Alfred Sant launches MEP election campaign, says he’s sick of seeing people attack Malta

The Labour MEP was joined on stage by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and pledged to work for a gentler and  more social Europe 

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has urged voters to rally behind the party’s candidates for the upcoming MEP elections, insisting that he was sick of seeing people attack Malta.

Sant was speaking at the launch of his election campaign where he criticised Nationalist Party MEPs for continuously “undermining Malta”.

“They are undermining Malta for their own political advantage,” he said. “They think they are undermining Joseph Muscat but in reality, they are undermining the country.”

Sant pledged to work for a “gentler” Europe and “one that stands for workers, youths and pensioners”.

He said that in recent years, the European Union had seen its social values become eroded but said that the Socialists were working to re-establish Europe’s social values.

Sant also pledged to maintain his faith in Malta, repeating the Labour Party mantra of “Malta first and above all else”.

The former Prime Minister was joined on stage by current Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who recounted how from a very young age Sant had given him the confidence to pursue a career in politics.

He said that the first time he had addressed a crowd was at a Labour Party conference in 1993 when he was still a delegate from St Paul’s Bay.

“I had gotten up to speak and was very open about where I felt the party was mistaken and what it needed going to forward,” he said. “The speech caused a whole pandemonium.”

He said that he had received a great deal of criticism for what he had said, including from people who he today considered to be friends.

Muscat recounted how he had then decided to run, along with another 21 people and how to his surprise he was elected. “It meant that despite the criticism, people had listened to what I said.”

He said that after his initial surprise at being elected, the second surprise came the following day when Sant had mentioned what the “delegate from St Paul’s Bay had said”.

“I wasn’t surprised that he had mentioned me as much as I was surprised that he was listening to what I was saying. This gave me the courage to keep moving forward.”

He said that today, both the country and the party were living through the best of times but stressed that a lot of the success being registered today was down to Sant. “I did what I managed to do because I found a solid base that was built by Alfred, who took crucial decisions that today we take for granted.”

Sant, he said, had thought him a lot as he grew in the party, including the importance of having attention to detail. “He taught me to understand people and if possible, to know each one individually and to know what they are going through.”

Turning to European politics, Muscat noted how the socialists in Europe were in a crisis, and how there remained few socialist prime ministers in Europe. “I am the socialist prime minister that had been in office longest and we have ended up as the strongest socialist party in Europe.”

He said stressed the need for the party to remain close to people and to always strive to make a difference in their lives.

Finally, he appealed to those present not be complacent and to urge as many people as they could to vote. “We can’t make the mistake the Nationalists used to make, and believe we have a god given right to govern.”

“The nation only lends you time. It chooses you once but then it us up to you to win that faith again.”