Now that "the government that listens" has made it clear it will neither listen to the Maltese people nor the European institutions, and that it will rough-shod ahead with its "leading programme" of selling Maltese citizenships, we'd do well to review with hindsight how Edward Scicluna, our Minister of Finance, had replied to questions and tried to misguide the European Parliament on this scheme (click here for video).
Scicluna had told the EP that the scheme will be capped to around 50 a year (therefore 250 in five years) and that the €8 to €15 million funds made from this scheme will not be necessary to balance our budget. "They're just a token, no big deal compared to our €3 billion budget."
On the other hand, Muscat is now saying that it will be capped to 1,800 foreigners (7 times more than Scicluna's cap) and that it will generate in excess of €1 billion (70 times more than his actual Finance Minister's highest estimate). Various Labour MPs have also repeatedly stated that without it they will have to introduce new taxes, and that Labour's whole electoral promises were based on it.
So, which one is true? Is anyone in government actually leading the country, or is it just management-by-crisis, government-by-polls, and paying back those who helped?
As Scicluna said, "if I was an MEP here, and I hear that Malta was selling passports for two...er...thousand, I would say for goodness sake I wouldn’t expect that from Malta. And you would have been right."
Yes Profs Scicluna. I agree. Yesterday 560 MEPs told you they don't expect that from Malta. Now please tell your Prime Minister that these 560 MEPs including Casa and Metsola are right. It's his four MEPs and a couple of other extremists who are wrong. (I hope Marlene Mizzi yesterday at least learned how many MEPs there are.)
In the meanwhile, our Prime Minister should stop labelling "traitors" and "negatives" whoever criticizes his policies and his government. Putting "Malta first and foremost" is not equal to putting your government first and foremost. Government and country, they're not the same thing. Unless it's China or some other of his dictatorship friends.
Muscat, l'État n'est pas toi.