I will not dare comment on the state of the PN but we need an opposition, Muscat says

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the recent recommendations of the European Commission on Malta's tax system were made to other countries, all of which reacted in the same way

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Cool and composed Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that he would not comment on the current state of the Nationalist Party but stated that an Opposition was very much needed.

In the wake of two record-breaking wins in the MEP and local council elections, Muscat said that the last thing the PN would want to hear is personal advice from him.

"I will not dare to comment on the current state of the PN," he said, but still added that "for the sake of our country, we need an opposition, a uniform opposition that provides an alternative direction.

"If you don't look beyond your nose, it's good for the government that the opposition is in a shambles, but in the long-term, it's not a good thing," he said in a pre-recorded telephone interview with ONE radio.

Muscat said that with regards to certain constitutional changes, the government needed to work hand-in-hand with the opposition and mentioned the parliamentary gender quota as an example.

He argued that the government needed to know the opposition's stance on this issue if it hoped to design a system that appeals to all.

"The government works as a team, and after the MEP and local council wins, we are more enthusiastic than ever before. The second legislature with me as Prime Minister passed like a flash of lightning, which means that we were all occupied and working hard," he said.

When asked about the European Commission's recent recommendations on Malta's tax system, Muscat said that during Malta's accession to the European Union, the Commission had screened the country's laws and approved the tax planning.

"If it was OK then, why is it not OK now? There were laws that the Commission said we needed to work on before Malta's accession to the EU, but its tax system was not one of them," he said.

He added that the Commission hadn't just zeroed in on Malta with regards to these recommendations and that similar directions were given to countries like Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Cyprus, all of which reacted in the same way that Malta did.

"These are not binding recommendations. There are some which the government embraces and works on and there are others which are not necessarily correct and one can counter them until the Commission understands," Muscat said.

The Prime Minister said that the country needed to keep moving forward with regard to growing the economy so that it could provide for people's aspirations.

"The increase in the economy is thanks to multiple sectors and is not the responsibility of a single industry. This means that our economy is more resilient, because if there's a problem in one sector, our finances will still be safe," he said.