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SOUTHERN EU LEADERS DISCUSS UNITED POLICY FRONT IN MALTA

Leaders from the ‘EUMed7’ countries—Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain—were in Malta today for the sixth Southern EU Countries Summit hosted by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The half-day summit included a roundtable discussion on opportunities for the region, plus issues of common concern, from climate change to migration and the EU Budget.

The summit was attended by Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy; Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus; Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece;  António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal; and Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain.

The leaders agreed about the need of more comprehensive approach on the issue of migration; insisting on identifying channels for legal migration, better control of the European Union’s external borders, the need of a new reform and common European asylum system to guarantee a fair burdern sharing as a show of solidarity amongst member states, more efforts to fight the illegal traffickers of migrants, a properly financed common migration policy and a call for all vessels operating in the Mediterranean to respect the international laws.

During a joint press conference in Valletta, Giuseppe Conte, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appealed for more European economic growth, also through public investments instead of securing economic stability through austerity measures. He declared that Italy does not need to take corrective measures. The European Commission is ready to start an excessive deficit procedure against Italy, if  the Italian government does not take the necessary actions. The European Commission found that Italy’s debt stood at more than 132 per cent of GDP in 2018, far above the European Union’s 6o percent limit.

During the first session of the summit, the Prime Minister of Malta said “being an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, and a bridge between Europe and Africa, Malta has always been perfectly placed to act as an interlocutor for debate on regional issues”, while noting the aim was to coordinate ways to work together, recorded in the official declaration signed after the summit.

“The timing of this summit is also crucial”, the Maltese Prime Minister said as he opened the roundtable discussions, stating how those present needed to be part of the decisions being taken about the future of the EU. “The EU is expected to, and should, play a meaningful global role by stimulating stability and growth.”

Quoting the Mediterranean Chapter of the Helsinki Final Act signed in 1975, that ‘there can be no peace and stability in Europe, without security and stability in the Mediterranean’,  Prime Minister Muscat said this remains a priority for the EUMed7 alliance till this day, especially in a less stable world.

“Our work needs to be guided by a set of principles that will shape the future of Europe in the world. Principles which include putting the EU’s social agenda at the forefront of the region’s work, to further promote gender equality and LGBTIQ rights.”

He said economic growth, which leads to more and better jobs, must also be at the centre of the alliance’s policies. “Which is why our region needs to be at the forefront of innovation, a hotbed for the creation, development and roll-out of emerging citizen-centric technologies, designed to enhance socio-economic wellbeing.”

With this in mind, the Prime Minister announced a Summit follow up meeting—the Telecommunications Ministerial Conference—which will be held in Malta next year.

However, Prime Minister Muscat added that no amount of economic prosperity can be lasting without tackling the effects of accelerating climate change in the Mediterranean region. “We need to ensure we intensify our work on the EU’s climate strategy, mindful of regional specificities, to implement the objectives we all agreed to in the Paris Agreement.”

He said energy security is also a priority. “We need a well-connected Mediterranean region as a precondition for a fully functioning energy market aimed at sustainability, affordability, and security of supply.”

As is regional stability, with an unstable Libya being a direct threat. “Our call for ceasefire and the engagement with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities is a first step in the long process of rebuilding Libya.” He also commended the work of the Libyan Coast Guard, who had been effective in their work.

Stability in the rest of Africa is also crucial when it comes to migration issues. “Our geographical location makes us susceptible to persistent migratory pressures. Progress has been made only through the goodwill of a number of states willing to share the responsibility of this phenomenon.”

However, he added, “we need to look at a more permanent mechanism within the context of a fully functioning migration policy, based on a balance of responsibility and solidarity. Crucial in this regard is the need to ensure that all vessels operating in the Mediterranean respect the applicable international law.”

After signing the declaration, the leaders addressed the press before going to dinner to continue discussions privately.

(ITALPRES/MNA)


Source: medNews

MICHELIN'S STRATEGY FOR AFRICA

In a recent encounter with the press, Serge Lafon, executive vice-president for Africa, India, Middle East, China, Eastern Asia and Australia of Michelin, explained the approach that the company has adopted for the African continent.

With regards to Africa, Lafon mentioned that “segments are expanding fast so even our activity will increase, also through M&A activities. In the B2B we are developing solutions ourselves. If Europe is our home, Asia is the growing market and on top of that there is a strong industry network. In Africa, which in our structure is together with the Middle East, we have a development strategy based on clusters. One will include Morocco and Algeria. That portion of Africa is expanding in terms of infrastructure and industry and we will tackle that market. IN Eastern Africa, mainly Kenya and Tanzania, we will support the infrastructural and agricultural part. The biggest challenge in Africa is political stability, which is not granted, as well as safety. Of course, business also helps stability”.

 

With reference to the EU new Marshall plan for Africa to generate green investment in Africa, Borrut said that Michelin will contribute on two main areas. With regards to electric vehicles, it will be in the cities because the battery does not yet ensure long distances, for which Michelin will work on developing  hydrogen-based solutions.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

MALTA LOCAL ELECTIONS, CRUSHING DEFEAT FOR THE NATIONALIST PARTY

The Labour Party in Government won the local council elections by a majority of 47,116. While the Labour Party of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat obtained 150,514 votes or 57.96%; the Nationalist Party led by Adrian Delia obtained 103,398 or 39.82%. The other parties and independent candidates got 5,762 or 2.22% of the electorate.

459 councilors were elected in these elections; 268 on behalf of the Labour Party, 192 on the Nationalist ticket, two independent candidates and another two on behalf of Gharb First in Gozo.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Leader of the Labour Party in a tweet thanked all voters and candidates for the resounding 58% success in the local elections exceeding the europarliamentary elections result of last week. Muscat said he is thrilled at the resounding success of young, talented women elected on the Labour Party ticket.

This electoral defeat fueled more calls for the resignation of Adrain Delia from Leader of the Nationalist Party and for the resignation of the top officials.

After three days of counting, the Labour Party won the majority in 47 localities and the Nationalist Party obtained the majority in 19 localities including the old city of Mdina where no election took place because there were only 5 candidates contesting the election; the exact amount of candidates needed to form the new local council.

The Labour Party won the Mosta Local Council, Siggiewi, Valletta, St Paul’s Bay and San Gwann from the Nationalist Party. The Nationalist Party won the Munxar Local Council from the Labour Party.

273 780, or 63.1% voted in these elections from those who were registered to vote.There were 14,106 or 5.2% Invalid votes.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

LIBYAN PM AL-SARRAJ ASKED MALTA FOR HELP

The Libyan Prime Minister Fajez al-Sarraj paid an unexpected visit to Malta where he had a meeting with the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Both sides discussed the situation in Tripoli and the negative impact that the fighting is having on the Libyan people. This was the second visit of Fajez al-Sarraj this year after another visit to Malta last January.

Fajez al-Sarraj government is recognized by the United Nations.  During the discussions with the Maltese government, said he discussed the present situation in Libya, and expressed the hope that the Maltese Government assists him to overcome the challenges facing his country.

Prime Minister Muscat said that the Maltese Government considers the Libyan people as a friend and promised that the government will always be there to assist the Libyan people.  Muscat confirmed his willingness to discuss ways the Maltese Government can help to restore peace and prosperity in Libya.

The President of Malta George Vella has already expressed his grave concern at the unfolding situation in Libya. Last April, few days after he took office, Vella said the situation in Libya shows the hypocrisy of the international community for not taking a decisive action as fighting engulfs Libya. While he referred to the high number of casualties, Vella appealed to a political solution in order to safeguard the best interest of the Libyan people and to avoid a human disaster.

General commander Khalifa Haftar who leads the Libyan National Army, based in Eastern Libya is refusing to stop military attacks on Tripoli and is accused by the United Nations of looking to divide Libya. The attacks on Tripoli began in April and General Haftar is looking to gain control of the Libyan capital. By now, it is estimated that over 500 people and 75,000 civilians fled their homes because of the fighting.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MALTA: EP ELECTIONS, A RECORD VICTORY FOR LABOUR PARTY

The final result of Malta’s fourth European elections confirms a landslide victory for the Labour Party of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with an absolute majority of 55.9 percent; around 50,000 votes more than the Nationalist Party led by Adrian Delia.

This result guarantees four seats for the Labour Party in the European Parliament while the Nationalist Opposition has lost one seat as predicted in the latest opinion polls published before Saturday’s election. As the smallest member nation of the European Union, Malta is allocated six Euro-parliamentarians. Miriam Dalli, Alfred Sant, Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba were elected for the Labour Party. It is the first time for Cutajar and Agius Saliba to be elected. Roberta Metsola and David Casa secured their parliamentary seats for the Nationalist Party.

The small parties mainly of far-right ideology registered an impressive support in these elections with 8 percent of the vote. Migration was high on the national agenda during the electoral campaign.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed a large crowd of party supporters gathered in front of the Labour Party Headquarters in Hamrun. He said that this is the moment for national unity. While congratulating the four Labour MEPs, he also appealed to the two elected Nationalist Euro-parliamentarians to be ready to work hard together in favour of Malta and Europe.

The Maltese Prime Minister said that this electoral result, the largest in the country’s political history, casts a much greater responsibility on his government and to remain close to the people.

In a televised addressed on the Nationalist Party station, the Leader of the Opposition accepted the defeat and made it clear that he has no intention of resigning. Adrian Delia made it clear that his target is the 2022 general election. He said that the party will continue to work hard to understand and explore ways why this happened. “We want to be better than ever, we want to see more new faces of people who believe in our vision,” stressed Delia. He concluded by saying that the process has already started and the Nationalist Party can never lose heart.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

EU, A RECORD VICTORY FOR LABOUR PARTY IN MALTA

Sources close to the Labour Party led by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat are claiming a record victory of over 50,000 votes in the European Parliamentary elections.

Official statistics issued by the Electoral Commission, show that the poorest turnouts were in the Nationalist Party strongholds. The turnout of yesterday’s European election is 70.1 per cent, four per cent less than five years ago.

332,888 people were eligible to vote in yesterday’s European election contested by 41 candidates, mostly on the Labour and the Nationalist tickets. In a tweet late last night, Joseph Muscat thanked all those who voted and participated in the European and Local Councils elections. He also the thanked all Labour candidates and volunteers for their tireless work.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, VOTING UNDERWAY IN MALTA

Just over 332,000 Maltese are eligible to vote in today’s election for the European Parliament. Six representatives must be elected from a total of 41 candidates, the largest number of candidates ever contested for the European Parliament elections in Malta. The Labour Party in Government is expected to win with a sound majority and elect four out of six European Parliamentary seats allocated to Malta. 

The Labour Party has 14 candidates, there are 10 candidates on the Nationalist Party ticket, the Democratic Party is contesting with 4 candidates. The Green Party (Alternattiva Demokratika), the Alliance for Change (Alleanza Bidla) and the Maltese Patriotic Movement (Moviment Patrijotti Maltin) have two candidates each. There are seven more representing other small parties or contesting as independent candidates.

Today, the Maltese are also voting to elect new administrations in 68 Local Councils.  341,000 are eligible to vote in the local elections.

This is the first time in which 16 year olds are taking part in a nationwide election. All polling stations opened at 7am and will remain open until 10pm. The vote counting will start on Sunday morning and an electronic vote counting system will give an early indication of which political party gained the most votes.

Citizens from member states who reside in Malta and registered with the Electoral Commission can also vote for Maltese candidates contesting the European elections. There are 18,375 who can do so, mostly British with just over 6,000. After the British, the largest amount of foreigners who chose to vote in Malta, are the Italians with more than 4,000; followed by Bulgarians, Germans and Romanians. Only one national from Luxembourg who resides in Malta registered to vote here.

Considered among the largest democratic exercises in the world, the European Parliament elections take place in 28 member states of the European Union on various dates between Thursday and Sunday. Like Malta, today voting is underway in three other countries: Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The majority of countries vote tomorrow. A total of 751 Europarliamentarians are to be elected. More than 400 million people are eligible to vote.

The last polling stations close at 11pm tomorrow in Italy. In Malta, the Electoral Commission estimates that up to that time the whole counting process will be concluded and will be able to announce the official result.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

POLITICAL PARTIES IN MALTA HOLD FINAL RALLIES AHEAD OF VOTE

The electoral campaign in Malta for the European Parliament and local councils elections came to an end at midnight last night ahead of tomorrow’s voting. The two main political parties, the Labour Party in government and the Opposition Nationalist Party rallied their supporters to put their last political message across the country and to gather voter’s support.

According to the latest statistics issued by the Electoral Commission, there was an increase in those eligible to vote and did not collect their voting document. Thus, it is expected a less turnout for both the European Parliament and local councils elections when compared to the previous election. However, this will not change the outcome of the results, as the Labour Party is still the favourite to net close to 55 percent of the votes in the European elections. It is unlikely for the  Nationalist Party to keep the third MEP from a total of six seats allocated to Malta.

The Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia addressed a rally on the last day of the electoral campaign with the slogan ‘Together For Our Country’ in front of the Nationalist Party Headquarters in ?amrun. He said that whatever the outcome of the European and Local Council elections, the Nationalist Party is already committed to work harder and be closer to families and the vulnerable who were not benefiting from the economic wealth Malta is registering. “Our journey starts on Monday whatever the people’s verdict is. From Monday my colleagues and I will work harder to earn the respect of voters.” 

Adrian Delia appealed to the Maltese electorate to vote to all Nationalists candidates as a sign of disapproval with the way the Labour Party is governing the country. He referred to various national and international damning reports conducted by local and European institutions condemning the Labour Party in government on corruption, the rule of law and the take over of Maltese institutions. The Leader of the Opposition also said that a vote for the Labour Party would mean a vote to the Socialists in the European Parliament who are proposing the introduction of tax harmonization and the right to abortion.

Addressing a large crowd in Vittoriosa, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke about how Malta has made great changes over the last six years of Labour government and therefore the judgment on election day is clear; a choice between Muscat and Adrian Delia.

Joseph Muscat mentioned various initiatives taken by his government including the reduction in electricity and water bills, the reduction in taxes, the reduction in poverty and an increase in pensions and the minimum wage. This along with a record number of unemployment and a record of people engaged in the labour market.

The Maltese Prime Minister spoke about a number of other challenges including better work and equality, mentioning in particular that it is unacceptable that a woman is paid less than a man. He said the Labour government will push forward reforms so that more women will be elected in the national parliament.

“My appeal is to vote for all the Labour candidates. Five years ago we have achieved a majorty of 33,000 votes. On election day, vote early and vote for all the candidates on the Labour Party ticket. We changed the country and we will be the change for Malta. On Saturday, I will be at the forefront to choose between Joseph Muscat and Adrian Delia,” concluded the Maltese Prime Minister.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

LABOUR PARTY IN MALTA IS EXPECTED TO WIN THE EP ELECTIONS

One week ahead of the European Parliamentary elections in Malta, the gap between the Labour Party of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Nationalist Party in Opposition led by Adrian Delia is 19.6 percent for the Labour Party. With an expected turnout of about 70 percent, this will result 50,000 votes in favour of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party is expected to win four parliamentary seats out of six; which means the Nationalist Party, member of the Popular Party, will lose a parliamentary seat. It is expected a tight run for the second Nationalist’s parliamentary seat.

The prediction of the outcome of the European Parliament elections in Malta is, 56.9 per cent for the Labour Party, the Nationalist Party will get 37.3 percent of the votes, the green party Alternattiva Demokratika will get 2 percent, 1.7 percent vote will go to the far-right party Imperium Europa, 1.1 per cent for the Democratic Party and 1.1 per cent vote for other parties and independent candidates.

According to the latest poll, the Labour Party managed to increase the gap with the Nationalist Party by 8.2 per cent over the last election. The Labour Party has increased the gap mainly because there are more Nationalists that say will not go to vote, or ready to vote for other parties. The Maltese vote less for the European Parliament election when compared to the general election. Indeed the turnout usually is about 75% of the eligible voters.

The recent arrest of two Armed Forces of Malta soldiers charged with the cold-blooded murder of a migrant from Ivory Coast dominated the election campaign over the weekend. The Opposition has requested for an independent inquiry into how one of the accused was engaged in the Armed Forces of Malta while serving a bail sentence. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appealed to the Maltese society to embrace integration of foreigners including migrants.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MALTA, FINAL RUSH TO THE ELECTIONS

A week from the elections that will see the citizens of the archipelago state elect their representatives to the European Parliament and the local councils (the equivalent of Italian municipalities), the electoral battle continues amid crossed attacks, rallies and particular initiatives put in place by some candidates.

Parliamentary activity was suspended until after the election at the initiative of the majority, a choice motivated by the fact that participation in parliamentary sessions was considerably diminished due to the numerous campaign activities. The opposition strongly criticized this choice, defined by the leader of the Nationalist Party Adrian Delia as a move that endangers the country’s democracy. Among the accusations made against the majority, also the fact that the decision was taken suddenly, without prior discussion with the opposition, and on the eve of an important parliamentary debate that provided for the discussion on the finances and on the work done by the Embryo Protection Authority.

 

The Labour Party, frontrunner in the polls, has implemented a particularly intense campaign, full of activities that have involved – or will involve in the coming days – all the towns of the country. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is dedicating himself to these initiatives, accompanied from time to time by prominent members of the party, together with candidates for the European elections and for local councils.

The Nationalist Party, divided internally and with a leadership that cannot hold the party together, continues to show its difficulties even during the electoral campaign.

The local media have highlighted, on several occasions, the disparity in spending between parties, with the Labour Party investing more resources than the Nationalist Party, and even among candidates. Some of the latter have put in place very specific initiatives. For example, two candidates organized a lottery. The first prizes are a car and a vacation, respectively.

The difference in investment in the electoral campaign reflects the state of finance of the two main parties. In particular, the Nationalist Party is also facing a period of financial crisis, while the Labour Party has more economic resources, which also derive from the citizens’ great response to fundraising organized by the majority party.

 

Just seven days from the vote, the polls are stable, and predict a clear victory for the Labour party, expected to win – for the first time – four of the six Maltese seats in the European Parliament. The Labour Party is affiliated with European socialists, while the Nationalist Party identifies itself with the European People’s Party, which currently holds a majority in the Strasbourg Assembly. The elections in Malta will take place on Saturday 25 May 2019.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

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