Abela continues mantra of normality and sacrifice amid COVID-19, congratulates Scicluna for his work as Finance Minister

Edward Scicluna also gave a speech during the address - his first after resigning from his role as Finance Minister

Photo: Labour Party Communications Office
Photo: Labour Party Communications Office

Abela continued his pleas for normality and sacrifice amid rising COVID-19 cases, and gave commended Edward Scicluna for his work as Finance Minister over the years, during a political activity aired on Labour Party media.

Appealing for a sense of normality, Abela said that Malta is in a far more advantageous situation compared to other countries in Europe that are experiencing lockdowns. "Once all this is over and our performance is judged, they will find that we worked wisely to protect lives and jobs," he said.

He remarked on the approaching COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying that until then sacrifices must be made to ensure we protect ourselves and others. "It is important that we remain a society of solidarity and unity," he appealed. "When finalized, the vaccine will arrive in a country that did not need to go into lockdown because we made clinical and specific decisions that worked."

Abela called for more unity between parties, saying that he wished for more support from the Opposition over the past months. He criticised the PN for calling for a lockdown in March, and offered critical attention to the party's handling of Jason Azzopardi's ethical breach, calling it a simple "slap on the wrist".

He further questioned the PN's criticism on the controversial golden passports scheme, which has been defended by Abela as being an important source of revenue for government. "If the money from the scheme isn't being spent properly then maybe we can discuss this, but the Opposition hasn't been targetting this," he said.

Scicluna's emotional address

Edward Scicluna, who resigned from his post as Finance Minister last Thursday, enjoyed an emotional standing ovation as he began his address at Labour HQ. He praised the Labour government for adopting cheaper and cleaner energy projects as "one of the first priorities of government" when elected to power in 2013, and applauded the social benefits schemes drawn up over the years. 

He recalled how a delegation from the World Bank, who was requested by government to evaluate Malta's social benefits scheme, commended the Labour administration for having a good social benefits system.

Scicluna then congratulated Clyde Caruana, who will be succeeding the former as Finance Minister, for his new ministerial portfolio. "I am pleased to see my ministerial portfolioin good hands," he said. 

Labour's economic formula

With other countries stuck in cycles of debt and austerity, Abela noted Malta's recent A+ credit rating from a German credit rating agency and an EU-approved national budget as sure-fire signs of sound government finances. According to Abela, the EU praised Malta for controlling national debt and on the COVID-19 measures implemented throughout the year. 

"Not only have we given support through the wage supplement, but we have also looked back at what happened under previous injustives under previous governments and offered compensation for it - all this during a pandemic. We do this because we believe that government should improve the quality of life of citizens," he said.