Updated | 'No reason to oppose Turkish membership', Tonio Borg reacts to Pullicino Orlando

Nationalist MP declares opposition to Turkish membership to the EU, claiming 'wave of immigrants' will flood EU.

Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said Turkish membership in the EU should be discussed in parliament before any declarations in favour of its accession.
Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said Turkish membership in the EU should be discussed in parliament before any declarations in favour of its accession.

Additional reporting by Karl Stagno Navarra.

Turkey's membership into the EU will require parliamentary approval, but the Nationalist government has one MP who will not be toeing the official government line, going by his statements on Facebook.

Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has added a new tinge to his eclectic political make-up, using his Facebook wall to express his "total" opposition to Turkish membership of the European Union.

The MP, who led a historic campaign that introduced divorce in Malta in 2011, provided a little dampener to proceedings as Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi this morning met Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis at Castille.

In complete contrast to Gonzi's reiteration of Malta's support for Turkish membership, Pullicino Orlando said in his Facebook status update that the "government does not have a mandate" to support Turkish accession to the EU.

But in a reaction, foreign minister Tonio Borg said there was no reason not to accept Turkey once it fulfils all criteria of EU membership. "The final decision will be eventually taken by the Maltese parliament since any addition of a new member, for example Croatia, needs parliamentary approval."

Turkey was accepted as an EU candidate country by the European Union in 2004 with negotiations starting in 2005. At the time, all EU member states accepted the candidature.

"A candidate country can only accede to EU membership once it fulfils all the necessary criteria. There are 35 chapters to be fulfilled out of which 13 have been opened, 8 frozen, 5 blocked and 1 chapter is provisionally closed," Borg said. "In December 2006, the European Council froze eight chapters until Turkey fulfils its obligations to implement the additional protocol to the Association Agreement."

The Labour opposition through MP Leo Brincat, has also expressed support for Turkish membership, in a meeting held in the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

While Pullicino Orlando's outburst refers to the lack of parliamentary consultation between government and MPs on its foreign policy, the MP insisted that Turkey does not culturally belong to Europe, and - redolent of his past anti-immigration stand - said Turkish membership would flood the rest of the EU with Turkish immigrants: even if legally they would then be considered EU citizens.

"I, for one, am totally against it. Turkey is not culturally 'European', accession would result in a wave of Turkish immigrants and widening the EU to include Turkey will prevent consolidation of the political and economic union which is already difficult in the current economic climate.

"Turkey is too big, and will therefore exercise too much power within the EU. It is also too poor, and will cost the rest of the EU too much. This issue should be discussed in parliament before we get declarations in favour of Turkey's accession and promises of support by our foreign minister."

In comments to MaltaToday, Pullicino Orlando said he has been expressing himself internally on Turkish membership to the EU several times, even with the Prime Minister.

Foreign Minister Tonio Borg yesterday said there was no reason to exclude Turkey, which will add 72 million new citizens to the European Union, from the EU if all the necessary criteria are fulfilled. "This has always been Malta's position on the matter," Borg said.

While Pullicino Orlando has been prone to take liberal political stands that put him at loggerheads with the conservative leadership of the PN - specifically on divorce and gay marriage most recently - he has been unequivocally in favour of repelling asylum seekers without proper documentation to enter Malta.

"I suggest that they should be treated in the same way we would treat any other visitor who does not have the proper documentation and is trying to gain entry into our islands illegally. Send them back," Pullicino Orlando had written in The Times.

"When the weather is fair and at the earliest opportunity, they should be towed back into international waters in the direction they came from."

Supporters of Turkey's membership say the country is a key regional power, apart from being Nato's second largest military force. Upon joining the EU, Turkey will elect the second largest number of MEPs, perhaps even surpassing Germany due to its large population by 2020.

In December 2011, a poll showed that as much as 71% of the participants surveyed in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK were opposed to Turkey's membership in the European Union.

More in National
avatar
We should get out of the EU thats the easyest way.
avatar
The issue of Turkey is quite complex and not easily explained in black and white! For those who have never visited this beautiful country and its friendly people, it is highly recommended to do so! Malta is one of only 2 countries would-wide for which the entry visa into Turkey is FREE OF CHARGE, whereas all other countries have to pay $20. The EU should have been honest with Turkey from the very beginning instead of leading it on. There are numerous countries in the EU who will resist Turkey's entry without Malta needing to join the fry believe me! (France and Austria are two of the fiercest opponents to Turkey's entry and have insisted on holding national referenda by their populations which will surely result in the negative). The problem is not Turkey itself -- which by the way has the highest economic growth in the whole of Europe for the last few years (a growth that all EU member states would love to have even half of btw!). The problem in fact is that if Turkey joins the EU it will also give the EU a new external border with new neighbours, for example Syria, Iran -- and think about it, do we really want to be their neighbours?! This is really the problem for the EU and that is why Germany, among others, is leading the push for Turkey to accept 'a privileged partnership with the EU' instead of full membership! However EU member states should stop making false promises to Turkey and discuss openly these realy issues!
avatar
Very easy for Tonio to know. Put the question to the Maltese in a referendum and he will get an answer.
avatar
Ħmistax-il kumment u kollha razzisti. M'hawn ħadd iktar hawn kapaċi joħroġ fil-beraħ u jistaqsi x'inhi din l-imbierka kultura tal-Punent li tant neħtieġu nipproteġugha mit-Turkija? Ma niftakrux lil-imperjaliżmu Ewropew minnu nnifsu huwa razzist? Dik kultura!
avatar
ENOUGH of this MADNESS. EUROPE is a WHITE CONTINENT.
avatar
ENOUGH of this MADNESS. EUROPE is a WHITE CONTINENT.
avatar
Turkey can geographically be part of Europe but surely the Turkish culture has never been and will never be similar to the European one! I totally agree with JPO and share his concerns on the matter.
avatar
I suppose if Vietnam wishes to join the EU we will support them also. Turkey will be be largest country in the EU therefore qualifying for the largest number of MEPs! Why does not Malta voice its opinion regarding the suppression of the large Kurdish minority in Turkey. Turkey is not only Istanbul but also the regions in the South East whch are still in the 19th century. Do we need to add more problems to the EU? Anyway as long as Sarkozy opposes Turkish EU membership nothing will happen!
avatar
Ejja ma nkunux razzisti u fundamentalisti u nirragunaw minghajr passjoni.
avatar
We won the assedju, but they will overwhelmingly win the EU subsidies war.
avatar
So we are being led to discuss something which may actually need a decision in not so near future - possibly well after the general elections - and meanwhile try to make us forget the problems nearer home.
avatar
Partit tal Mickey-Mouse. A member of the governing party is voicing his disagreement with Malta's (and that of his party's government) position concerning an important international issue - ON FACEBOOK !? JPO had his chance to vote against the government. He didn't. It is dishonest to then start mouthing off on every other issue against his own government.
avatar
Partit tal Mickey-Mouse. A member of the governing party is voicing his disagreement with Malta's (and that pf his party's government) position concerning an important international issue - ON FACEBOOK !? JPO had his chance to vote against the government. He didn't. It is dishonest to then start mouthing off on every other issue against his own government.
avatar
How can the Maltese Government support Turkey's application to join EU. I am sure European Citizens do not want countries like Turkey to join. The European Union blantantly told Turkey to introduce measures for better Human Rights (apart from better gay rights), and this is only just one of them - what about Turkey dividing Cyprus into two parts with the northern part not being able to join the Southern part in EU. Dr. Tonio Borg are you forgetting all this. Malta should not support Turkey until concrete measures are taken to improve it's citizens rights.
avatar
Dear Malta Today, there are other news items to discuss, with regards to Malta's foreign relations. What about the PL's statement on North Korea.? "Labour leader Joseph Muscat has expressed his will “to work hard to expand the friendly relations between the Malta Labour Party and the Workers' Party of Korea and between Malta and the DPRK in the political, economic, cultural and other fields,” according to the Korean news agency KCNA."
avatar
DAQSHEKK NICCELEBRAWH L ASSEDJU IL KBIR. WELLCOME DRAGUT,PIALI,U MA NAFX MIN. HALLINA gonzipn
avatar
Daqqa ta' sejf iehor ghal gonzipn - u r-rewwixta kontrih minn shabu stess tkompli ghaddejja!!!! Imma possibbli ma jindunax kemm qed icekknuh shabu stess mal-poplu Malti ...... Imma skuzawni ftit tafux .... ghax kont insejt ..... jekk shabu stess qed iduru kontrih, dan kollu htija ta' joseph muscat u tal-partit laburista ... ghandu ragun gonzipn ... dan kollu tort ta' joseph muscat u ta' hadd aktar .... skuzani gonzipn ... skuzani buzupn ....
avatar
Turkeya muslim country will be the largest member of the EU. It will have the largest number of MPs in the union. Just think about it.
avatar
I agree with JPO - if Turkey joins EU, mela allura the EU population will be iktar muslims milli Christians, ghas semplici raguni li t-Turkija pajjiz kbir, b'miljuni ta nies musulmani. Haga ohra hi li l-kultura tat-Turkija hija differenti hafna hafna min dik Ewropeja u wkoll l-ghaliex it-Turkija tmiss ma 5 other muslim countries, li dawn il-hin kollu jbidlu l-passports, u ma hemm osservazzjoni u ligijiet ta xejn, like: Syria, u allura once li dawn jaqsmu l border ghal gat-Tunezija, mela allura dawn saru Ewropej ! Meta fil-fatt ikunu slavagg Syrijani, li qed joqtlu lil huthom stess fl-istess pajjiz. No, I dont think Malta should appog Turkish in joinin the EU.
avatar
Alla jbierek pajjiz kbar bhal Franza u l-Germanja ma jridux li t-Turkija tkun membru u ahan nbaxxu rasna u nghidulhom iva. Ma nisnsewx li dak pajjiz ta' miljuni kbar li hafna minnhom iridu jitilqu minn hemm u jmorru f'pajjiz iehor u hawn ha jigu zgur u forsi l-ftit opportunitajiet ta' xoghol li hawn ghalina l-Maltin se jinbelghu minn dawn in-nies. Kif qal tajjb GPO dan il-Gvern m'ghandux mandatt mill-poplu biex jaghmel dan l-pass u issa lejliet elezzjoni dan il-gvern irid ihalli t-triq miftuha ghal gvern gdid ikun min ikun. Imma dan il-Gvern nizzel rasu gor-ramel u la jrid jisma u l-inqas jara xejn ghar dak li tghid rasu. Pero' zmien il-hlas wasal u qieghed fuq l-ghatba tal-bieb biex ahna naghtu dak il-vot lil min veru jixraqlu.
avatar
Tonio Borg is definitely not speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the Maltese people,when he said that there is no reason to oppose Turkey's membership of the EU. As JPO rightly said, GonziPN has no mandate to support Turkey's membership of the EU. If Tonio Borg and Lawrence Gonzi truly want to listen to what the people have to say - as they again recently promised, after GonziPN's debacle in the local councils election - let them consult the people in a referendum.And give their supporters a truly free vote , not as they did during the divorce referendum. Tonio and Lawrence will then have a very clear idea of what the people want, and expect them to do ! Eddy Privitera
avatar
Hats off to Dr. JPO for calling a spade, a spade ! Especially we in Malta, burdend as we already are with illegal immigrants, haw will we be able to cope with many more thousands of LEGAL immigrants coming from Turkey ???? Dr. Gonzi - nor any other politician - has no right to offer support for EU membership to Turkey. Nor should we support EU membership for Albania in my opinion. We will only be asking for many more problems, particularly for security reasons. On EU membership for these two countries, at least, let us have a referendum since their entry would definitely impact the lives and jobs of Maltese and Gozitan citizens ! Thanks Jeofrrey for speaking up for the vast majority of the Maltese people ! By the way, let us not have the usual accusations of "racism". This issue has nothing to do with racism. It is simply the interest of Malta and its people that is at stake ! Eddy Privitera
avatar
Il-wahdanin li jridu li t-Turkija tissieheb mal UE huma l-USA biex idghajfu l-UE halli qatt ma tifqilhom. Min jifli sew il-grajjiet jaghraf li l-kewn u l-ghanijiet Torok m'humiex bhal ta' l-UE. Barra l-fatt li inqas minn 5% tal-art Torka tinsab fl-Ewropa. Malli jdahhluha fil-UE, l-USA tibda timbotta biex idahhlu lill-Izrajel ukoll. Is-sehem taghhom fil-Eurovision x'tahseb li kienet ir-raguni ghalih? Sintendi, hemm il-pupazzi pappagalli li jtennu kull ma jghidilhom haddiehor, bhall-gvern taghna
avatar
Dr JPO now knows that we have to be choosy whom to entertain as new members to join the EU. Turkey should never be allowed to join on humanitarian reasons. We do not need Turkey, nor the developed countries in the EU. Turkey will be a burden on us as Greece is. Turkey has different culture and its true very poor. We have already Rumanians and Bulgarians most of them are pick pocketers and gypsy thieves, This Gonzi is now gone haywire, he should be replaced immediately, every day , every minute he comes out with hodge potch
avatar
Luke Camilleri
Skalda ohra ghal Prim Gonzi.... din id-darba fejn?
avatar
I shiver to think that there may be more policitians with the scruples of Pullicino Orlando. His campaign for divorce was tainted with a personal and therefore selfish interest in the matter and his towing of refugees back to international waters adds a more macabre touch to his personality. Agree that the issue with Turkey's accession to the EU has to well thought out and discussed with other EU members who are going to be more directly effected by this developement. On the other hand JPO methods on how to solve problems involving human destinies and lives are nothing short of shocking, extremism in it's ugliest form.

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe