The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Labour’s New Way

Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi Monday, 27 January 2020, 10:13 Last update: about 21 days ago

A very challenging year has come to an end leaving us still analysing a situation which has hit the nation in a hard way. 

Labour’s new way of addressing the need of reforms, especially at constitutional and institutional level, is the new dawn. A democratic process reaches its culmination when the cycle is completed, not broken in stages which do not interlink. It is a process which has to embrace an operational approach, as no process works in a vacuum.

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Looking ahead, Malta needs to have a detailed analysis of the latest proceedings, what went wrong and why, a process analysis, while we position ourselves in a new decade. We need to bring about more changes in various sectors, not because this administration has been stagnant, but because we addressed so many changes and gaps, and some bridges are still to be crossed. The Labour Party has always been a protagonist in constitutional reform over decades, such as by enhancing equality, through reforms in the method of appointments for members of the judiciary, reforms within the office of the Advocate General, and the latest on the selection of the Police Commissioner; a truly refreshing breathing space for institutional reforms.

The importance being attached by the new Labour Government to these reforms is further highlighted by one of the first decisions taken in the first cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abela. A cabinet committee on Governance is being chaired by Minister Edward Zammit Lewis while Ministers Byron Camilleri and Owen Bonnici, and myself are giving our input to the same committee. We aim to give our feedback as fast as possible so that after a consultation period we will move on to pass the necessary legislation through Parliament and implement the necessary reforms.

Other discussions are ongoing which will lead to various reforms in the next months. However such reforms have to be carried out in an inclusive way, both sides of the House, and with the widest participation as much as possible. All parties should be on the same wavelength, embracing a common vision of where to take our Constitution, renewing our government and accountability tools.

In addition, a consultation process with international bodies should also be helpful without however having an element of imposition, as ultimately we need to ensure that the reforms are embraced by this nation.

First of all we need to fix a framework through which this consultation process has to be carried out, a fixed timeframe and a clear indication of the priorities to be addressed, highlighting responsibilities of the various parties involved, which have to be fully immersed in the process.

The process of constitutional and institutional reforms cannot however work in a vacuum, and has to be accompanied in parallel, with our economic growth, working in tandem. 

This realigns and confirms the government’s commitment to use its resources in reaching out and ensures that such growth is reaching everyone, irrespective of the social status. We still have more work to do to eradicate social poverty, to re-instill dignity by having affordable housing, encouraging people to keep climbing up the social ladder and contributing to our working resources. Our budget should continue to be designed to give more incentives and more adjustment to ensure a high quality of life.

The nation is thirsty for more reforms, to regain stability and to ensure this economic growth. The nation is looking up to us to give back more. It is our responsability, as a party in government, to ensure our hard work is the right way how to regain trust in the system, the institutions and ultimately the general public.

 

Dr. Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi

Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds

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