The voice of small EU states will be silenced by a federal Europe – Sant
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“A strong Europe is in everyone’s interests, but a federal Europe will silence the voice of these small member states, including Malta,” MEP Alfred Sant told the audience attending a Conference on ‘The future of Europe,’ which was held in Malta.
He remarked that, a major dilemma facing small member EU states like Malta, Cyprus, Ireland and Denmark is that while it is in their interests that the EU strengthens controls on security and on tax evasion.
“These same member states want to maintain their sovereignty to secure their sovereignty on national governance involving the major sectors of administration.”
The recent threats of terrorism across Europe called for the strengthening of existing structures within the Schengen area, stated Dr Sant. “It’s in Malta’s interests that Schengen is protected because this makes it easier for tourists to reach Malta.”
He continued by saying that, “controls across Schengen areas, which previously did not exist, have already been introduced. One proposal now includes a similar structure to that of the FBI in the United States to ensure that terrorists do not abuse the Schengen area.”
The European Commission is strengthening its arguments in favour of tax harmonisation across all EU member states, said the MEP. “It’s in the interests of member states like Malta to maintain their sovereignty over taxation.”
He added that “what’s good for large countries like Germany and France is not necessarily in the interests of the member states on the periphery of Europe. One-size-fits all policies is unfair on matters of taxation for these small countries.”
The European economy has picked up to the pre-2008 levels and unemployment is being tackled, said Dr Sant. “Nonetheless precarious work is on the increase, citizens are afraid of immigration and terrorism and populism is on the rise across Europe.”
The MEP commented that, “divergencies between different regions in Europe are widening further, which must be addressed, because in certain regions, including in East Germany, generations of young people are feeling marginalised.”
“The euro must be strengthened, said Alfred Sant. He pointed out that it still lacks all certain structures. “The problem is that a federal system is being proposed to strengthen the euro. This automatically means that member states will lose their sovereignty in this field.”
The MEP remarked that Malta must follow developments in the negotiations between the EU and the UK on Brexit.
“The UK is the second largest contributor to the EU Budget, after Germany. As a nation we must analyse the positive and less positive effects of Brexit. We must reflect on the effects on investments in Malta, on students studying in the UK and on Maltese and Gozitan pensioners after Brexit.”
“Europe must take into account new international developments, stated Dr Sant, “including the new Trump American policy versus Europe, instability sources created with the post Gaddafi geo-political void, the phenomenon of immigration across central and east Mediterranean, the strategic competition between the EU and Russia and relations with Turkey.”
“All these factors will influence and determine the future of Europe,” concluded Alfred Sant.