In recent years, the world has experienced a series of remarkable events, both natural and human-made, which have had a profound impact on our economic and political trajectory.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left lasting scars on society, both economically and emotionally. People are still recovering from the dreadful effects of COVID-19: the economic uncertainty and the fear of losing loved ones.
Subsequently, the ongoing war in Ukraine, a human-made catastrophe, is creating additional instabilities, including loss of life, displacement of people, and global economic uncertainty. The recent war in the Middle East is also adding to the pressure.
Indeed, the many instabilities of the past years, as well as the current political turmoil, are affecting the way we live. When statisticians and economists dig into economic indicators, they see the writing on the wall. Notwithstanding the fact that Eurocrats are pushing a different narrative, on a European level we are, indeed, in an economic and a political mess. Despite this, Malta maintains an excellent stable outlook from reputable credit rating agencies.
Malta as an honest broker
Throughout the past two months, Malta’s Prime Minister, Robert Abela, was present at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, as well as at the European Political Community meeting in Granada, Spain, and then at successive informal and formal European Council meetings. In between these engagements, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, travelled to Malta for the MED 9 summit between the leaders of the EU southern Mediterranean countries. The topics that were discussed ranged from the review of the Multiannual Financial Framework, migration, to the green and digital transition, as well as security.
In his speech to the UNGA in September, PM Abela outlined, among other things, the need for the international community to work together to foster dialogue, defining that “no man is an island”. He referred to the talks hosted by Malta between the United States’ Security Adviser and China’s Foreign Minister. Besides, Malta is, as we speak, also hosting a meeting on the peace formula for Ukraine. Malta’s reputation as an honest broker is attested to by the fact that, throughout its history, it has often been chosen as the venue for high-level international talks and negotiations.
At the UNGA, Prime Minister Abela also spoke of climate change and the necessity to primarily mitigate the effects on the environment, including the pressing need of devising a strategy covering climate security. These are all topical political issues that will be debated in the local political arena and that are thankfully being addressed by the current government. Au contraire, the Opposition has tried hard to tarnish Malta’s reputation when President von der Leyen was in Malta, a jibe which ensued other divisive political narratives pushed by PN representatives abroad.
Decisiveness amid uncertainties
Robert Abela took office as Prime Minister at a very delicate time. His appointment, in January 2020, came hot on the heels of a political crisis. A few weeks after, he had to face a global pandemic and then a war on mainland Europe. Abela’s first three months as Prime Minister were fraught with uncertainty, as people feared for their livelihoods and their lives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, the early predictions of virologists and economists were proven wrong, thanks in part to the sound economic management of previous Labour administrations and the decisive leadership of Robert Abela and his team.
Indeed, Malta managed to come out of these global crises economically unscathed. Countless livelihoods were saved through the Government’s support measures to help citizens and companies weather the significant economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, the investments in healthcare championed by the experienced Deputy Prime Minister, Chris Fearne, saved thousands of lives.
Making a difference
Prime Minister Robert Abela and his team’s unwavering focus on stability has guided the country through global crises, as the country embarked on a relentless pursuit of infrastructural development, job creation, and economic expansion.
Surely, economic growth is essential to protect people’s livelihoods while further investing in our communities and ensuring stability. Labour’s electoral manifesto, ‘Malta Flimkien’, provides a roadmap for such stability. Seeing Prime Minister Abela in action in Brussels, I also realised that he is, as a matter of fact, an excellent negotiator when it comes to ensuring this stability in international fora. Once, a European Council meeting was prolonged due to his insistence with the Chancellor of Germany that certain proposals within the energy sphere that were on the table were not suitable for an island State. Well, he did manage to convince the rest of his peers at the European Council during the delicate negotiations; something that is normally not easy.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has not shied away from taking tough decisions, some of which has been swept under the carpet for decades. In so doing, he has acted in the best interests of the people. He has, indeed, made a difference.
Photo credit: DOI / Alan Saliba