Bernard Grech will remain at service to the PN if he loses election

Grech talks land reclamation, Ukraine, and corporate tax during a Q&A on Wednesday

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech said he would remain at service to the party if it loses the election again.

During a Q&A session on Wednesday, Grech said he is focused on the election for the time being, but that he will remain at service "to the party and to the country" once it passes.

"Nothing is conclusive," Grech said in reply to a question on his future at the helm of the PN if it loses the 26 March election.

The Nationalist Party must hold a leadership election after every general election, as is required by the party statute. Adrian Delia won the first leadership race after the 2017 general election, only to be ousted in 2020 and replaced by Grech.

Since the last election, the Nationalist Party has had three leaders. 

Land reclamation

Grech said that the party is in favour of responsible land reclamation, but pointed out that the process is pricey.

"While we understand that we need to preserve our sea, there is an opportunity for land reclamation," he said.

He continued that land reclamation would be carried out after conducting research on its impact and cost-effectiveness, and specified that he would not want any land reclamation on the immediate coast, "although doing it further out costs more".

Lower taxes

Grech criticised a Labour party proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, adding that experts told him that the measure would be impossible.

"We said we'd lower the tax for companies and individuals," he clarified, as profits distributed through dividends must be included in the personal income tax.

The Nationalist Party proposed a 15% tax rate on the first €500,000 of company profits which are reinvested in the company, so long as the company is in line with environmental, social and governance criteria.

"We want to lower the gap between foreign investors who enjoy a more beneficial tax rate [and local companies], but also help companies who want to invest more in their business."


Grech newly condemned Prime Minister Robert Abela for delaying his response to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict.

"Robert Abela spent a week considering whether to send a clear message that it is unacceptable for a country to invade a democratic country," Grech stated.

Earlier on Wednesday Grech attended mass at St John's Co-Cathedral celebrating Ash Wednesday. During the mass, Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed solidarity with Ukraine as the war carried on into its seventh day.

Grech briefly spoke about the mass, noting that it was attended by a number of Ukrainian nationals.

"The reality of the situation in Ukraine means we should take action," he commented.

Labour billboard

Grech criticised Robert Abela over the Labour Party’s recent billboard campaign, which features journalist Manuel Delia.

“If he doesn’t understand how dangerous it is to attack journalists then he has learnt nothing about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” he remarked.

Grech said that the Nationalist Party wants to incentivise young people to remain in Malta, or leave Malta to to learn new skills and then continue to work in Malta.

“I want to give youths the opportunity to choose whether to work in one sector or another, or even to leave the country and invest in their future. But we need to cheerish their talen and eventually attract them back to Malta.”

Work-life balance

On family proposals, Grech mentioned an EU directive on work-life balance which aims to give a number of new rights to citizens, including 10 days of paid paternity leave, two months of paid parental leave and five days of annual carers leave, as well as the right to request flexible working arrangements.

"Government hasn't implemented a single measure from this [directive]," he noted. 

The Nationalist Party pledged to increase paternal leave to 15 days instead of the single-day leave afforded to fathers presently. "Tell me what sort of close relationship you can build with your child in just one day," Grech said.

Franco Debono

Asked about former PN MP Franco Debono, Grech said that his door is open to anyone willing to work with him.

"Let me ask a rhetorical question: during my time in the party has Franco Debono moved closer to the PN or moved away?" Grech said. 

Grech added that Debono has a lot to offer to the Nationalist Party, but emphasised that people can help the party without being an election candidate.