Bernard Grech has asked for an “urgent meeting” with the prime minister over Malta’s cash-for-passports scheme.

In an interview on NET TV, the PN leader said the scheme should be transformed into an instrument that benefits the country, without causing reputational damage.

On Wednesday, the European Commission again demanded that Malta put a halt to the scheme.

Grech said the Nationalist Party does not want the scheme to be exploited by people who do not form a genuine link with the country.

“Let us have a tool that is beneficial for the country and does not put us at loggerheads with the EU," Grech said.

He suggested that he and Abela meet to thrash out a common front on the scheme.

Election defeat

Grech said both he and the party had continued working “as normal” after the PN’s massive defeat at the polls last month.

The PN leader warned the party would not hesitate to “flex our muscles” against internal critics who were merely intent on causing harm through Facebook.

“It is very easy to criticise or attack on Facebook. Doing so will not change anything. There will be discipline where needed”, he said.

He promised that even people who failed to get elected would be given the opportunity to work for the good of the party and the country.

Grech said he had already had numerous conversations with candidates who were not elected.

“Anyone who wants to work to take the party forward, will be welcomed. People who want to damage the party, or go off in different directions, will not be welcomed”, Grech emphasised.

He said he was surprised by the number of people who had reached out to the party over the past few weeks, even after the election defeat.

Party renewal

He said the renewal process within the party was continuing and the process leading to a meeting of the general council, which is the PN’s highest organ, has kicked off.

He said the party had made advances during his first year-and-a-half at the helm. While they might not have shown up in the election result, the process of renewal was paying off, as evidenced by the many new faces forming part of the PN’s parliamentary group.

He said the new group was a mix of both experience and fresh faces and ideas.

Grech also had praise for candidate Janice Chetcuti, who announced she would not be contesting the casual election on the third district so as to allow other contenders to win a seat in parliament. She instead hopes to take up a seat in parliament via the gender mechanism.

The PN leader said Chetcuti’s move allowed the party to boost its representation on the third district up to three members.

“This will strengthen the PN’s presence in the south,” Grech said.

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