Prime Minister Joseph Muscat strongly defended the citizenship scheme this morning, three days before the debate in the European Parliament on a non-binding resolution critical of Malta’s actions.

Dr Muscat told a political conference in Hamrun that the scheme would attract investors to Malta and yield a billion euro to the country, with no strings attached.

“If the government with just €55m could do so much in the last Budget, imagine what we could do with €1000 million,” Dr Muscat told his cheering supporters.

In 10 months and with €55m the governemnt had lifted the country back to its feet. Imagine the future when the funds from the scheme were invested in education, health, social services and innovation, he added.

This citizenship scheme, he said, reflected the government’s global vision in that it was attracting talent from across the globe.

He had no doubt, he said, that the people opposing the scheme were not being irked by issues of national identity, but their worry of what the government would do with the funds available to it.

The opposition he said, was being contradictory in its criticism. It said this was citizenship for the rich, but then said €650,000 was too low. It said Malta should not offer citizenship when the country was over-populated, and then it  criticised the governemnt for not making residence mandatory for applicants.

The forthcoming European debate would bring out the contrast between the Nationalist MEPs, whose achievement was of participating in a resolution against Malta, and the Labour MEPs for whom Malta came first and foremost (Malta l-ewwel u qabel kollox) Dr Muscat said, recalling Dom Mintoff’s rallying cry.

In the past, Dr Muscat said, Europe had also been critical of Malta when it introduced the minimum wage. Then it followed suit. The same would be happening in this case too.

On Wednesday and Thursday the European Parliament would give its opinion, but Malta would decide.

Turning to other sectors, Dr Muscat said the government would be unveiling its strategy to remedy the health sector, which had been found in a deplorable state. Tough decisions would have to be taken.

The same applied for the bus service. The government would prefer the sector to be operated by the private sector. Various possibilities existed, such as having a number of companies involved, all coordinated by a central authority.

The government would also ensure that the people again started to use the Park and Ride facility in Blata l-Bajda.

Dr Muscat said the governemnt would go ahead with legislation on civil partnerships.

It was true, he said, that there was opposition in some quarters but that did not mean not going ahead,.

In the 1970s, had opinion polls been held, one would have found strong opposition to civil marriage and decriminalisation of homosexuality, but Dom Mintoff  did not shirk from change, and neither would this government. This was a government that wanted equality and dignity for all.

Dr Muscat said former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and himself had been in complete agreement before the election that no one had a right to adopt, but everyone had to have a right to apply for adoption. The experts would then decide, not according to what suited the adoptive parents, but what suited the children.

In the past gay persons had been able to apply for adoption. Some gay people had been able to adopt.

His call, Dr Muscat said, was for the PN to go back to its former position.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.