Brexit would not stop Malta from progressing: Muscat

Brexit would not stop Malta from progressing: Muscat

The government was prepared for an eventual Brexit, the Prime Minister said. Photo: Reuters

The government was prepared for an eventual Brexit, the Prime Minister said. Photo: Reuters

The country will keep moving forward “regardless” of the Brexit vote decision this week, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

Speaking during a Labour Party activity in Sta Venera, Dr Muscat said that while Malta would stand to lose from the United Kingdom leaving the EU, the government had already set out a course of action for such an eventuality.

“We will not stand still, this country will continue moving forward,” he said, adding that next week the Cabinet would meet to discuss the way forward.

On Thursday British voters will decide, in a referendum, whether the UK is to remain an EU member or not.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Malta is among the countries that stand to lose the most from a potential Brexit.

Dr Muscat said that while Malta would in no way interfere with the UK’s decision process, the island could sympathise with having to weigh the pros and cons of membership. Malta, he said, had gone through a long national debate on the strengths and weaknesses of joining the EU prior to finally joining back in 2004.

Turning to the murder of British MP Jo Cox last week, Dr Muscat said political hatred and fear mongering had led to violence.

Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.

Those who spread hate in Malta should be exiled from the political class and could not be tolerated, Dr Muscat said.

The Labour Party leader then turned to the local political scene branding, once again, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil as “Mr Double Standards”.

Dr Muscat questioned how Dr Busuttil had allowed Victoria mayor Samuel Azzopardi to be reinstated after he was found guilty of drink-driving.

Insisting that he was not passing judgement on Mr Azzopardi, Dr Muscat recalled how Dr Busuttil had called for Justice Minister Owen Bonnici to resign after he was involved in a car accident back in 2014.

“He didn’t even wait for an inquiry to call for Dr Bonnici’s resignation. But then when faced with a case in which someone was found guilty, his position is suddenly different,” Dr Muscat said.

He then turned to PN MP Toni Bezzina. A court ruled that a 2012 newspaper report detailing how government resources were used by Mr Bezzina for partisan purposes was true.

The report had detailed how Mr Bezzina had ordered three government workers to carry out work at the PN club in Żurrieq using government-owned materials.

The report said the workers were then made to sign an affidavit saying the works were carried out voluntarily in their own personal time.

“Will Dr Busuttil be calling for a resignation here?” Dr Muscat asked.


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