Helpline for Maltese in the UK to register with the Malta High Commission in London
In Parliament, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat explained Government steps being taken in the eventuality that Great Britain exits from the EU without a formal agreement being reached.
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia declared the Opposition favours the attainment of a formal exit agreement. He requested clarification from the PM as to the direction taken by commitments and measures he had outlined. He agreed the two countries should maintain strong historic relations. He also agreed that British residents be given ten years of assured residence and maintained the Government should insist that Maltese citizens residing in Britain be given the same agreement right.
Dr Delia asked how the Government’s direction has affected commerce and those entities wishing to relocate in Malta while expressing his regret that the mercantile company P& O has registered its fleet in Cyprus. He also asked about the form of communication being given by the Government to properly inform the diverse sectors that will be affected by Brexit.
Other questions were made by MPs Robert Cutajar, Kristy Debono, Edward Zammit Lewis, Simon Busuttil, Robert Arrigo and Hermann Schiavone.
In his answers Prime Minister Muscat said there has been an increase in interest from companies in Britain seeking to relocate in Malta, including the top gaming company, William Hill.
He announced that as from next week a helpline is to be launched to help Maltese in the UK register with Malta’s High Commission in London. He said the transfer of pensions will remain and British residents will be able to contest in Maltese Local Elections.
Regarding the loss of EU Funds if no agreement is reached between Britain and the EU, the Prime Minister said that Malta will suffer a loss of €6 million annually for a period of two years. He maintained however that the No Deal basis is leading to more foreign investment in Malta. The Government is also taking steps about a possible loss of tourists from the British market to be compensated with increases from other markets as well as the affect of the pound sterling on the market. He also added the English Language is to remain as an official language in the EU. The question of visa issues is to be settled at European level.
He said that if there is to be an extension by the EU for Britain to clarify its exit position, this will not be extended beyond May.
The PM said that Malta is losing its greatest ally in the principle of tax harmonisation. However, there are others countries that agree with Malta, including Belgium, Ireland, Holland, the Baltic countries and Cyprus. He said the Government is striving to ensure that fees paid by Maltese students studying in Britain will not be increased.
On his part, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Chris Fearne, said the agreements for the training of doctors and specialisation in universities and hospitals will remain. Malta will also have access to European centres of medical excellence. Maltese patients will continue to benefit from UK medical services while the Medical Council is making great endeavours to quicken the process of British specialists being able to operate in Malta.
The Government has also found a solution regarding 2,000 different medicines imported from Britain while the private sector is seeking solutions on the purchase of medicines.
Il-Gvern b’miżuri biex f’każ ta’ Brexit bla ftehim il-mediċini ma jogħlewx