Alex Agius Saliba | ‘We need a more effective social union, one that empowers people with special abilities’

Meet Labour candidate Alex Agius Saliba

There are four main areas I would like to work closely on if given the opportunity: the social sector particularly focusing on people with special abilities; the youth sector; hunting and trapping; and migration. 

The last is perhaps the most sensitive and the one which Maltese are mostly concerned about. It is also an area where there are divisions internally within the Union and where it has been ineffective, especially on the internal dimension. I think that clear disembarkation rules are needed for search and rescue operations in the mediterranean. NGOs performing such functions must also comply with rules at all times and should ideally be regulated. Furthermore, there needs to be a solidarity mechanism that ensures that Member States facing influxes can be given assistance that goes beyond a financial contribution.  Last but not least, investment must be strengthened in the Eus neighbourhoods to stabilise these, including to prevent crossings in the Mediterranean. 

On hunting and trapping I have been very clear from the outset. I think that Maltese hunters and trappers were cheated by previous administrations. My promise to this cohort is simple: I want to be their voice in this important institution – mainly to echo their irritation and to ensure that they can exercise their rights in the way their peers in the EU do. 

Insofar as the youth sector is concerned, its no secret that this is one that is very close to my heart. I have been active amongst and within youth organisation for a significant part of my life and I know very well the struggles youths face. Primarily, each and every youth wants a job – one that pays well and that ensures their future stability. To deliver on this, I think the EU can be very important and through the European Parliament I want to work for more opportunities in the education sector, including to upscale skills and ensure that our future workforce is ready for the digital age. 

Moreover, I think that we need to have more effective social union – one that empowers people with special abilities. I feel that no effort should be spared to deliver on these priorities and funds should be made available as necessary in this regard. We need have a Union that ensures that people with special abilities are guaranteed employment opportunities and the assistance they need. 

Finally, I think that Malta has a number of best practices to share with the Union and its Member States. Our economic performance has become a benchmark for our peers and in sectors like gender equality we have become champions. These are all experiences that I would be honoured to share with colleagues in the European Parliament and see implemented in other Member States if possible. They are also issues where I will do my utmost to ensure that our achievements are protected and safeguarded.

Quick-fire Q&A

Do you agree with the creation of an EU army?    No. Malta is constitutionally bound to be a neutral Member State. 

Should corporate taxation be harmonised across the European Union?    No. Taxation is a fiscal policy tool that Member States can use to attract FDI, especially when they have geographical handicaps. This should remain Member State competence as envisaged in the Treaties.

Should children of refugees born on Maltese soil be entitled to Maltese citizenship?    No.

Should MEPs have the power to veto decisions taken by the European Council?    No. According to the Treaties, the European Council is a political body that does not take legal decisions but sets the Union's political agenda. Legal decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.

Should Malta stop selling citizenship, which is also EU citizenship, under the IIP? No. As long as the due diligence process continues to be adequate, there is no reason why this should stop. There are other citizenship programmes in other Member States.

Should Turkey be a member of the EU?    No. Unless accession criteria are met, Turkey cannot join the EU.

Should border controls be reintroduced in Schengen countries?    No.

Do you agree with a ‘Mare Nostrum’ style European rescue mission in the Mediterranean financed by the EU budget?   Only if there are clear disembarkation rules, including on solidarity mechanisms. If these are absent, then provisions of international law should be respected.