The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Neutrality is an elegant umbrella that is blown away the moment it starts raining - Giovanni Bonello

Andrea Caruana Sunday, 7 April 2024, 07:30 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Independent on Sunday also reached out to former judge on the European Court of Human Rights Giovanni Bonello to explain Malta’s Constitutional neutrality and its current state.

Judge Bonello was asked for his interpretation of Malta’s constitutional neutrality and its current state to which he answered: “The original Constitution of Malta did not contemplate the value of neutrality. It was only included in 1987, as a so-called political ‘compromise’. The government would only accept to enshrine democratic majority rule in the Constitution if the Opposition were to vote for the neutrality clauses. The Opposition yielded to this ‘deal’ as it was the only way to avoid a repetition of the 1981 ‘perverse’ and anti-democratic result by which the absolute minority of the electorate wields power and the absolute majority stays in opposition.

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“Neutrality is now regulated by Article 1.3 of the Constitution which imposes military non-alignment on the state of Malta. So far, the constitutional courts have had very few occasions to apply or interpret Article 1.3. Most of its provisions are but a string of pious platitudes founded on the concept of “two superpowers” which might have been relevant before the fall of Communism in 1989, but which sound anachronistic and irrelevant after the international panorama changed so drastically.

“In assuming a status of neutrality, Malta has disregarded the repeated lessons of the past. History has consistently taught that neutrality is an elegant umbrella that is blown away the moment it starts raining.  In major armed conflicts, tyrants do not act by the rules. In World War I, Belgium and Luxembourg both proclaimed their staunch neutrality. This did not stop the Kaiser from rolling his bloodthirsty armies and tanks all over them.

“In World War II, Finland was the model neutral state. And that gave Stalin even greater enjoyment gobbling it up. Norway, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all whimpered they were neutral sates, to the great mirth of Adolf Hitler. Neutrality may work in international controversies between democratic states, but it only limits a state’s choices when confronted by murderous autocrats.”

See also: We're in a fresh COld War, chance of frozen conflict in EU ' a reality' - Evarist Bartolo 

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