Q&A with Daniel Attard

Get to know Daniel Attard better as he shares his priorities as a Partit Laburista candidate for the European Parliament elections in a 5-question interview with The Journal.

1. What drives your decision to run for the European Parliament in the upcoming elections?

I’m weary of witnessing politicians tarnish our reputation in Europe, hoping to garner short-term domestic favour. Malta requires competent representation in Brussels, now more than ever. I believe I have much to offer and can be of significant service. My contribution would not be limited to innovative ideas alone; I am prepared to put in the hard work necessary to effect real change. My commitment extends beyond mere rhetoric to include the diligence and dedication needed to uphold Malta’s interests and values on the European stage, ensuring our voice is not only heard but also respected.

2. What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Socialism, as an ideology, has always deeply resonated with me, illustrating its potential to significantly improve lives when applied thoughtfully by committed politicians. Inspired by luminaries such as Dom Mintoff, Alfred Sant, and Joseph Muscat, I am driven to emulate their legacy of impactful leadership. My aspiration is to cultivate a future where policy-making is imbued with empathy, inclusiveness, and a profound sense of duty to forthcoming generations.

3. What would be your top goals if you were elected?

If elected, my agenda will focus on creating fair, sustainable, and resilient European societies. I’ll tackle income inequality and limit the power of big corporations and tech giants that skew economies and influence public opinion. Ending their exploitation is key to genuine growth. My strategy includes controlling market excesses so that the economy benefits everyone.

Central to real progress are education and technological advances. Investing in education prepares a skilled workforce for tomorrow’s challenges. I will fight to ensure that growth will benefit all, alongside a push for a green economy through investments in renewable energy and environmental protection.

This integrated approach aims to build an inclusive, environmentally aware, and prepared society.

4. What, in your view, are the most pressing issues the European Union will be facing in the next five years?

Climate change poses an existential threat, driving the Union to rapidly pivot towards sustainability. The urgency of this transition cannot be overstated, as it not only addresses the immediate environmental challenges but also paves the way for a resilient, eco-friendly economy that benefits future generations. However, any transition towards sustainability must be managed with precision and sensitivity, particularly to avoid inadvertently harming vulnerable economies, such as island nations within the EU, or the agricultural sector.

The recent geopolitical upheavals have laid bare a critical weakness in European foreign policy. Instead of seizing the opportunity to champion peace, the European Union has found itself in lockstep with the United States, embroiled in the unnecessary conflict in Ukraine through the provision of weapons. Europe, with its harrowing history of two world wars, should inherently understand the paramount importance of peace.

The EU’s silence on the genocide in Gaza represents another significant oversight that demands rectification. As highlighted by our Prime Minister, Robert Abela, in Parliament this week, Roberta Metsola, without the endorsement of the European populace, hastily traveled to Israel for a photo opportunity disguised as diplomacy. Her actions, alongside those of Von der Leyen, have been interpreted by many analysts as a tacit endorsement of the severe and ruthless retaliation that followed. I echo my Prime Minister’s call for an immediate ceasefire. The path forward must involve diplomatic engagement and a concerted effort to de-escalate tensions, ensuring the safety and security of all affected populations, especially the women and children of Gaza.

For the European Union to be perceived as a credible bloc that genuinely upholds its foundational values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, it must actively engage in advocating for these principles universally.

The lack of a vocal, unified stance on the situation in Gaza and Metsola’s reckless behavior have undermined the EU’s moral authority and its position as a global advocate for peace and justice.

To restore its credibility and reaffirm its commitment to its values, the EU needs to take a proactive role in addressing such crises, working diligently towards peaceful resolutions and the protection of human rights.

5a. As a general principle, do you support further integration of the European project?

I am extremely concerned about any rushed attempts to integrate new countries without full compliance with the EU’s rigorous standards for democracy, rule of law, human rights, and economic stability. It is imperative that the EU maintains its high standards for accession.

Metsola’s enthusiastic support for Ukraine’s integration into the European Union serves as a prime example. It strikes me as politically immature and irresponsible to offer President Zelensky such a quick solution to his problems with Russia and to extend an invitation to a country that appears utterly unprepared for EU membership.

5b. Should the EU’s Member States confer on the Union competence over more areas that are currently of exclusive national competence in a bid to improve efficiency, consistency, and harmonisation, and to further protect citizens’ rights?

Behind the rhetoric of European unity, Brussels remains influenced heavily by France and Germany. Echoing Alfred Sant’s sentiment, the notion of a “one size fits all” approach within the EU is indeed problematic. It’s imperative that we resist this notion to ensure our distinct voices are heard. A pertinent case in point is Malta’s stance in the event of escalating hostilities with Russia. As a neutral country, the prospect of joining a military conflict is not just undesirable but contradicts our principles. I am decidedly cautious. While I believe in the European project and its values, I staunchly oppose any form of domination by Brussels that could compromise our sovereignty or mute our voice in the Union. The goal is to contribute to a Europe where diverse voices coalesce to form a stronger, united front, not to relinquish our unique identity or autonomy under the guise of unity.

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