‘People want EU to fight corruption’, Busuttil tells European leaders

Simon Busuttil warns populism is EU’s greatest threat: ‘They only care about people’s votes’  

Simon Busuttil meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Simon Busuttil meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil once again urged the European Union to clamp down on corruption in member states, claiming that European citizens are crying out for it to take a more active role.

Addressing popular and conservative leaders who are in Malta for the European People’s Party congress, Busuttil said that the EU must start listening to its people if it is to defeat the rising threat of populist parties.

Unlike in his speech on Friday, the PN leader didn’t once mention the state of corruption in Malta or even the Panama Papers. Instead, he recounted how hundreds of thousands of Romanians took to the streets last month during widespread national protests against corruption.

“The people at those protests were waving EU flags, because they were expecting the EU to defend their right to good governance and the rule of law.”

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who had supported the protestors, was present at the EPP Congress at the Intercontinental Hotel and had earlier delivered a speech himself.

Busuttil warned that the rise of populism is the EU’s greatest challenge, and said this reached a peak when the UK voted to leave the union last year.

“Populists are those people who turn the truth on its head, who always say what the people want to hear, even if that means saying one thing to one group of people and the complete opposite to another,” he said. “They are people who promise everything to everyone, who speak about problems but don’t offer solutions. They don’t care about what they want to do for the people, but about how many votes they can win from them.” 

He said that the EPP has a track record of offering concrete solutions, and that many people are now turning to populist parties, because they feel that EPP parties aren’t listening to their concerns enough.

“The people are telling us that they want the EU to fight and defeat terrorism, and that they want to live in security,” he said. “The people are telling us that they want more Europe when it comes to tackling the challenges of immigration and that they were disappointed when the EU wasn’t there for them in their time of need.”

At the end of his speech, Busuttil backtracked from his earlier confident claims that the PN will definitely win the upcoming election.

“I will do by best to deliver the next EPP government of the EU and the government that the people of Malta truly deserve,” he said. “And you can rest assured that I will leave no stone unturned to get the job done.”