President George Vella has reiterated his hope that an agreement could be reached among the various parties about the abortion debate.   

Speaking in a Republic Day activity in Gozo, the president did not directly refer to the bill before parliament, but he repeated an appeal he also made last week for agreement to be reached in the 'ongoing discussion in our country'.

He hoped that talks would yield a solution which addressed all the points being raised by the different stakeholders.

The bill will remove criminal liability from doctors and women when a pregnancy is terminated during a medical intervention to save the life or safeguard the health of the mother.

Times of Malta had reported that the president is considering stepping down unless the wording of the bill is amended.

A survey issued on Tuesday reported that almost 70% of Maltese adults oppose abortion when a woman's life is not at risk.

Gozo environment concern

The president also reiterated his concern about the erosion of Gozo's physical environment, saying the sister island risks losing a lot.

He was speaking at an event marking Republic Day.

“We must take care of Gozo’s charm, because if we lose it, much more can be lost,” Vella was quoted as saying in a statement by his office. 

He warned that the erosion of natural beauty could affect Gozo's tourism attractiveness. The quality of life also depended on the environment.

 In his address, the President spoke about hardship many are enduring in silence including abuses and domestic violence, addictions to alcohol, drugs, and gambling.

He also expressed concern about hate speech on social media, and physical or cyber bullying.

“None of us has a solution for all the things that I am mentioning, but we all have a responsibility and a role to play”, he said while appealing to the victims and their relatives to speak up and seek help.

The authorities, he said, must continue to do their best to ease such hardship by using all the means available to them. 

Integration of foreigners

President Vella insisted that everyone must enjoy social justice - Maltese, Gozitans, and foreigners, and he expressed concern that some still found it difficult  to implement the integration of foreigners.

“There should be no room for racist or xenophobic acts or words in our society and we need to educate ourselves, first and foremost”, the president insisted.

Appeal for unity in diversity

Vella also appealed for unity among the people despite their differences and divergences.

“Let us continue to look forward constructively and with both feet on the ground. Let us continue to pull on the same rope to strengthen common good and achieve lasting results, as one and united people,” he said.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us