Letters: 1st June 2014

Czech exports processed like any other

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malta refers to the article published in the MaltaToday newspaper (‘Czech arms makers claim Malta is stopping exports to Egypt’, 23 May 2014) and believes it opportune to clarify its position in relation to the contents of the article.
Maltese Subsidiary Legislation 365.13 – Military Equipment (Export Control) Regulations, Article 4 (2) requires a transit licence for military goods transiting Maltese territory, similar to exports. This legal requirement applies to all applications, without distinction as to whether the applicant is Maltese, originating from within the European Union or beyond.

Transits of military material, i.e., equipment falling under the EU Common Military List, similar to exports, undergo an assessment based on country of final destination and end user. All licences, be it for export or transit, are assessed on a case by case basis and are guided by the criteria of EU Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, the existence of sanctions currently in force against the country of final destination, any relevant EU Council Conclusions and general information on the country of destination.

As regards the claims being put forward by Czech arms exporters that are being presented in the article, Malta does not in any way stop Czech exports and Czech authorities from exporting to destinations of their choice. Malta is only involved in instances when the goods in question need to transit through its territory, in which case as already explained, an application for a transit licence must be made and once approved, the transit may proceed.

Any application needs to be submitted well before the expected shipping date to allow for sufficient time for an assessment to be made. Finally, the Ministry wishes to recall that the decision as to whether or not a licence is to be approved or otherwise remains Malta’s national prerogative.  

Maria Muscat, Communications Coordinator, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Dangerous vehicles

It would seem that not all road users are created equal. I am referring to those who use engine-powered bicycles on our roads. Not only do they produce an infernal din – exacerbated when they travel through narrow roads – but they show no respect to other road users.

They zigzag between cars recklessly and I have personally witnessed a few mounting the pavement when traffic conditions make using the tarmac inconvenient. Some will insist on occupying the middle of the road, slowing traffic and increasing the likelihood of dangerous overtaking maneuvers.

Although the majority of these “cyclists” – invariably young men, often in groups of two of more – seem to have realized the worth of their heads and started to use helmets, they often ride with little else by way of protective gear. If an accident had to happen, the results would be disastrous.

While taxation would not be a reasonable measure against these high-speed health hazards, perhaps a register of some sort could keep track of these vehicles. A basic safety course would not go amiss either.

Marisa Farrugia, Mosta

EP elections and immigration

In my opinion the vote of 24 May in Malta – and not only in Malta – is a reflection on one main issue: the question of immigration from outside the EU.

The people in their majority are worried that EU institutions are not responding adequately to this issue. This includes the Nationalist Party in Malta who is identified with such policies.

Consequently, my advice to the leaders of the Nationalist Party is to heed such concern and seek to address this issue if they wish to obtain a majority of votes and a popular mandate.

This is said since the Nationalist Party has suffered a third national election defeat in succession in the last 5 years, with a margin of over 30,000 votes - something without precedent in Malta’s political history.

Mario Mifsud, Hamrun