President Vella does not budge, insists the presidency will sign IVF law

He says that he would immediately resign if a euthanasia or an abortion bill arrived at his desk

President George Vella
President George Vella

President George Vella once again did not budge on whether it will be him who signs the IVF amendments law, highlighting that he has no say on what gets signed into law.

Interviewed by Andrew Azzopardi on 103 Malta's Heart on Saturday morning, President George Vella said that his role binds him from pushing back against any law passed through parliament.

“Any law that goes through Parliament with the correct democratic process has to be accepted. I can't send back any bill for a second consideration and once it goes through, it has to be signed,” Vella said.

The IVF law amendments, which include the introduction of pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos, were approved in Parliament on Wednesday with 66 votes in favour and three against.

Earlier on the week Vella was pressed by the media on whether he will personally sign the law himself, Vella was cryptic and kept repeating that it would be signed. He was also evasive on whether he would be in Malta to do so.

The President however said that the IVF bill did not pose the same morality issues as a potential abortion or euthanasia bill. “In that case there would be not argument - I would leave. We’re however not at that stage yet.”

Asked by Azzopardi whether he will be abroad, so that Agent President Frank Bezzina steps in and signs the law himself, Vella stuck to his guns and reiterated that it would be signed by the presidency.

Metro not suitable for Malta

When asked about the current rate of development in Malta and its sustainability, Vella said he feels that aesthetics were being overlooked by the industry.

“Will today’s buildings be relevant and attractive for future generations? Nowadays we simply build blocks upon blocks.”

The President expressed his skepticism that the road infrastructure projects were leaving a mark. “How many flyovers and tunnels are we going to build? I won’t deny that they are needed, however we have to consider the amount of cars that are imported every day. We also have to rethink our transport infrastructure,” Vella said.

He said that he does not agree that a metro would be suitable for Malta, as in his opinion it would not be economically viable and it would cause many environmental issues.

Vella spoke about his recent trip to Qatar and said he was impressed with their monorail system, which he said could work well in Malta.

“We need to come up with a real master plan for our transport infrastructure. Traffic is one of the worst headaches for the Maltese, causing pollution and mental health issues daily.”

Community Chest Fund

Vella spoke about the Malta Community Chest Fund and issues related to the procurement of vital medicines, which are not yet part of the government formulary.

He said that he would like to see a better alignment of the medicine that is provided by free by the government and that sponsored through the MCCF.

“The government procures around €2 billion in medicine each year, whilst the MCCF has a budget of around €13-14 million. If there is a medicine which has worked wonders for years, why doesn't the government add it to the government formulary?”

Vella did however acknowledge that whenever the MCCF had a fund shortage, the government always stepped up to help.