The Malta Independent 15 August 2018, Wednesday

National pride has reached historic level – Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Sunday, 21 January 2018, 11:48 Last update: about 8 months ago

National pride has reached a historic level, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

Speaking at a political activity in Tarxien, one day before he celebrates his 44th birthday, Muscat said gone were the times when the Maltese regarded foreigners as being superior. “There were times when we started believing that others were better than us, that they could do better at everything. A strong sense of pride has returned today, where we believe in our abilities, and that we can be as good as others, if not better.”

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Muscat said one also had to consider the facft that Malta was competing on a level playing field, that it had geographical disadvantages. “If anything, this has made us more resilient. Malta may be a tiny country in the Mediterranean but it has one of the best employment and investment rates and we are achieving surplus after surplus.”

Saturday’s V18 celebrations, he said, showcased this national pride. Noting the high turnout for the events, Muscat said people wanted to be protagonists in Malta’s history, not spectators.  “The Maltese can argue about anything but when they see that red and white flag they unite. This is something that cannot be faked.”

Muscat said the Maltese are able to realise when a red line is about to be crossed and head back down the path of unity.

This was the case with Air Malta, he said, referring to the recent agreement reached between the national airline and its pilots. “An agreement was reached because the parties involved chose common sense, because they did not only want reassurances on their own future but on the future of the company as well.”

The PM said the country had finally veered onto the path of sustainability. “Before, Malta would spend more than it earned. This happened for over 25 years.  Imagine a family that lives beyond its means for a quarter of a century and keeps going to the bank to borrow money. This is why medicines were out of stock, why pensions were not increased once in 25 years. We have managed to balance our accounts, which is a fundamental economic principle no one should have to be taught.”

Muscat said the extra cash could be used, for example, to pay for expensive medicine to treat rare diseases.

“People can see the difference between parties and have spoken with the same voice in election after election. If the Opposition has not yet realised this then maybe it needs another test. And the next test is coming next year, in the EP elections. We will face this test with humility, aware our shortcomings, but we will not be scared.”

He praised his parliamentary team, which he said was the best one he ever had, “compact, united, willing, humble and hardworking.”

“The bigger the trust placed in us by the electorate the bigger the responsibility we have to work for a better future for this country,” Muscat concluded.  

 

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