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POLITICS

10 ¡ MONE Y

ISSUE 54

Giselle is a freelance writer, proofreader and social media marketer who lives on Instagram and cappuccino. She runs Content for Success.

Are EU ready? As the European elections are fast approaching, Giselle Borg Olivier speaks to several candidates who, despite never having served as MEPS, already have a good grasp of the EU structure.

PETER AGIUS Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) www.peteragius.eu/

1 As an MEP candidate who is familiar with the EU, what is your experience of the place and the system? The EU is a union of interests where every actor lobbies a cause. Having been on the negotiating table both in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament, I found that the size of a country is rarely the most relevant consideration in its success in pushing through change or adapting to EU policies according to its specific needs. Competence, preparation and building allies are, on the other hand, imperative ingredients in achieving concrete results for the benefit of businesses and society. One factor to keep in mind when we think EU is that it is characterised by a live and let live way of thinking, where most actors will oblige to adapt to a particular need as long as it is properly explained and does not impinge on their own interests. This leaves a very good margin where a well-prepared MEP can deliver on many areas for Maltese sectors. 2 What do you think can be changed to make the EU more beneficial as an institution

and more beneficial to Malta as a member state? We Maltese need to be even more present and have more foresight when it comes to proposed legislation which has an impact on particular sectors of society. This is not easy given our limited resources and lack of presence in Brussels by several key actors. The Chinese have 500 journalists in Brussels while we have none. The French unions have offices in Brussels; we don't. To counter this, we must be much more efficient and channel resources to anticipate developments in key areas. This is imperative because intervening early can spell the difference between success and failure when adapting EU laws to the needs of Maltese businesses for instance. A second measure one must implement urgently is for all Maltese actors to coordinate better in Brussels – what we lack in numbers should be made up for by being more organised. 3 What are your expectations of becoming an MEP (should you be elected)? I worked in the EU for the last 16 years and

negotiated legislation in several areas, including controversial ones with high stakes so I do know what the role of an MEP is and entails. I will commit myself to putting my bureaucratic insight of the system to optimal use by delivering results to Maltese sectors of society – from those who have been neglected, such as the farming community, to areas where industry-related opportunities have not been exploited, with more emphasis and empowerment on EU direct funds and a new drive for research and innovation in Malta. To cite an example, the next five years could be critical in terms of Malta's uptake of AI and robotics. We must be at the forefront of the digital revolution for us to exploit it to the full. 4 What are you most looking forward to should you be elected? And what are you not looking forward to?

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MONEY MAY 2019 ISSUE 54