“The Government will continue to work on reforms to improve governance and strengthen journalism” – PM

Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader Robert Abela has declared that from next week the Government will start consulting with the involved parties about the recommendations in the report of the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. In a telephone link-up on ONE Radio, Dr Abela said the Government will be facing this challenge with a sense of responsibility and national unity so that the country can continue with its programme of reforms in the sectors of governance and journalism. Dr Abela stressed that these changes will strengthen the manner in which the State and the country’s institutions will work.

During the telephone link-up, Dr Abela stated that the two pillars that will guide the Government for this challenge are responsibility and national unity. The Prime Minister went on to explain that national unity did not mean everyone would agree about everything, but rather, the development of lines of thought whilst debating, whilst showing respect to everyone. Dr Abela expressed the opinion that these changes will strengthen the manner in which the State and the country’s institutions work.

The Prime Minister stated that a reform is necessary for journalism, which is the fourth pillar of democracy in the country. Dr Abela recalled that changes in this sector had been carried out in recent years, including the removal of criminal libel. The speaker explained, however, that the country is now entering into a new phase where the basis for sustainability of the profession has to be drawn up. Dr Abela mentioned, among others, that during the pandemic the Government has assisted the media to survive, and remarked that the inquiry’s recommendations are a good beginning for this profession to be improved upon.

Referring to the Opposition, the Prime Minister stated that he would not play partisan games, and remarked that the Opposition’s attitude will be left to the people to judge. Dr Abela reiterated the Government’s commitment to continue to provide the necessary resources to the country’s institutions whilst continuing to respect their independence.

The Prime Minister further stated that the Government will continue to create opportunities and incentivize diligence. The speaker noted that during the first six months of the year the number of persons dependent on social benefits had dropped by 3% when compared with the same period of the previous year. Dr Abela remarked that this reduction compares well with the 2008 economic crisis when there had been an increase of 900 persons on social benefits.

Dr Abela stated that this year the Government will be investing more than the one billion euro of last year in social benefits. The speaker remarked that even in the forthcoming budget the Government will continue to help those most in need, adding that this is not an expense but rather, an investment that bears fruit in terms of human dignity. The Prime Minister said that although the Government is not perfect, the people know where they stand with it.