The Malta Independent 6 December 2021, Monday

'The moment we give up our integrity we will lose everything' – Simon Busuttil at EPP congress

Kevin Schembri Orland Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 09:55 Last update: about 6 years ago

PN Leader Simon Busuttil said today that the moment politicians give up their integrity, they will lose everything.

Dr Busuttil was delivering the opening address at the EPP congress being held at the Hilton Malta.

“I address you as the PN leader, the party in opposition. I address you as the same person who used to work with you in the EU Parliament, but applying my perspective from the national scene. We are meeting today on a historic day, the day when the UK will present the letter triggering Article 50 to leave the EU. Just yesterday, the Scottish Parliament voted to hold a 2nd referendum on Scottish independence. So more than triggering the breakup of the EU, it may also unwittingly trigger the breakup of the UK. It is a difficult situation for the UK, but also for the citizens of the EU. It is a situation that needs to be addressed.”

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Photos Jonathan Borg

He then turned to using the Maltese language. The PN, he said, brought independence nearly 53 years ago. “It is the party that always had a clear vision for the future. After independence, the PN worked for Malta to enter the EU, as had happened in the largest expansion of the EU back in 2004.”

“That day, it was the PN that had the EU vision for Malta. Against this vision, was the PL, who is today in government. The PL  did not want Malta in the EU. Today, 13-years after entering the EU, more than 80% of Maltese feel that the decision to join the EU brought significant benefits for the country. One also realises that the PN managed to convince the Maltese people that this is the best vision for Malta. “

“We also managed to convince the PL, who today agree that Malta’s place is inside the EU.”

“Four years ago, the PN was voted out of government in the last elections. Today we are on the road to re-convince the people to place their trust in this party, as the party which always had a clear vision for Malta.”

PN in a position to challenge the coming elections

“This is a hard road, as the last general election results ended in a huge loss for the PN. We were 12 percentage points behind the PL, which is a big difference. Today that difference is down to less than 3 percentage points, meaning that the PN is in a position to challenge the coming elections.”

“While Malta is benefitting from the PN’s vision, even economically, there are certain difficulties that one must speak about, such as good governance, truth in politics, and corruption.”

He said that a few weeks ago, an EU Parliament delegation from the Pana committee, investigating questions related to the Panama Papers, “and after listening to the Konrad Mizzi case, the Committee led by my colleague Werner Langen, when he heard the case of the company in the secretive jurisdiction of Panama, said that this case is a textbook case of money laundering. This worries me, as my message to you and the EU is that it is not acceptable to have a secret company in Panama. For me, and the PN it is not acceptable.”

He spoke of the issues of populism, and said Brexit was a result of this, “a result of post-truth, the consequence of politics where facts are no longer important. This is the kind of politics we must face against in Malta and every EU country.”

“A month ago there was a demonstration protesting for a clean government, a government that respects democracy, that does not breach the rule of law. I believe that those people will lead Malta to again move onto the right track.”

He spoke of his personal experiences since the change from European to local politics.

Dr Busuttil said that the political climate locally is completely different from that of the European Parliament, stating it is more aggressive and harder.  “This is a climate we would like to change, to create a normal, serene climate.”

“While reasoned arguments win in the European Parliament, in local politics emotion wins. Emotion is not wrong, it is the most important thing for a human being,” he said. “People who respect logic and reason must understand that they can win if there is emotion behind it. We need to understand the peoples’ emotions.”

“To keep your integrity in politics, especially nationally, which is dominated through passion and political attacks is not easy. It is a challenge to keep your integrity, as you are attacked each day, but whoever is ready to give up their integrity to win politically, then their place is not in politics. “

“The moment we give up our integrity we will lose everything.”

A historic day

EPP Chairman Manfred Weber said that today, the British will trigger Article 50, stating that negotiations will then start. “It is a historic day as this will be the first time a member state leaves our community.”

He said that over the next days, the EPP will need to discuss what the EU can to move closer to the people.

He mentioned the problems of the Mediterranean region, such as migration and Libya. He also spoke of the economic situation and said Malta is doing well, however there are unemployment problems around the Mediterranean region.

He spoke of corruption protests in Romania, and said that this is also a problem in Malta. The only acting minister in the EU on the Panama Papers list is here in Malta. The fight against corruption is essential for us as EPP, he said.

“Dr Busuttil will face elections soon, and it is important to show support for him.” He spoke about serious politics and not promising what one cannot deliver, saying that EPP affiliated parties in Holland did this. “Simon Busuttil is doing the same approach, and a serious politician only promises what he can deliver.”

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