Stop badmouthing Malta, Joseph Muscat tells Simon Busuttil

Stop badmouthing Malta, Joseph Muscat tells Simon Busuttil

The Opposition leader should stop badmouthing Malta if he really wanted to work with the government in the wake of the Brexit vote, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

He was reacting days after Simon Busuttil extended a “hand of cooperation” to the government to help navigate Britain’s departure from the EU

Addressing this offer during a political activity, Dr Muscat said if the Opposition leader wants to help then he should stop speaking against Malta at every opportunity he gets.

He blasted Dr Busuttil for being part of a political elite that did not understand the issues affecting people’s daily lives. Yesterday, Dr Busuttil accused the prime minister of echoing EU-sceptic Nigel Farage in his comments after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Dr Muscat pledged that the government and Labour movement would never allow themselves to become part of “the establishment”.

Acknowledging his role as an anti-EU campaigner prior to Malta’s accession in 2004, Dr Muscat said people had moved on and chose the Labour Party in every national election bar one.

Being a good European did not mean that one accepted everything the EU tried to impose, Dr Muscat said.

He accused Dr Busuttil of being a “yes man” when it came to dealing with the EU.

Malta is not looking for the spoils of war

The Prime Minister said Malta was not looking for the “spoils of war” following the Brexit vote.

Rather, the government was  willing to assist companies interested in using Malta as a gateway to the EU, Dr Muscat said.

Drawing an analogy with the European football championships, Dr Muscat said that while Malta might not be able to compete at that level, the country was doing better than even Germany when it comes to battling unemployment, for example.

“This little island with limited resources is showing the rest of the EU how a stagnant economy has been turned around… This movement means work for everybody,” Dr Muscat said.

He said unemployment rates were at a historic low and youth unemployment was the lowest in the EU.

Petrol and diesel prices would remain stable until September and electricity bills would remain 25 per cent lower than before as long as Labour was in government, Dr Muscat pledged.

On the granting of a license to the American University of Malta by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), Dr Muscat said it was an independent process with no government interference.

He deplored the Opposition leader for hitting out at NCFHE chairman Martin Scicluna merely because he took a decision.

In a reply, the PN said it criticised Dr Muscat because it loved Malta and did not want to allow its name to be tainted as it had been tainted by Dr Muscat with the Panama scandal involving his chief of staff and a minister.

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