Muscat: V18 turnout is sign of national pride

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the public was satisfied with V18 opening activities and that the organisers deserved praise – but what stood out the most was the sense of national pride

It is a sign of national pride that thousands of people attended the opening events of V18, despite the fact that it was a “logistical nightmare to walk from one square to the other”, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

“Families with pushchairs and the elderly” came to Valletta yesterday despite knowing that traveling would be an issue, he said.

This is a sign that national pride is making a comeback and is as strong as ever. “There was a time when we started to doubt ourselves, and thought that others are better than us,”

But now, he said that there is pride and unity among the Maltese people.

Referring to the agreement reached with Air Malta last week, Muscat said that he didn’t mince his words. “As soon as the decision needed to be taken, and as soon as we showed clearly that the decision was guided with a vision for the future – there was unity,”

“The crisis was one of the most important ones in our economy, and it was solved due to goodwill and common sense – but mostly due to the fact that we believe in our country.”

The government, he said, recognised that the pilots were concerned about their future and the future of the company, and that this is the reason that the agreement was reached. “Because this country is bigger than the number of people that live here. It’s a small country but a big nation, with a sense of national pride.”

Speaking at a political activity in Tarxien, Muscat stressed the importance of thinking of the future. “We are making progress, not only with words but with facts, and we are changing the face of our country,” he said, explaining that since the country does not have any natural resources and depends on the service and tourism industry, keeping sustainability in mind is key.

“In just a few years, we changed the direction in terms of sustainability of this country,” he said, adding that the country was previously spending more money than it was making.

Muscat said that to him it is crucial that the budget is at least balanced, and that a situation in which medicine is out of stock because of lack of money does not happen again.

The mindset of society is changing for the better, he said, as it is thinking of the future. “We are not just looking at how to fix things of the past, but also ensuring that future generations don’t have to fix our problems. This is what gives us national pride.”

There will always be those who disagree and those who are negative, Muscat said, adding that members of the Opposition themselves are now tired of the party’s negativity. “To those, I say: ‘welcome to the club’”.

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