Can Europe Make It?

A postcard from Malta

Karl Littlejohn
16 May 2014

Since Malta joined the EU in 2004, this is the third time that the country will hold elections for the European Parliament. From these elections, Malta elects six seats. The current six seats are unequally shared between the Labour Party which has four, and the Nationalist party (PN) - a Christian Democrat Party - which has two.

Unfortunately, MEP elections do not discuss European issues, but stick to local issues which are mostly irrelevant on a European level, and must be tackled through Maltese institutions only. The future of European integration, the European economic crisis and the role of EU institutions are not even mentioned from the two mainstream parties. From what I have followed in this election, it seems that the main focus of the campaign is centered on the Labour government’s track record, a year after winning the national election. The main issues discussed in these last weeks were employment, utility bills and quality of life. The government was also accused by the Christian Democrat opposition (PN) of not keeping its promises on meritocracy because top positions were given to well-known people who had strong links with the Labour Party before the last national election. Spokespersons from the Labour Party deny such claims. Of course, the debate was also characterized by the usual infantile mudslinging tactics between the two main parties.

But apart from the two main political parties there are also two other parties in Malta. Alternattiva Demokratika affiliates itself with the European Greens. The party was established twenty five years ago, and has yet to win just one national parliamentary seat in its history. In the local council elections, the party elected councilors in some localities. Alternattiva Demokratika was close to winning an MEP seat way back in 2004. However, in the last MEP election it only garnered 2.3% of the vote. In the 2014 MEP campaign, the party is focusing on the green economy, civil liberties, and intensified the campaign against spring hunting. Alternattiva Demokratika- the Green Party will field two candidates for this election.

The other party, which is contesting these elections for the third time is Imperium Europa. This New Right party is not yet officially affiliated with any party in the European Parliament. Imperium Europa only contests the euro elections and it has heavily increased its votes with each election. For this election, Imperium Europa will present three candidates. The party has a staunchly anti-immigration agenda, calls for the ban of Halal and Kosher products due to animal cruelty, and seeks Malta’s sovereignty status to be respected within the EU.

During this euro election campaign in Malta, two of the candidates for the Presidency of the EU commission visited the islands.  Jean-Claude Juncker attended the activities of the Nationalist Party (PN) on behalf of the EPP, while Martin Schulz took part in the events held by the Labour party on behalf of the S&D group. For the first time, the EU commission President will be elected depending which group elects the most seats in the European Parliament.

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