Economic growth is the government's socialist method — Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat urged labour supporters to shrug off a sense of complacency following favourable surveys vis-a-vis the upcoming MEP elections that were published on local newspapers on Sunday

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that economic growth was the matrix of all of the government's successes and that this was the root to the socialist measures of the current Labour movement.

"If there is no economic growth, we will never surmount social challenges and there can never be a sustainable form of social justice," Muscat said.

He was addressing a political activity at the Hamrun Local Council on Sunday.

Muscat ascribed the many successes of the labour administration to the ever-burgeoning economy—saying that this government could have increased taxes as previous Nationalist Party administrations did, but opted instead to entice several investments.

"In 2012, there were 12,000 people who lived on social assistance, on relief. Last December, this figure went down to 5,500. It means that these people have found a new source of income.

"Nowadays, there are no out-of-stock medicines. How did a PN government save money? By allowing medicine to be out of stock, increasing pressure on elderly's pensions," he said, adding that the current labour government could only guarantee that this would never happen because of the current economic growth.

Muscat mentioned how the government was the first to increase the minimum wage in 20 years and that new legislation would guarantee that anyone cannot remain at minimum-wage level of pay for more than one year.

"Isn't this a democratic socialist measure?" Muscat asked.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the construction industry, a lucrative sector, was not over-saturated and quoted a recent update to a KPMG and MDA study. The update concluded that the construction industry was not in a bubble and growing at a sustainable pace, with growth reflecting a significant demand.

'The Opposition's mask'

Muscat criticised the current PN MEPs following the publication of MEP surveys and barometers on several local newspapers.

"I have no problem seeing candidates from both parties being elected as long as they actually defend the rights of the Maltese people," he said. "What we don't want is people at an EU level speaking against their country for partisan aims. In the PN MEPs efforts to topple the Maltese government, they were actually damaging the country."

Muscat referred to German green MEP Sven Giegold's recent intervention where he suggested Article 7 be triggered for Malta. Article 7 would rescind some of a member state's rights (such as voting) if this member state be found in breach of the EU's values.

"The Nationalist Party was very quick to release a statement in response to the German MEPs statement, so quick in fact that it was released before the government had a chance to retort. They said, ostensibly, that they disagreed, that Article 7 should not be triggered.

"The German MEP didn't say anything different from the usual mantras of the PN MEPs. He made a logical conclusion when mentioning Article 7, in fact. But the opposition's mask fell away—if they truly believe what they have been saying, they would have reached the same conclusion that he has. Since they don't, it means that they themselves don't even believe what they say," Muscat said.

He also criticised certain barometers making the rounds on Sunday where the analyses suggested that Labour could possibly win five seats to the PN's one.

"That's ridiculous and laughable," Muscat said. "These are all meant to engender a sense of complacency. The surveys don't count for a single vote. Whoever tries to tell us that these upcoming MEP elections are a shoo-in for the Labour candidates is trying to trip us," he said, adding that labour supporters should remain focused and go out and vote on 25 May.