Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Buzek's speech before the Maltese Parliament

Malta -
Monday, January 24, 2011

Dear Speaker Frendo,
Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in being here with you today in this magnificent building. I know that this year you are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the establishment of your first representative assembly.

If the heart of a democracy is its people, its soul must be its Parliament.

Malta and my native Poland joined the European Union together in 2004. Our two countries might be located in different corners of our continent but we shared the same hopes and dreams when we joined.

Today, after almost seven years we can honestly say that our membership has been a great success. Our economies have grown, and being part of the EU has helped weather the storm of the world's economic crisis.
But it is not only that Malta is part of the EU and the euro; it is also your sound decision making which have saved your country from the worst of the financial crisis.

Malta was amongst the last EU member states to enter recession and amongst the first to emerge from it in 2009.

With hard work you have managed to bring down your deficit to 3.8% of GDP last year and you appear well on track to achieve your target of 2.8% at the end of 2011. Many Member States could learn from your economic policies.  

But what the economic crisis has shown is that in the EU we all face common challenges - such as rising international food and oil prices, climate change, energy security and illegal immigration.

Malta's concerns are Europe's concerns as much as Europe's concerns must be Malta's. But the answer to these challenges is not less Europe, but more Europe.  
We have to find common strategies, and have common actions because this is what makes Europe strong. No country will come out of the economic crisis alone. This is why it is so crucial for us to implement the legislation we need to achieve our EU 2020 strategy for economic recovery.

We need to close the gaps that still exist in the internal market. We need to make sure that the next Multiannual Financial Framework will provide EU funds for the investments we need in infrastructure, innovations, and education, because that is where real job creation exists.

Dear Friends,
I believe in Europe because the European Union provides a value added which is a benefit to our citizens. Let me give you one example which is of particular concern to Malta - illegal immigration.

I am proud to say that the European Parliament was the institution which acknowledged the challenge that your country faces in this issue, and was the first to offer concrete solutions.

We believe that a member state should not be left alone when faced with a challenge. It has to be our common responsibility. This is why we supported compulsory solidarity for intra-EU burden sharing.

I can assure you that the European Parliament will keep its eyes on this issue. I am glad that it is a Maltese MEP who is playing an active role in this field as rapporteur on the Frontex agency. Your voice is being heard.

Dear Colleagues,
Let me turn to my next point. The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has strengthened closer relations between the European Parliament and the national parliament of Malta.

It has given you the power to flag legislation you feel is not compatible with the principle of subsidiarity. We need to continue hearing your voice in this too.  
European law is not something that is invented in Brussels, it has to be something that we all share and feel responsible for. No matter if we are national our European legislators - we all work for the same citizens.

I believe we are developing very good cooperation, and mutual understanding, on all levels. You are becoming genuine partners in our legislative process, making European legislation better

I am glad to say that your five, soon to be six, MEP's are an active group which is highly respected. It is important that the people of Malta are well represented in Brussels and Strasbourg. My only comment would be, bring us more of the same!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This leads me to my last point, Malta's strategic importance as a key player in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Throughout history, your country has served as an important bridge between North and South. A crucial link connecting two continents. We rely on your expertise, make your voice heard!

We have all followed the recent Jasmine revolution in Tunisia with great concern, but also with hope. We need to find practical ways to help Tunisia develop a strong and stable democracy.

The EU has offered immediate assistance to prepare the elections; an aid package to address economic and social issues and to consolidate the rule of law. But we need your advice on what else the EU can and should do. Malta should take the lead on this issue.  

A successful transition to democracy in Tunisia will have far-reaching implications not only for Europe, but for the whole of North Africa and the Middle East. We need to get this right.

Dear Colleagues,
Malta has had a turbulent history, and we as politicians and legislators have to always guard that this turbulence remains in the past.

As we start this new decade of the 21st century I think we should all be guided by the last stanza of your national anthem:

May he who rules, for wisdom be regarded!
In master mercy, strength in man increase!
Confirm us all, in unity and peace!

Let us have the wisdom to make the right decisions for the citizens we represent so that we can keep our European Union in unity and peace.

Thank you.