The 1st of May means many things. For most people across the world, the 1st of May symbolises International Workers Day. It commemorates a time to celebrate the workers who mobilised together as a collective voice to stand up to the injustices of a society that does not put the needs of the worker on the forefront of its societal organisation and reasoning. To many, the 1st of May symbolises a day where we celebrate the emancipation of the worker from the shackles of power-constraints. It reminds us all that collectively as a proletariat, we can make huge structural changes to our society.
However, to Malta, the 1st of May is far more symbolic than just the celebration of workers’ rights. To Malta, it means also an entirely new state of being. This is because on 1st May 2004, Malta joined the European Union together with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, in the largest EU enlargement to date. This day marked a historic change for Malta and many other EU countries because it offered us the opportunity to join a union, which would eventually help us achieve momentous steps towards progress.
And while the Labour Party approached the concept of the European Union from a soft-sceptical standpoint, a standpoint which was adopted by many left-wing parties prior to membership and one still implemented today in European leftist policies, it is the Labour Party that has embraced European principles like no other. This is because while the Conservative party of Malta may have led us towards the Union, it is the Partit Laburista which shaped our contribution to the Union.
While the Conservative party of Malta may have led us towards the Union, it is the Partit Laburista which shaped our contribution to the Union.
The motto of the European Union is that we are “united in diversity”. And it is this very slogan which is the reasoning behind many of the ground-breaking policies pressed forward by the Labour Party over the past years. We are all different individuals. No body fits into the same box, and no one has the same needs. And it is the Labour Party’s policies over the years which have embraced this.
Be it the need to divorce our partners after years of being stuck in unhappy marriages, or the need to marry our best friends who happen to be of the same sex as us, the Labour Party has been on the side of diversity. Because of this, Malta has found itself embracing the realities of the future. We have found ourselves becoming more empathetic with those who fall outside of heteronormative stereotypical boxes, and we have legislated our society to function in a way which embraces us all.
And this mentality is now being exported. By way of example, more and more countries across the world have been introducing laws, which have been inspired by Malta and the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC). Additionally, countries across the globe are now looking towards Malta for its recently amended progressive divorce laws. All of this paves the way for more countries to recognise that the way we live our lives and the kinds of relationships we have should be a decision we take ourselves as autonomous individuals.
Malta is the European Country that it is today in spite of the Conservative faction which brought us to the gates of Europe. These past 16 years as European Union citizens has been defined by waves upon waves of progress, made by a progressive party- the Labour Party. A party which continues to progress in its search for a better, more equal European society.