Over the last year-and-a-half I had the great honour to meet thousands of Maltese families and stakeholders, including the private sector, NGOs, and civil society in Malta and Gozo. This enabled me to truly understand what the Maltese and Gozitans aspire to, and their dreams for the future.
Today the great majority of Maltese agree with, and take for granted, that Malta forms part of the European Union (EU). We must recall that EU membership only became a reality thanks to the vision the Nationalist Party. Today the majority of the Maltese population reap the benefits of this vision.
These benefits include, among many others: the freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; access to the European health services; funded opportunities for young people to study or work abroad; cross-border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; improved consumer protection and food billing; cheaper mobile charges; and cleaner air.
If elected to the European Parliament this Saturday, I will immediately commence working with European People’s Party (EPP) colleagues, as well as other political groupings, to ensure results. By standing together European Parliamentarians can accomplish great results.
Through its candidate to be president of the European Commission, Manfred Weber, the EPP plans to bring people together for a strong, democratic and secure Europe. I will work for a Europe that cares because when societies are engaged, no one is left behind.
Members of the European Parliament have the power to approve, amend or reject nearly all EU legislation. They are empowered to hold the European Commission to account and can force it to resign. Furthermore, they decide on the EU budget and influence how EU money is spent.
Our identity comprising Malta’s religious values and traditions needs to be protected. When the EU Commission applies directives, we have to make sure they respect Malta’s identity as well as the identity and differences of other EU member states. These differences enrich Europe.
I commit to assist Maltese farmers, breeders and fishermen to benefit more from EU funds especially from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development programme and ensure we do not become totally dependent on imported food.
Another measure will be to promote the registration of Maltese products (like ġbejniet) under an EU scheme of geographical indications and traditional species known as protected designation of origin (PDO). All Maltese youth should be given the possibility to participate in Erasmus+ for work traineeships and overseas experiences. Our youth needs to be empowered to compete locally and at a European level.
If there is one issue that can negatively affect Malta over the next few years it is the Socialist tax harmonisation proposal
At a European level, my priorities will be the ones that mostly benefit Malta. With EPP colleagues, I will strive to have a Strong Europe by establishing:
- 10,000 European border guards by 2022. This will enable Europe to protect its border and stop illegal migration.
- A new rule of law mechanism to defend our democracy, independence of judiciary and freedom of press in Europe by establishing a new mechanism.
- A European master plan to join our forces in the fight against cancer.
- Five million new jobs for our youths to create a Europe where no one is forced to leave their home for economic reasons.
A kind Europe with a society that cares through:
- An ambitious fight on climate change and a global ban on single-use plastic, to prevent our planet from becoming the biggest garbage dump in the universe.
- Home-building loans to enable young families to build their own homes.
- A global ban on child labour.
If there is one issue that can negatively affect Malta over the next few years it is the socialist tax harmonisation proposal. The lead Socialists and Democrats (S&D) candidate for the post of European Commission president has reiterated over and over again that he aims to introduce a minimum corporate tax rate of 18 per cent across the EU.
This proposal will endanger investment and as many 35,000 jobs may be lost in Malta. Currently, foreign-owned companies in Malta can apply for refunds which can potentially reduce their tax burden to just five per cent. Voters have to choose between the PN, which is defending our system of taxation and which wants competition not uniformity in tax, and the PL and European Socialists, who want to introduce this system that will lead to an economic disaster in the Maltese Islands.
At my end I pledge to establish a cross party MEP group of like-minded MEPs from across Europe to create a united voice against tax harmonisation.
On Saturday you all have an opportunity to vote and express you opinion. Your vote will affect your future. Before voting, take a moment to stop and think what is better for you, your family and friends, as well as future generations, with an open mind. Be part of the change.
If you want to live in a society that cares while providing opportunities to one and all; that embraces new ideas and respects traditions; one that is pro-life, you may consider giving me your vote and I will be your voice in Europe and protect Malta’s interests.
I commit to be present in Malta and Gozo to ensure that the consultation process I began continues over the next five years and that your opinion is taken into consideration.
Frank Psaila is a Nationalist Party MEP candidate.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece
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