be allowed access to Europe, ineligible ones should be denied entry. We can’t just keep looking at Africa as a brain drain to Europe, but have to start investing in their economies.

'We can’t just keep looking at Africa as a brain drain to Europe'
'We can’t just keep looking at Africa as a brain drain to Europe'
Do you agree with the accession of Turkey to the EU under the present circumstances prevailing in the country under Erdogan?

After the EU-Turkey migrant deal was signed, we have seen a failed coup in Turkey, a completely disproportionate response by Erdogan, and frequent attacks in the capital. This means that the original proposal to grant Turks visa-free access to Europe and although Erdogan has threatened to scrap the migrant deal, I believe that the EU should hold its stance. Turkish membership of the EU has never been so far as it has been in the past decade.

How concerned are you about Russia’s meddling in European and American politics? Should the EU loosen its sanctions on Russia if Trump goes down that route?

Europe must be harsher on Russia, and we must do our utmost to avoid tragedies like Crimea and Aleppo from repeating themselves, while at the same time safeguarding the rights of Russian citizens. Despite Trump’s words, there is no appetite within the EU to loosen its sanctions on Russia; indeed, his words could have had the completely opposite effect…

Simon Busuttil and Joseph Muscat were both MEPs. Do you intend to follow that tradition and become PN leader someday?

I am very happy at the European Parliament and will carry out my mandate as MEP until 2019, while at the same time do my utmost to help Simon Busuttil become Prime Minister.

When my term as MEP is up in 2019, I fully intend to run again if the PN wants me to. If Simon Busuttil doesn’t win the next election, then I will help him win the next one.

'If Simon Busuttil doesn’t win the next election, then I will help him win the next one'
'If Simon Busuttil doesn’t win the next election, then I will help him win the next one'
Will you consider the PN leadership if Busuttil loses the next election and resigns?

I will not entertain hypotheses.