The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Decision on EU leadership not just a question of people, but of vision – Muscat

Monday, 10 June 2019, 11:48 Last update: about 5 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today the decision that had to be taken on the leadership of the European Commission was not just a question of who should occupy the post but what type of programme the bloc required for the next five years.

Expressing support for the nomination of the Socialists and Democrats, Frans Timmermans for the top post in the Brussels executive, Joseph Muscat said one has to understand and decide on the type of vision the person occupying the European Commission president role should have.

EU leaders have been involved in negotiations since the European Parliament elections last month.

Asked by journalists about his own future, Muscat laughed off the question, insisting he had another appointment. It is well known that Muscat is eyeing a post in Brussels and his talk about “not contesting the next election” in Malta has been associated with Muscat’s personal aspirations.

Earlier, Muscat addressed the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee ahead of this month’s EU leaders’ summit, which is supposed to decide on who should fill the bloc’s top posts.

He said the outgoing European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker had worked well, describing it as “one of the most effective in recent times”.

Describing the summit as “operational” in nature, Muscat said “the new commission will have a hard time to follow in the same footsteps but it will have new challenges. The commission will have to lead crucial negotiations on the EU budget, taking into account Brexit and proposing new directions of spending in innovation and investment,” Muscat said.

The Prime Minister said he was in favour of a revision of rules to incentivise the industrial sector in Europe.

Another challenge the new commission will have to deal with is freedom of movement, he added.

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