New SEM CEO: “This is what makes the EU unique.”

In a conversation with ‘The Journal’, SEM’s new CEO, Rodrick Zerafa, discusses his takeaways from yesterday's Eurovision Debate featuring the frontrunners for the European Commission presidency.

“Yesterday’s Eurovision debate is just one example of what the European Union is all about – different political views and ambitions with regard to what the future of the Union should be,” the  newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM), Rodrick Zerafa told The Journal. “This is what makes the European Union unique and this is what all Maltese and Europeans should aspire for: finding ways of coming together to achieve common goals.”

SEM is the government agency that acts as a one-stop shop for all things EU-related in Malta. It provides information about EU funds, opportunities, and career paths within the Union.

Yesterday’s debate in Brussels was the last major one before the European elections, and it was organised by the the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The five leading candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission from the main European political groups – Ursula von der Leyen (European People’s Party), Nicolas Schmit (Party of European Socialists), Walter Baier (European Left), Sandro Gozi (Renew Europe Now), and Terry Reintke (Greens) – debated key issues facing the 27-strong bloc. The far-right wasn’t formally included but their presence still loomed large in the discussion. It was an engaging exchange of views on the future of Europe, with topics on the agenda including the economy and jobs, defence and security, climate and environment, democracy and leadership, migration and borders, as well as innovation and technology. 

📺 If you missed the live debate, you can watch a recording here:

Rodrick Zerafa noted that, as European citizens, the Maltese are part of a much bigger family of Europeans who may not share the same views, just like the different political stances of the different political groups in the European Parliament, and like the different political views of the lead candidates, who yet share the same values and aspirations for a united and democratic Europe.  

He called on Maltese citizens to remember that, by voting in the upcoming European elections, they will be participating in the shaping of their future in the EU. By deciding which Members of the European Parliament will represent them, they will be participating in the choice of who will be preparing new laws which will affect them in their everyday life.

SEM’s CEO, Rodrick Zerafa

“Yesterday’s debate reminds us of a very important truth – that in today’s interconnected world, global challenges cannot be addressed by individual countries alone,” SEM’s CEO noted. “Climate change, security and defence, democracy, immigration, jobs, and the economy, are all topics that need collective efforts for collective achievements.”

The debate, he added, also reminds us that the European Union needs to always return to the very fundamental aims that it was founded for: to promote peace, solidarity, and the well-being of its citizens. Hence it should uphold and safeguard the values that shaped it throughout the years: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights.

“My aspiration for the future of the European Union is that, in the coming years, it acts as a beacon of hope to European citizens and give them a sense of trust that their needs and aspirations are addressed and that they are truly put always at the centre of its initiatives,” said Rodrick Zerafa.

Main photo: Philippe Buissin/EU

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