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The Maltese government realizes that they are taking the lead of the Council of the EU in a time of the re-emergence of extreme nationalism and anti-European populism. The recent disinformation of European policies, the false claims and the dissatisfaction with the living conditions lead certain people to abandon the idea of the European dream more than ever. Moreover, even persons of high authority such as the European Commission’s Vice-President Frans Timmermans claim that there is a risk of EU failure. Such claims only destabilize the European citizens even further. The Maltese believe that the EU spirit have been devastated by the economic crisis of 2008, the refugee crisis, Brexit and the Daesh. In this regard, Malta’s deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech announced : “Our presidency will try to provide hope so that the trust in the EU institutions is restored. But we need to find a balance. There is no one fit-for-all solution’’ (Vincenti, 2016a).
The Maltese argue that the faith in the EU can be restored by recreating a new vision. In February, Malta will organize a summit in order to discuss a brand new vision of the European Union in the respect of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Perhaps that could freeze the raising movement of nationalism. Other solution to the issue proposed by the Maltese government is the work on having the citizens credibility. It is true that the European institutions are not very efficient at getting the right message across. Often they are perceived as a superpower or an elite that impose law and regulations from above. The message should be clear : the Institutions operate in order to improve the life and livelihood of European citizens, and the latter are welcome to engage.
The current political circumstances are extremely sensitive. The election of Donald Trump has destabilized the Europeans. The French, German and Dutch presidential elections are just across the corner. In order to paint the picture brighter, there is also Brexit, the continuous migrant crisis and a risk of terrorism. It is essential to keep Europe united in diversity more than ever and to reignite the fascination with the European dream in the minds of its citizens. Only the time will show whether the Maltese can turn their promises into actions and whether their solutions are effective enough.
European Parliament (2017). EU Council: Maltese MEPs share their expectations for their country taking over the presidency. Accessed at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20161207STO54929/eu-council-meps-share-expectations-for-malta-taking-over-the-presidency
Vincenti D. (2016a). Maltese presidency gears up for the perfect storm. Accessed at https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-priorities-2020/news/maltese-presidency-gears-up-for-the-perfect-storm/
Vincenti D. (2016b). Malta vows to reunite Europe during its presidency. Accessed at http://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/malta-vows-to-reunite-europe-during-its-presidency/
Vincenti D . (2016c). Malta bets on pragmatic idealism for its EU presidency. Accessed at http://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/malta-bets-on-pragmatic-idealism-for-its-eu-presidency/?nl_ref=28645749