EU legislation has a direct impact on our daily lives. This is why we need to invest all our capability into shaping European laws so that they reflect our needs.
Over the past months I have had the privilege of being your voice at the European Parliament. I held no less than 148 meetings in Malta and Gozo and 16 national conferences to ensure that my work reflects the aspirations of stakeholders. This is notwithstanding the short time I had to work and bring results and to safeguard the rights of people – the rights we cherish as Maltese and Europeans.
Over a period of less than two years I have worked to defend the right of Maltese workers not to be obliged to pay for mandatory training, supported the establishment of a European Labour Authority to safeguard the interests of many Maltese including young people working abroad, successfully campaigned for Maltese YouTubers to get paid like other YouTubers across the EU, ensured better value deals for consumers shopping online, supported SMEs through a new law that I negotiated which ensures fair competition, worked in favour of working environments free from cancer-causing substances, defended the right of citizens to be informed on issues which are of concern to them, strengthened whistle-blower legislation to support investigative journalism and protect citizens who disclose breaches of EU law, safeguarded jobs in the pharmaceutical, financial services and gaming sectors through lobbying and legal amendments that I pushed for in favour of the people of Malta, contributed in the EU’s strategy against forced marriages and defended life with a clear position against abortion.
I have also served at the co-chair of the EU diabetes working group through which role I voiced the challenges of people living with diabetes at a European level. I successfully campaigned for the introduction of a diabetes nurse in Gozo, the setting up of a parliamentary committee to discuss diabetes and for the government to pledge the introduction of continuous glucose monitors for children.
With your vote on May 25 you can send a clear message to the government that it must change its direction
When it comes to education, I emphasised the need of inclusivity and to leave no one behind. This is why I pushed for a European Dyslexia Charter and presented a series of proposals in Malta including the use of language technology to facilitate the work of educators and ensure the educational system does not fail students.
This is my track record, achieved in less than 20 months of work at the European Parliament, not to mention 382 amendments, including those within committees in which I was not serving as a member. One of these was the Committee for Agriculture, where I presented the views of Maltese stakeholders on the future of food and farming.
Labour’s baseless rhetoric of going to Brussels to harm Malta’s reputation instead of working for our interests needs no further counterarguments.
While being satisfied with what has been achieved, there is still much more that needs to be done. Citizens and businesses still face digital barriers that need to be addressed if we want to truly achieve a digital single market.
I want to tackle the challenges still faced by businesses, by cutting outdated laws and implementing policies that create a fair and competitive business environment, that facilitate digital transformation and boost innovation.
I also want the EU to play a bigger role in health issues. Over the past months I have held meetings with health professionals, patients, researchers and organisations and presented 30 proposals to step up the fight against cancer. Now I want to push these at a European level through a European master plan that has the backing of the EPP candidate for the president of the European Commission, Manfed Weber.
I intend to do more work in the culture sector to open up more opportunities for youths.
Last but not least, I am committed to safeguarding our values and upholding the principles of a free press, the rule of law, the right to be informed through quality journalism and the fight against fake news.
This is my pledge: to continue to use all my experience and remain honest towards the electorate; to work with utmost loyalty for the people of Malta and Gozo and be their voice at the European Parliament. The voice that you can rely on.
This is why I ask for another mandate.
More importantly, over the past six years we have witnessed the government taking over most of our institutions. Now it wants to take over a wider representation at the European Parliament. But with your vote on May 25 you can send a clear message to the government that it must change its direction.
This is why you need to cast your vote for all PN candidates. Giving a carte blanche to Joseph Muscat is not an option.
Francis Zammit Dimech is a PN MEP and candidate for the forthcoming European Parliament elections.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece