Nationalist MEP denied access to Pitkali market, claims discrimination

Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech accuses government of favouritism over refusal to grant him access to farmers market

MEP Francis Zammit Dimech
MEP Francis Zammit Dimech

The Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech has said he was denied permission to visit the Pitkali market in Ta’ Qali by agriculture secretary Clint Camilleri.

Zammit Dimech, a former minister, said Labour MEP Alfred Sant was granted access while he was denied permission though several e-mail requests he sent.

“It is unbelievable that now the government has taken favouritism to such a level,” Zammit Dimech said of his request, made as part of a consultation process launched in March 2018.

In July 2018, Zammit Dimech requested a visit to the market to speak to farmers, but was refused permission, the MEP said,

“Currently there are no Maltese MEPs serving on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI)… I teamed up with other MEPs and the rapporteur in the AGRI committee to present proposals of Maltese farmers in a report on the future of food and farming,” the MEP Said.

Zammit Dimech has proposed that special consideration should be granted to farmers facing specific constraints linked to less favoured areas such as islands, to maintain farming activity in such areas.

Farmers had also expressed disappointment with respect to delay for payments, proposing that the new common agriculture policy make financing more expedited, fairer and more efficient.

“Government’s bias was of detriment to the farmers as this report came at an important time ahead of new EU Agricultural Policy which will determine EU funding for agriculture post 2020. In fact, there are currently ongoing negotiations in the AGRI Committee that involve such aspects,” the MEP said.

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