14th Dec 2018

Malta facing second 'referendum' on EU

Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen does not understand the argument being put forward by the Maltese opposition Labour Party, claiming that the 8 March referendum result on EU membership is not valid as less than half of the total electorate voted Yes.

"I find difficulty in following the Labour Party argument," the Commissioner said on Monday.

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"For me the result is clear. Out of the 91% that voted, 53% have voted Yes and 46% No," he said.

But the Opposition Labour Party, which is against EU membership, said that besides those that voted No, the invalid votes and those that abstained from voting, should also be counted as being against EU membership - which added together, puts the percentage higher than those that voted Yes.

Following the contested result of the 8 March referendum by the two main political parties, the small island of Malta will be facing another, but this time decisive decision which will determine whether the island will join the EU or not in 2004 - the 12 April General Elections.

The race is between the incumbent pro-EU Nationalist government led by Eddie Fenech Adami and the Opposition Labour Party led by Alfred Sant.

Mr Sant has said that if his party is voted into office, it will replace the prospect of EU membership with a partnership instead.

Mr Verheugen said that the Commission will not interfere in any way in the 12 April Maltese General Election as it is a domestic issue.

But he also said that the Commission will be open to hear what kind of relationship Malta will like to have with the EU should the Malta Labour Party get into power.

"It's up to the country itself to establish what relationship it wants with the EU," Mr Verheugen said.

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