The PM: despite an unjust result for Malta… it strengthens my resolve to face further challenges
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that although the FTAF decision to place Malta under monitoring was unjust and undeserved, the Government the Government will not react in a bare-faced manner and will continue determined to implement reforms as it has done for the last 18 months to strengthen good governance in the country.
During a media conference at Castille after media reports that Malta has been placed on FATF’s Grey List, the PM said the reforms that Malta had implemented over the last 18 months with conviction were because this Government is for modernisation and strong governance.
He said these are sacrosanct principles and as a Prime Minister he is assuring all families, employees and commercial enterprises they will be provided with the best regulatory structures and the best institutions to defend their rights.
He said that those in the FATF forum, technical persons, who had strongly spoken on behalf of Malta regarding measures taken by the country had presented Malta’s situation well.
The Prime Minister said that at no time had the national interest been by-passed or measures taken to weaken the prosperity of families and the country’s commercial enterprises because, in his opinion, the measures taken were sufficient to convince otherwise.
He said that last May, Moneyval had acknowledged the changes implemented and had recommended that Malta had conformed to the requests made to countries. He said this report has not highlighted in any manner that Malta should not be recommended for conforming to the requested measures.
He maintained this also applies to the Venice Commission and the EU Commission to reform measures taken in favour of good Governance.
Dr Abela said that today’s FATF process needs to conform that all the reform measures carried out are in effective process. The measures taken have been so comprehensive that little else needs to be done. The Government will continue with its dialogue to convince and if needed, to take more measures.
The Prime Minister also had a message of thanks for all those who have worked hard in recent months to implement the process and said the fruits of their labour will be seen in the forthcoming period of time.
He said the Government will continue to back enterprises to incentivise employment and to attract local and foreign investment and pointed out that over the last 18 months the Government has strongly legislated in favour of good Governance.
The Prime Minister said today’s news offers new challenges but these will be faced and met by the Government. In fact, it strengthens his determination to appeal to the community and all those of goodwill.
Regarding the impact that today’s FATF’s vote may have, Dr Abela said that during the pandemic many were saying that 50,000 jobs will be lost but in fact the unemployment rate is even less than before the pandemic while the economy has increased and will continue to expand.
He also said the economy has continued to remain strong despite forecasts it would be impacted by Brexit and this is because this Government knows how to meet its challenges.
He appealed for national unity that has helped the country to meet challenges. For the country to convey its message it must do so as Team Malta and in greater unity.
The Prime Minister said that although there were some that wanted to play partisan political games, his responsibility is that of directing the Government, building on the positive and making changes that are needed. He said the Government will strengthen its resolve to ensure that Malta and Gozo will progress further.