Remaining true to our mission

The EU of today is different from the one Malta joined in 2004. Yet, this does not merit any substantial re-consideration from our part, as the benefits of membership far outweigh the costs.

The European Council has come to an end and the sentiment in Brussels is that this summit was quite smooth compared to the previous one.

The Council conclusions sealed the EU’s future path to invest more in defence. However, looking closely at the conclusions one realises that the text includes two caveats that emanate from the EU Treaty and which are important for Malta. The Treaty article on respecting Member States’ specificities is crucial for us, as it is aimed at respecting the concepts of neutrality and non-alignment that are enshrined in our constitution.

The EU is changing, the global context has shifted, and Western hegemony in the world order is being tested to the core. The EU of today is different from the one Malta joined in 2004. Yet, this does not merit any substantial re-consideration from our part, as the benefits of membership far outweigh the costs. What is needed, however, is a mature dialogue across all sectors to assess and, in some way, predict the EU’s future path and Malta’s place in it.

Given the evolving international landscape, Malta’s voice within the EU carries even more weight. Malta has long been described as the bridge between the EU and the Mediterranean, offering a vital perspective no other member state can provide due to its deep understanding of the region’s complexities. As the EU charts its course, Malta’s voice is crucial to ensuring a cautious but forward-thinking approach that acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead. Our country’s unparalleled combination of size and rich history makes its experience invaluable within the EU institutions.

Malta’s voice may be soft but it is not insignificant. Thanks to the perseverance of our officials, playing the same tune repeatedly is bearing results. For instance, Malta has always been consistent in its call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. It was consistent in urging the EU to do more to avert a humanitarian crisis while acknowledging the horrific attacks of 7th October. It has also remained consistent in calling for a two-state solution as the ultimate goal to bring peace and prosperity to the region.

During the European Council, Malta demonstrably championed its commitment to finding a solution that respects the rights and dignity of Palestinians while ensuring Israeli security. While the EU has lost credibility in the Middle East due to its response in the aftermath of the 7th October attacks, it has come back to its senses and is finally realising that the status quo is not longer tenable.

Meanwhile, while the US is still miles away from a balanced position, its role to table a resolution in the UN Security Council also plays an important role. Here too, Malta’s reputation and valuable diplomatic efforts should bear results as our country takes over the Presidency of the UNSC this April, for the second time.

Photo: European Union

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