November 2012


All has been said and done and Tonio Borg is the new Health Commissioner. He was elected by a democratic vote from MEPs themselves elected by EU citizens. I disagree with his political values especially on immigration and LGBT issues and if I was an MEP I would have voted against him taking the post. I’ll make no secret out it. (That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the good things in Dr Borg, such as the fact that during his entire political career he’s never been tainted with any hint of corruption and his good handling of the Libya crisis)

Some Maltese cheered, not necessarily because they agree with Tonio Borg’s values but due to coming from the backwards insular mentality the PNPL kept this country in. I win you lose. Alee-oo Alee-oo. Nivvota lejber halli nghajjru lil ta Gonzi wara l-elezzjoni! I think you got the dripth.

Pathetic, but it’s not these kind of people that bothered me.

The ones that bothered, I dare say even offended, me are the ones who called us Greens as well as the Liberals and some Socialists “intolerant” for opposing Tonio Borg.

Intolerant?

Commissioners such as Tonio Borg are not elected by EU citizens. They are nominated by a Prime Minister while the MEPs have to decide whether they approve them or not. Yet, like the MEPs and sometimes even more, the Commissioners are going to take political decisions on behalf of the European Union’s citizens.

In other words when they vote for a Commissioner, the MEPs have a duty to represent those who voted for them. Otherwise we can throw EU democracy out of the window – and prove the Eurosceptics right.

And this is exactly what we’ve done. The European Green Party (EGP), in complete agreement with Alternattiva Demokratika, felt that Tonio Borg could never represent the “Green voter”. Thus they voted against his nomination.

And lost. Tonio was voted in by a majority of the MEP’s. And like every democratic party we accepted the defeat. Like every democratic party, the EGP will work with the elected Dr Borg to what they believe is the best for the citizens of the European Union.

What’s intolerant about that?

Alternattiva Demokratika has many times claimed that there only cosmetic difference between the two large parties, hence the term PNPL. On immigration, this couldn’t be more true.

Many have the wrong impression that the PL are the tough guys on immigration while the PN are for tolerance, respect for human rights and Christian values. Bullshit. The only difference is they way they talk about it, the package. The policies are exactly the same.

The only “difference” is that while the PN talk about voluntary burden sharing with the EU, the PL talk about compulsory burden sharing. Once again, this difference is no difference at all for a very simple reason. Burden sharing is EU law and whether it’s voluntary or compulsory isn’t up to Muscat or Gonzi to decide. In fact, all parties in Malta, including AD, support compulsory burden sharing and consider the present scenario as unfair to the border states. But the reality is that many EU countries, already struggling with their own far right problems, will never agree with compulsory burden sharing. (Keep in mind that if such a mechanism is to take place, it would not have to cover only Malta where asylum seekers are a few thousand but also other countries like Greece, Cyprus and Italy where they run into millions).

On issues that can actually make a difference for the immigrants and minimize the costs for the Maltese, such as revising detention policy and grant work permits instead of a permit to work, as suggested by AD, the position of the PNPL is exactly the same.

Same thing on the minimum wage controversy. AD is the only party for increasing the minimum wage. Yet, the PN managed to spin it that Muscat is the evil anti-worker pseudo-socialist that wants to freeze the minimum wage. Truth is, the PL are just against increasing it, which is the exact position of the PN.

These two examples, amongst many others, make it clear that unlike most other EU countries that have a variety of parties with different beliefs and ideologies in parliament Malta has less than two. Most of the time it just has one: PNPL.