Malta's identity under pressure by foreign influx, Adrian Delia cautions

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia is preoccupied that Maltese children may not recognise their country in the future as a result of a changing social fabric brought about by a growing foreign population

PN leader Adrian Delia
PN leader Adrian Delia

Maltese identity and religion were on Adrian Delia’s mind this morning, as he cautioned about a future that could see Maltese children leave the country they no longer recognised as home.

The Nationalist Party leader’s reflection came at the end of a business breakfast organised by the party to mark Workers’ Day and to which key speakers were invited to share their thoughts.

Delia said it was important to question how the influx of foreign workers was impacting Malta’s social fabric.

“With 20% of births coming to mothers who are not Maltese, we have to understand how this will impact our identity, how we think, what we do,” Delia told his audience that had just heard how extraordinary economic growth created a demand for jobs that could not be met solely by the Maltese labour market.

Over the past few years the number of foreign workers has increased exponentially and now amount to more than the number of workers employed in the public sector.

Calling for long-term planning, Delia said this should not only be about the economy. “Any plan has to take into account whether we want to change into something else, transform and lose our identity,” Delia said.

He said that at current trends, until the next election the private sector workforce will be split down the middle between Maltese and foreign workers. “We have to start questioning what this means.”

Participants at the business breakfast included the social partners
Participants at the business breakfast included the social partners

Delia’s preoccupation with a growing foreign population has been a running theme since he took over the PN leadership last September, walking a fine line between far-right populist rhetoric and ordinary concerns expressed by people living in communities with a high concentration of foreigners. 

In a carefully worded speech, Delia chose to raise questions, without indicating how his concerns on identity and religion should be addressed.

“Let us be careful of creating a country where foreigners come here to work but our children choose to leave because it will become a Malta they do not recognise any longer,” Delia said.

He also expressed concern over an economy propped up by consumerism, which forced people to work longer to meet expectations.

Delia said higher economic growth was not being reflected enough in better incomes for families, with some having to resort to a second or third job to make ends meet.

He said the PN will continue to meet people and open its doors to discussion in a bid to craft out a vision for the country over the coming years.

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