Cyrus Engerer | Cutting off one's nose to spite the face

Although it has been made abundantly clear that this is, after all, the goal being pursued by some people who would bask in the ruin of our economy, Metsola and Casa are playing with fire

Cyrus Engerer is a Labour candidate for Europe

“The Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to the Member State in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that Member State in the Council.” (Article 7, TEU).

Roberta Metsola and David Casa have been unrelenting in the past five years. They tried to besmirch Malta’s name on the European stage time and time again. While the culmination of the attacks locally may have been the Egrant lie, the cherry on the cake in the European Parliament was the Resolution on the rule of law in Malta and Slovakia, voted upon last March. This was the culmination of five years of mud-slinging by Metsola and Casa. A campaign of whispers and damage that had been going on in the European Parliament’s corridors for months on end.

However, while Metsola and Casa may have considered the resolution as an end in itself, other MEPs saw this resolution as the first of a dangerous and treacherous path in stripping Malta of its voting powers. Roberta Metsola and David Casa were (and still are) playing with fire. It came to no surprise that the German MEP Sven Giegold was completely dumbfounded when the PN came out against the invocation of Article 7 against Malta. Logically, Sven Giegold believed that the natural path following such a resolution would be to keep ploughing on. He wanted to add meat to the bone. He did not believe that such a resolution would only be meant as a political stunt. Sven Giegold wants Malta to be stripped of its voting rights in the Council of the EU.

It is, therefore, fundamental for us to comprehend the effects such an invocation would have on Malta. Putting it simply, the EU’s voting procedure mostly works either by qualified majority voting or by unanimity. Logically, the latter case is kept for the most sensitive of issues, financial issues being an example. Basically, this means that in any law pertaining to finances, Malta has a veto.

The financial sector which is so vital to our economy and which was created by previous governments, has come under attack and has been put under the limelight several times since we joined the EU and different prime ministers and finance ministers have defended our sector over and over again. However, should Article 7 be invoked against Malta, our ministers would be without the most important tool at hand; the vote. The vote that could act as the veto in protecting thousands of jobs in Malta, and the Maltese economy in general would take a major hit. Such a situation would wreak havoc in Malta.

Although it has been made abundantly clear that this is, after all, the goal being pursued by some people who would bask in the ruin of our economy, Metsola and Casa are playing with fire. A similar effect of such an invocation, albeit on a smaller scale, would be the loss of voting rights during the negotiations of the Multi-annual Financial Framework (the MFF). Should we lose our vote in this regard we would end up without a voice in the setting out of the seven-year budget of the EU.

We have seen PN prime ministers in the past proudly reporting back to Malta the millions gained through the MFF. On the other hand, Metsola and Casa are seeking to deprive our economy of such gains.

It is, therefore, fundamentally important to recognise that actions have consequences and everyone must shoulder one’s responsibilities. It is not only unwise but insanely dangerous to put in jeopardy the economy and the livelihood of thousands of Maltese families with the aim of possible political gains.

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