Former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici insisted today that Malta should leave the EU and the Partnership for Peace and continue to be neutral and non-aligned as laid down in the Constitution.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Dr Mifsud Bonnici, who is leader of the Campaign for National Independence (CNI), said that the EU was developing into a military superpower and its common foreign and security policy violated the Maltese constitutional provisions on neutrality and non-alignment.

He said that other countries were seeing Malta as being an ally of the UK, France and Germany, among others, making it "a magnet for terror attacks."

"Why do we expose ourselves to such risks?" the former premier asked.

"On all counts, it does not suit Malta to be part of the EU, even in financial terms," Dr Mifsud Bonnici said. He said that Malta had this year to contribute €66.5 million to the EU.

"This means that every citizen of Malta is subsidising the Europen Uniont to the tune of €221 this year," Dr Mifsud Bonnici said.

In the first seven years of membership, Malta would have contributed €376 million to the EU, apart from indirect costs incurred by Malta to align itself to EU regulations," Dr Mifsud Bonnici said. He insisted that as a result, Malta was contributing more than it received from the EU.

Dr Mifsud Bonnici hit out at Malta's participation in Partnership for Peace and the Somalia mission. He criticised the new AFM commander, Brig Martin Xuereb, for having boasted that Malta had been participating in PfP meetings since 1996.

"Has anyone in Parliament ever asked if Malta should be linked in any way to such operations?" Dr Mifsud Bonnici asked.

He said that the current impasse with Libya on the granting of visas also showed how Malta should not be part of the EU's Schengen arrangement, because what happened in Malta was being dictated to by other countries.

"Malta has become a slave of the EU and Schengen," Dr Mifsud Bonnici said.

Malta, he said, was losing business because its people could not go to Libya.

Dr Mifsud Bonnici said the CNI would participate in next Sunday's tariffs protest because the EU had forced the government to withdraw subsidies for such essential services, and costs had therefore gone up for consumers. He e said that once the subsidies, paid for by taxpayers, were no longer being given, taxes should be reduced by an equivalent amount.

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