The prime minister this evening called for national unity so that Malta could achieve its full potential.

Speaking at the foot of the Freedom Monument in Vittoriosa in a Labour Party Freedom Day commemoration, Dr Muscat said much had been achieved and this country was becoming the envy of the world, but this was only half of its potential, and much more could be achieved with unity.

He said Malta had achieved its freedom thanks to the love for the country shown by leaders such as Dom Mintoff and George Borg Olivier. More could be achieved with unity, freedom and equality for all.

After highlighting achievements such as the introduction of civil unions, high quality health and education services, record job creation and free childcare services, Dr Muscat recalled an article by Dom Mintoff in the Daily Malta Chronicle on December 10, 1938, some 20 years before he became prime minister.

In it, Mr Mintoff said Malta had a desperate need for people with fresh ideas, who, instead of  global fascist degeneration, could bring about progressive and liberal elements and change the medieval social system into something which was the envy of the world.

At the time, Dr Muscat said, no one dared imagine that Malta could be independent and free, let alone that it could be the envy of the world.

Yet 80 years on, this dream was being realised.

This was a government that was ushering in a new fantastic reality where this tiny country had the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, and, for the first time in a  generation, it had achieved a financial surplus.

But, Dr Muscat said, was was only the beginning of a new road where much more could be achieved.

"What we have achieved so far is only a realisation of half of our potential, but what we can actually achieve has no limit. We can achieve much more with unity," Dr Muscat said, mentioning the need to raise the minimum wage, eradicate poverty where it still existed, and further improve civil rights.

Dr Muscat then kindled the freedom flame and, with Mrs Muscat, laid flowers on the monument, which recalls the closure of the British military base 38 years ago. He was followed by ministers and officials of the Labour Party.