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in order to be able to participate in urban development policy and cohesion funding, two areas of incredible importance to Malta, as we witness our nation facing sustainability issues. 4 Having worked in an international environment for about 18 years, which I enjoy thoroughly, I would be keen to take on some leadership role in foreign policy or security. But since I am also happy to be home after eight years in Brussels, I would fly down on a weekly basis, which is something I would certainly not look forward to. 5 To be honest, I have no idea, but polls do not appear to be one thing to go by in this day and age, the US presidential elections and Brexit being two examples. But ever since I announced my candidacy last November, not a single person has indicated that I made a mistake, apart from my father, but he is now my biggest fan and dedicated advisor. I feel that any Partit Demokratiku (PD) candidate deserves to win a seat because we are the only party, represented in Parliament, which brings the nation’s interest to the fore on a daily basis, with dedication and passion. PD winning a seat will mean that the candidate elected will have a full-time job as a politician, with five supporting staff, plus offices in Malta and Brussels, plus operating expenses. This would be a huge advantage to PD which is currently dependent on volunteers and donations, in contrast to the major parties which have established media machines, large party headquarters with staff, and party clubs in most towns and villages.

POLITICS

ISSUE 54

4. ROBERT MICALLEF Partit Laburista (PL) www.robertmicallef.eu

1 As a diplomat in Brussels I gained direct experience of the dynamics and formulation of European legislation. As Council Representative, I have experience in negotiating with the European Parliament and I believe that this has prepared me well to be an MEP. I have also worked as an advisor with the European Parliament and as an economist with the European Commission. During the Malta’s EU accession negotiations, I served as the economist of the EU delegation to Malta. 2 I think the work done at EU level should be communicated better with EU citizens to ensure a more effective connection between the public and the institutions. The main task of the European Parliament is to debate and vote on European legislation, just as the Maltese Parliament votes on national legislation. Most of the work is done in committees and more can done to ensure that the public is well informed about every development, most especially if it effects citizens. One other key point is that policies should not be devised with a one-size-fits-all approach, ensuring that the interests of small states like Malta are always protected. 3 My expectation is to hold a position in the European Parliament that carries influence. When it comes to the detail of legislative or budgetary work, MEPs can be very effective, and I feel I have an advantage, that of already knowing how the system works. Maltese MEPs over the years have never held the position of Chairs of EP committees and I believe that since I have negotiated as Council Representative with EP Committee Chairs, I have a fighting chance

to be considered at that level, particularly since I have a good network of contacts across all the political groups in the EP. Whatever position or committee is assigned to me, I pledge to be a dedicated and loyal representative for all Maltese and Gozitans, irrespective of the political party they support. 4 I enjoy the technical aspects of the work at the European Parliament. MEPs go through draft legislation paragraph by paragraph, amending it and rewriting it and, although at times this can be tedious, the result is fulfilling, particularly when a compromise with Council is achieved. The downside is that sometimes the public is not aware of what is negotiated on their behalf. If elected, I will hold regular public consultations to share my views about ongoing developments in the European Parliament. 5 I have many years of experience on EU matters but I’m not the most well-known candidate and it is not easy to get visibility when there are so many valid candidates contesting the elections. Having said that, I am overwhelmed by the positive feedback I get wherever I go. I am going around the country engaging with local communities and meeting people and organisations to explain my approach and to listen to people’s concerns. I think the European Parliament should not be a battleground for divisive partisan politics but a forum where all MEPs could work together with the objective of representing the interests of all Maltese and Gozitans.

Profile for BE.COMMUNICATIONS

MONEY MAY 2019 ISSUE 54