The Gonzi government has disappointed EU aspirations – AD

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ADAlternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, Dr Harry Vassallo, has said that the Gonzi administration had disappointed the legitimate expectations of those who were in favour of EU membership. “The premiership of Lawrence Gonzi will go down in history as a step backward in the country’s political development,” Dr Vassallo said.

“Everybody who contributed to the accession process fully understood that a new era was to unfold in which civil society organizations as well as ordinary citizens were to be respectfully consulted and would be able to contribute more profoundly to the proper administration of the country,” Dr Vassallo said.

“The pre-accession consultation has been transformed by the Gonzi administration into a historical deception and the time time that followed has been a profound disappointment of the just expectations of everybody concerned. While Labour misread the times in opposing EU membership, then being obliged to make its historic U-turn on the issue, the Gonzi administration has done worse by cruelly disappointing those whose support had been gained on the understanding that politics in Malta would be conducted in a different manner,” Dr Vassallo said.

“The Gonzi premiership is a worthy heir to the autocratic post-independence regimes which stepped into the shoes of colonial rulers and took on the worst aspects of their rule while spouting xenophobic and anti-colonial rhetoric” Dr Vassallo said “In 2007 the Gonzi administration carried out a pre-budget consultation exercise without giving any indication of the amount of public funds that were expected to be available to implement any proposals that would be made and thereby showing clearly that the exercise was little more than a public relations exercise. This was confirmed by the fact that budget proposals were invited from the public in the days preceding the budget speech when nothing could be altered. The public was treated as completely naïve and ignorant,” Dr Vassallo added.

“This was a continuation up to the last minute of this administration of a policy of disrespect which has been its hallmark,” Dr Vassallo said. “The numerous violations by the Gonzi government of EU directives as documented by the EU commission are evidence of the distance between the claims of this administration to have a monopoly on the credit for EU membership and its dismal performance as an EU member government. Dr Gonzi has to decide whether he is pro-EU membership or an old style autocratic Prime Minister stepping into the shoes of a British Governor.”

“The illegal extension of development zones in 2006 and the relaxation of height limitations since 2003 combined with the enormous surplus of dwelling houses documented in the 2005 Census published in 2007, display an autocratic refusal to consult even with the highly qualified technical staff employed by the planning regulator” Dr Vassallo said. “After years of denying the existence of a massive property surplus, the Gonzi administration has added to it massively and irresponsibly in defiance of EU law while sticking firmly to its policy not to address the key issues of the price of property and the rent laws,” Dr Vassallo said.

“The Gonzi administration has systematically devalued all consultation exercises and despite its florid rhetoric on EU membership. has acted on its own in defiance of economic reality and EU regulations,” Dr Vassallo said. “On the matter of the price of property affecting every family and every business in the country, the government remains in deep denial revealing its commitment to the building industry above its obligation to all citizens to administer the country prudently and wisely. The legacy of the Gonzi administration will be a major economic and social challenge brought about by a lack of consultation and a refusal by government to submit to the rule of law.”

He added that the election of Alternattiva Demokratika candidates to parliament will make arrogant and obstinate governments a thing of the past and oblige any government to respect ordinary citizens. “It is definitely the responsibility of any government to acknowledge the absurdity of obliging young families to take out 40 year loans to buy a modest home when there are 53,000 vacant properties in the country of which 60 require minor repairs or no repairs at all. Those who voted in favour of EU membership desired a government that was sensitive to their needs, instead they have had the Gonzi administration inflicted upon them.

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