The Opposition is hoping that the government will back a climate change motion and declare an emergency in the best interest of future generations, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said on Saturday.
The vote on the Opposition’s climate change motion will be taken on Tuesday but when the matter was discussed in Parliament on Thursday, the government presented a counter-motion saying action had already been taken.
Dr Delia denounced the “aggressiveness” with which the government MPs attacked the motion and the Opposition MP “as if this was not a national issue”.
“The Mediterranean will be the second worst hit in the world as a result of climate change so we need to declare an emergency because laws need to be introduced and specific action taken.
"This has nothing to do with partisan politics. If there‘s an increase of two degrees Celsius it’s everyone’s children who will be affected. If our motion needs to change, we will change it, as long as the emergency is declared. I appeal to the government to work with us on this,” Dr Delia said.
In his interview, Dr Delia also touched upon the budget presented last Monday, saying it was not true that no new taxes were being introduced as this was being done in stealth. He mentioned as an example the scheme for tenants living in residential properties administered by the Joint Office to claim full ownership of their home by redeeming the dwelling's ground rent.
This, he said, carried an application fee of €1,000 which even though it not being called a tax, it was one.
He said food prices alone had increase by €4.50 on a basket of goods costing €150 so the €3.49 a week cost of living increase was certainly not enough and will not alleviate the difficulties people were facing to make ends meet.
There was no plan for education, no plan for new schools and no plan for educators in Malta not to remain among the worst paid in Europe. “Instead, Malta will continue placing children in containers,” he said.
The government also had no plan on the environment and there was no plan to claim back the hospitals given to Vitals who then sold them to Steward Healthcare for €2,000 million. He promised to continue the court case for these hospitals to be given back to the Maltese.
The budget mentioned nothing about attracting “proper universities” to the island and there was nothing mentioned on how Malta intended to introduce incentives to reduce the rate of early school-leavers.
“The underlying problem is the economic model the government chose to adopt and pursue, without creating new niche markets. With an average income of €950 a month and rent which is not cheaper than €650 a month, people cannot make ends meet,” he said.
Turning to the Constitutional case regarding the publication of the entire Egrant report and the insistence of three ministers not to testify in court, Dr Delia said that if they had nothing to hide they would testify and explain how they quoted excerpts from a report which was not in the public domain.
On migration, Dr Delia said that Europe needed to invest in Africa to stabilise the situations there rather than trying to solve the problem when they cross over to Europe. Malta cannot remain isolated in dealing with migration.
Moreover, the ad hoc resettlement system needs to be structures and more permanent and while NGOs needed to be helped, vessels which were suspected to be trafficking human beings needed to be scrutinised.