The Malta Independent 26 November 2022, Saturday
View E-Paper

Stable in the No camp

Noel Grima Sunday, 2 October 2022, 06:57 Last update: about 3 months ago

Nexta_tv announced this week that already 23 countries have joined Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia at the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights.

It added that “all EU countries except Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Hungary and Cyprus are among those willing to support the lawsuit against Russia. Non-EU member states are represented by Norway.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As far as I can see the government has not countered this claim nor has it explained comprehensively its stand as regards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine except mouthing the most trite and banal statements.

The claim that Malta is stably in the No camp is very damaging. Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus are naturally allied to Russia because of a shared religious and historical background, Hungary under Victor Orban has chosen to defy the EU on everything (though that does not impede it from taking the EU funds) but Malta? Note that not even Poland, that other EU rebel, dared join the No camp. Poland knows well what the big bear it has as a neighbour can mean.

What can Malta give Russia and what will it get in return? To put the question like this is deeply offensive to the Ukrainians whose land has been invaded without their being to blame. It is also deeply offensive to the entire EU that such a small member state, and one that has all these internal problems from rule of law to huge deficit can choose to defy and offend the rest of the continent? And, again, for what?

During all these months since the beginning of the invasion, Malta has many times boasted it was providing humanitarian aid. The public has not been informed how many Ukrainians have been accepted as refugees here. There is quite a sizeable Ukrainian community here, so probably refugees have filtered in unofficially. Will the Russians that are fleeing their country be allowed to come in where they may be welcomed by the Russian community or will they be scared off by Malta being in the No camp. I also note that some countries are closing their doors on this huge tidal wave.

Malta has not sent any of its soldiers to take part in the defence of Ukraine while other countries have sent arms and equipment. There would probably be a revolution on the streets if Maltese soldiers were to be moved to near the frontier of Ukraine.

On the other hand, Malta seems to have obeyed the EU orders of economic sanctions against Russia though no superyachts belonging to oligarchs and based in Malta seem to have been taken away as happened in other countries such as Gibraltar.

Basically this continues to reinforce the widespread perception out there that Malta can’t be trusted, reinforcing the perception obtained by its stubborn refusal to wind down the cash for passports scheme, to say nothing about its stubborn insistence on keeping the hunting ‘tradition’. It does not have to be just the grey-listing that gives Malta a bad name in Europe and across the world.

There may be some in Malta who reason that Ukraine and Russia are far away from our shores and their problems are far away from our concerns. That is a very blinkered view and one that ultimately may damage us were we to need outside help to tackle problems such as deriving from immigration for instance.

All this is very damaging to our international name and reputation and I hope we will not further damage our name through speeches and voting patterns in the UN Security Council.

We are not yet at the depths of Malta’s name as dragged by Dom Mintoff with his gratuitous offences against Nato and Malta’s former allies and his adventurous forays with China, Romania and the like. But we may well be on our way.

 

[email protected]

 

  • don't miss