Hope for the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009

Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta

The conclusions of the European Council in December 2008 were widely welcomed in Malta as having already voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, there is hope that a second vote in 2009 in Ireland will result in adoption of the Treaty.

Malta also welcomes the agreement that every EU member state will retain a Commissioner in the European Commission. It also supports the decision taken vis-à-vis caps on CO2 emissions. Malta also committed itself to the decision taken for every EU member state to implement the European Economic Recovery Plan to help boost recovery in each country. In fact, Malta already announced an 80 million Euro package to beautify its capital Valletta, including the building in four years of a new parliament building.

Enthusiasm for the upcoming European Parliament elections

The forthcoming European Parliament elections, the second that Malta will be contesting, are being anticipated with a great deal of enthusiasm. The two main political parties, the Nationalist Party currently in government and in possession of two seats in the European Parliament, and the Labour Party, currently in possession of three seats, have already announced that they will be fielding a broad array of candidates for the five seats available, (will become six after 2009 if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified). A smaller third party, the Alternative Democrats, will also be contesting the June elections.

Possible delay of a new Commission

With regards to the formation of a new European Commission in autumn 2009, Malta is looking forward to continuing to be represented in the next college of Commissioners. Academic debate at the University of Malta about the possibility of a delay in ratification of the Lisbon Treaty led some to ponder that there could be a delay in the formation of a new Commission to the start of 2010.

Not much discussion over a High Representative

Little reference has been made to the appointment of a High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy although occasional reference to the lack of Javier Solana’s current active engagement in the Middle East has taken place.

Malta would like to see the EU enlargement process continue with Croatia allowed to join in the near future. One year after the adoption of the Euro, there is widespread belief that the country made the correct choice given the instability that subsequently emerged in the economic and financial markets. Solidarity between EU member states to address the international economic crisis has been very much welcomed by Malta which is seeking to weather the economic storm by coordinating its policy closely with Brussels.