PN candidate Peter Agius: Maltese language demotion in Brussels is unacceptable

PN candidate Peter Agius: Maltese language demotion in Brussels is unacceptable

Tajani speechwriter and MEP candidate Peter Agius says he will not accept inferior status for Maltese language in Brussels.

The Nationalist candidate Peter Agius has said he will stand up the possible ‘demotion’ of the Maltese language inside the European Parliament, as capacity issues may affect translations for the language, as well as for Irish and Croatian.

“The latest news that European Parliament could do without Maltese interpretation in many fora of the institution is of utmost concern. This is unacceptable. We have no shortage of interpreters, we have a shortage of opportunities to become a full-time professional one,” Agius, a speechwriter for EP president Antonio Tajani said.

“There are more than 300 graduates who have read for a Masters in Maltese Translation and Interpretation from the University of Malta. As an MEP I would ensure that European Parliament recruiting policies are adapted to take stock of this reality. This matter affects our status in Brussels, I will not accept an inferior status for Maltese. In the past I contributed to end the derogation for the Maltese language translations. We can win this one as well.”

Read the full article published on Malta Today here.

Government does not understand how to fit Malta’s priorities into EU budget policies

Government does not understand how to fit Malta’s priorities into EU budget policies

The Labour government, unlike past PN administrations, does not have the ability to understand how to fit Malta’s priorities into the European Union’s budgetary headings and policies, PN MEP candidate Peter Agius has said.

Now that the end of the programme of EU funds that former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had negotiated is near, it is up to Labour to “sow the red strings” and secure a strong EU funding package for the upcoming period, Agius said.

“From the looks of it so far, Labour is not a good tailor,” he however lamented in an opinion piece published in The Malta Independent today.

“We secured strong EU funding packages in 2007 and 2013 because we understood how to fit Malta’s priorities into the Union’s budgetary headings and policies; That ability is now nowhere in sight”, he said.

Citing various projects such as the gas-fired power station, the Gozo tunnel, the “phantom” metro and the supposed drive for AI and the recently launched National Space Strategy, Agius said that “this government seems to still lack the ability to conjugate Maltese priorities with EU funding possibilities”.

He called for the government to plan ahead so to continue to benefit from EU funds, expertise and cooperation and to look more intensively towards direct funding programmes which award grants to private operators in a quality competition of projects submitted from all member states.

A brief look at statistics for the SME instrument reveals that Malta has the lowest success rate in Europe when it comes to these direct funding projects.

In the upcoming EU budget – which will cater for the period between 2021 and 2027 – more emphasis will be put on these direct funds, Agius said before adding that the government must empower Maltese businesses, civil society and educational establishments to be able to reap more fruit from this section of the next EU budget.

 

Article published on The Independent here.

Maltese problems, European solutions?

Maltese problems, European solutions?

The European People’s Party’s election of Manfred Weber as candidate for European Commission President to replace Jean Claude Juncker is good news for the Maltese people. Should Weber take the commission seat, we will count on a long-standing friendship, his ability to bridge different interests and his known attachment for the priorities of every country, irrespective of its size.

As a candidate of the Nationalist Party for the next MEP elections, I analyse Weber’s candidature for its relevance to provide solutions to the Maltese.

Since I started campaigning, I have met people from all walks of life, from farmers to entrepreneurs, from civil servants to manual workers. With all of these I discuss the Europe that they expect in their work and their daily life.

There are evidently different needs to be quelled with different sectors, and yet there are concerns which span all sectors of society. There is a widespread feeling that Europe did not act boldly enough on two main issues, firstly with regards to migration, where Malta remains at risk of migratory pressures beyond our capacities, and secondly, with regards to the Maltese government’s deficiencies on good governance and people’s own fundamental rights.

On migration, I expect the next European Commission President to clear the blockage of the Visegrád countries for a European system of solidarity. Recent intelligence reports say that up to 24 million young Africans may be considering the perilous voyage to Europe to escape from political instability, terrorism and famine in their countries. Europe has made small steps forward on migration, we have reinforced border controls and return mechanisms, but Malta still lacks the all-important guarantee of a legally binding migrant distribution mechanism.

We need to revise once and for all the perverse Dublin principle that the country of first entry remains responsible for migrants coming to Europe. The Maltese people also expect Europe to have clear rules on migrant movements and search and rescue responsibility. We cannot depend on Matteo Salvini’s moods on whether it is our responsibility to rescue migrants near Lampedusa nor on Joseph Muscat’s phone calls with Emmanuel Macron to strike weekly deals on distribution up north.

Weber’s possible election to Juncker’s post may also bring hope to those who feel that Juncker’s commission did not act decisively or sufficiently on cases of rule of law and fundamental rights in Malta.

We cannot expect Europe to solve our problems if we abstain from doing our part ourselves

In this regard I must say that while I share the people’s frustration on cases of intolerance to the freedom of expression or association, with swept off flowers and barricaded memorials impeding tribute to the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the doubtful handling of money laundering and corruption claims and hidden FIAU reports, I am less convinced that Maltese problems should be solved through European solutions.

As one wise man once said, Europe will not save us from our own shortcomings. If we want to safeguard our European legacy in Malta we must act to bring change through local politics. I must admit, in my knocking of doors I am meeting people who are presently not fully convinced with the Nationalist Party. They see us as still reeling from two mammoth defeats.

My word to these people is that no change will be coming their way unless they are part of it. We cannot expect Europe to solve our problems if we abstain from doing our part ourselves.

I cringe at the idea of Malta passing through the ordeals of Poland and Hungary with the use of Article 7 of the treaty reprimanding a member state for failing to uphold European values. I will do whatever in my competence to stop that from happening, not because it would be unmerited on fact, but because I trust that our democracy is strong enough to save itself from abuse.

Weber’s election also opens an important phase for European democracy. As the people of Malta and the EU will be weighing the political options to choose their representatives in the European Parliament, we will not only be choosing six individuals, we will also be choosing a vision of Europe.

Do we want this Europe to be bolder and stronger in the areas where it can make a difference to our lives? Do we want a Europe, which is a main actor at the international scene, on climate change and the environment as well as on trade?

For Europe to get closer to its people we should simplify its exercise. The European Parliament is proposing that the appointment of the next European Commission President is not a backroom deal between leaders in the European Council but the direct outcome of the European Parliament elections. The lead candidate of the European political party that gets the largest number of MEP seats should be the next Commission president.

Prime Minister Muscat has not yet declared whether he will support this step forward for European democracy or whether he will stick to a backroom deal between leaders in Brussels.

As the lead candidates for the main European Parties become known, we are entitled to know where we stand in this regard. Are we ready to go the full way with European democracy?

Peter Agius is a PN candidate for the European elections, former head of the European Parliament Office and cabinet member of the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece

Saturday, November 10, 2018,

Il-Brexit irid jiftħilna għajnejna ġo Malta. Għandna bżonn alleanzi ġodda fl-Ewropa.

Il-Brexit irid jiftħilna għajnejna ġo Malta. Għandna bżonn alleanzi ġodda fl-Ewropa.

Il-Brexit irid jiftħilna għajnejna ġo Malta. Għandna bżonn alleanzi ġodda fl-Ewropa. Sound up 🔊🔊 Intervista fuq NET FM ma' Jerome Caruana Cilia

Geplaatst door Peter Agius op Vrijdag 19 oktober 2018

EU veteran Peter Agius launches EU MEP campaign

EU veteran Peter Agius launches EU MEP campaign

EU veteran Peter Agius will be contesting the upcoming MEP elections with the Nationalist Party.

Peter Agius was the head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta for a number of years, and left to work as a speechwriter for the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in 2017. He is currently a Head of Unit in Tajani’s Cabinet. He was also in charge of the negotiations in Council and part of the legal service between 2002 and 2012.

In a statement today, he explained the reasons why he decided to contest.

“Eddie Fenech Adami promised a new spring for Malta in the European Union. That promise brought opportunity and prosperity for many Maltese. With membership, we opened horizons for our youth, for our businesses, for our economy. Our islands went through a speedy metamorphoses. MCAST was born, now producing top professionals in their areas. We invested in a specialised oncology centre for the fight against cancer. Our islands got a general facelift from St Angelo to St Elmo to the many squares and churces restored with EU funds.”

Read the full article here:  EU veteran Peter Agius launches EU MEP campaign