“Being the smallest EU State does not mean Malta is least influential” – Roberta Metsola
“We need to be careful that in this climate of political populism, the EU does not go down the road of over-regulation that chokes innovation and damages start-ups and SMEs. It is possible to have a balance between the strong social safeguards and standards we take for granted in Europe, with the innovation we see in the Silicon Valley for example,” said Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.
Dr Metsola was talking during a discussion on Small States in the EU, which was organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta together with Malta-EU Steering & Action Committee (MEUSAC) and the University of Malta. The discussion was followed by the launch of a new book edited by Professor Lino Briguglio on the economic perspectives of Small States in the European Union.
“Every State needs to adapt to the times and that means that we sometimes need to leave our comfort zone. If Europe is to remain competitive we cannot legislate as if it is 1990”, said Dr Metsola.
Underscoring how much of a success Malta has made out of its EU Membership, Dr Metsola said “EU funding has changed the face of Malta, providing businesses with opportunities and Government with the resources it needs to tackle some of the most pressing issues. The advantageous funding packages that have been negotiated since accession – not to mention political minefields like negotiating the sixth MEP seat – are testament to the skill, influence and network of the Maltese representatives of the time.”
She continued saying “So Malta may very well be the smallest EU Member State, but it is by no means the least influential one. This is particularly true in the European Parliament, where the six of us do what we can to make sure the voice of the Maltese people echoes around the Parliament’s chamber. Being the smallest Member State and the smallest delegation in the European Parliament is sometimes lonely work – it means that we need to work harder – and we do. It also means that our resources are far more limited and we therefore need to focus of those areas where we can really make a difference.”
Dr Metsola pointed out the advantages of coming from a small state saying that “the smaller the country, the more we are able to meet people from different sectors and the more we are able to listen and give back to them about the discussions on a European level. That gives us an edge.”
Dr Metsola said that “As an EU Member State we have proved that far from being swallowed up, with a fair playing field, our businesses can compete, our social system can cope, our markets can adapt and our politicians can hold their own.
We have made a success in Europe and we would be wrong to ignore just how much of it is down to Malta’s credibility and our reputation as an honest broker around the EU table, going into the EU Presidency, this reputation is more important than ever.”
Prof. Briguglio, Dr Alfred Sant, Dr Mark Harwood, Dr Philip von Brockdorff also addressed the event. Dr Vanni Xuereb moderated the discussion, while Dr Peter Agius delivered introductory remarks.