[WATCH] Abela 'irresponsible' to consult Muscat as Malta struggles to rebuild reputation - Adrian Delia

Robert Abela was immature and irresponsible to consult with Joseph Muscat on economic recovery when former PM is 'part of the problem'

PN leader Adrian Delia was interviewed on Net TV on Sunday
PN leader Adrian Delia was interviewed on Net TV on Sunday

It was irresponsible of Robert Abela to consult with Joseph Muscat on economic recovery when the country is struggling to rebuild its reputation due to the problems the former prime minister himself caused, Adrian Delia said.

Delia asked how Malta could turn over a new leaf when "the most corrupt politician in Europe" - who was forced to resign following mass protests last November and December - had been again called in to Castille to consult with the Prime Minister on the way out for the economic after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nationalist Party leader was speaking during an interview on Net TV on Sunday.

"Muscat is part of the problem - he was the problem, he ruined our reputation. When we have this current economic situation which necessitates that we slowly rebuild our reputation, Robert Abela in an immature and irresponsible way calls on Joseph Muscat... or maybe it was the other way round," Delia said.

"Is this how we will look forward and rebuild our reputation?"

Delia warned that should the government fail the Moneyval test in September, it would face greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force, which would cause investors to avoid investing in Malta.

"But the government's attitude is that it doesn't even want to discuss the matter with stakeholders which are ready to talk... despite the consequences, it remains obstinate."

Pandemic showed weakness of economic model based on population

Delia said the fact that foreigners in Malta who lost their job due to COVID-19 were being repatriated back to their countries showed the weakness of the economic model based on population growth which the government had espoused.

"We had been saying for years that it's not wise to base economic expansion on population growth, because there can be a sudden collapse. And what happened? In the two or three months since the coronavirus outbreak it was shown that, despite the government's claims, the surplus wasn't a strong economic structure... it wasn't creating value added which could be used as reserved [during the pandemic]."

"When the going gets though, the foreigners leave. And the economy is taking a hit because consumption is decreasing. So, isn't it clear that model wasn't good? Are we going to now rush back into the same model?"

Need for national convergence on post-COVID plan

Delia said the Opposition had been devising sets of proposals on the way forward after the coronavirus.

He said he hoped that there would be convergence at national level on a post-COVID recovery plan.

Despite this, he lamented that the government appeared to not have a plan in this regard. He stressed the importance of identifying which sectors are in danger of collapsing, and to act quickly before businesses fail.

Delia also underlined the importance of investing in the health sector.

"We believe that by investing wisely in the health sector - ensuring people are strong - then you can have a strong economy. You can't pit health and the economy against each other," he said.

The PN leader added that had the millions of euro which had been given to Vitals Global Healthcare and Steward Health Care been instead invested in the health sector, Malta could have one of the best health structures in the world.