[WATCH] MEP candidates: Delia’s trust deficit, Labour’s stained record, and Brussels ‘betrayals’

Nationalist and Labour candidates in the ring: Roselyn Borg Knight and Dione Borg, and Josianne Cutajar and Cyrus Engerer

L-R: Cyrus Engerer, Roselyn Borg Knight, presenter Saviour Balzan, Dione Borg, and Josianne Cutajar
L-R: Cyrus Engerer, Roselyn Borg Knight, presenter Saviour Balzan, Dione Borg, and Josianne Cutajar

An encounter of four MEP candidates from the Labour and Nationalist Party made for the usual thrust-and-parry of noisy ‘debates’, with interruptions preventing speakers from presenting their arguments.

It was PN candidate Roselyn Borg Knight, the international secretary of the PN, who struck a more authentic note by not shying away from speaking of PN leader Adrian Delia’s problems in the polls.

The PN leader is facing low trust levels that suggest a clear division between two factions inside the PN since taking over.

Roselyn Borg Knight
Roselyn Borg Knight

“I work closely with Adrian Delia and I can say that he works tirelessly to be close to people. He hardly gets enough sleep in his determination to meet people. And he is right now the one person standing between the free-fall from this government, and the Maltese people,” Borg Knight said.

The MaltaToday polls are also suggesting that despite Labour’s expected success at the European elections, with four seats out of six project, the party might suffer some abstention from loyal voters.

But Labour candidate Cyrus Engerer set aside such concerns – in a brief reference to hunters and trappers angered by a moratorium on turtle dove – by paying tribute to the government’s record. “You are bound to have voters being serene enough not to vote when you have the largest growing economy and lowest unemployment rate in Europe… in 2013 there was a total will for change. What voters tell me now is that they want Joseph Muscat to stay after the next general elections, and are criticising the PN MEPs who have sold Malta out in Europe.”

Cyrus Engerer
Cyrus Engerer

Interjecting, PN candidate Dione Borg said Labour had found the secure foundations of a PN-led economy in 2013 that allowed to “build upon the niches created by the hard work of previous PN governments.”

But Borg said that while Labour had shown itself adept at steering the economy without any shocks to the system, he lambasted claims by Labour MEPs and candidates that Malta had been given a bad name inside the Brussels parliament.

“Whose is this Malta you speak about? Is it the Malta of the corrupt minister who opened an offshore company in Panama? The Malta of those companies benefiting indiscriminately from government largesse? Every international watchdog – GRECO, the Venice Commission, you name it – has revealed what Malta is today and it has humiliated us the world over,” Borg said.

Dione Borg
Dione Borg

On her part, Labour candidate Josianne Cutajar defended Labour’s unorthodox motion to rope in the PN inside parliament to support the Gozo tunnel, in a move that could undermine the PN’s chances of capitalising on any opposition to the tunnel before the elections. “We get criticised if we don’t consult enough. Why should we be criticised for taking this project to consultation – after all the Gozo tunnel was supported in both party manifestos,” Cutajar said.

Josianne Cutajar
Josianne Cutajar

Borg Knight added that it was also clear that voters were concerned that young people are finding it difficult to enter the property market, and claimed that people were also fearful of associating themselves with the PN, suggesting some form of social reprisal.

Borg Knight also said that migration to Malta had to be reined in through some form of planning that attracts migrants whose skills were needed. On his part Dione Borg added that low-skilled workers had out-priced workers and raised rental prices.

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