Watch: Cash-for-passport scheme helped us save jobs, Abela says

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Partit Laburista leader Robert Abela said that the investment through cash-for-passport scheme has helped to save jobs during an interview on the party’s station.

Abela spoke about the criminal complaint over allegations concerning the incident involving P52 crew, the new environmental policies unveiled over the past weeks, the call of applications for the new police commissioner which will be appointed using a newly approved method and the coronavirus outbreak in Malta.

Asked about the current discussions with the EU institutions over the controversial IIP programme, Abela reiterated that citizenship was state competence and that the EU had no jurisdiction. He defended the programme saying that the investment generated through the programme is being used in the exceptional circumstances to shore up the economy and safeguard jobs.

Abela stressed that the government would have not been able to launch financial measures announced so far, if it were it not for the investment programme. Describing as the current programme as robust, Abela said that the government was open to revising the programme further but would not revoke it. He added that Malta had a good due diligence system and there were cases when rejected applicants sought a passport in other jurisdictions.

The Prime Minister drew comparisons in the approach adopted by the EU towards Malta on migration and the scheme. He noted that while migration was an EU competence, border states were being left alone.

The new police commissioner

Abela has described the new appointment method for the police commissioner as one of the most important changes in his first 100 days as Prime Minister. He said the change in the appointment method shows that the government has good governance at heart, adding that the new method was in line with the recommendations that Malta received from the Council of Europe body, the Venice Commission.

The call for application which was published this week will close on 11 May. Abela explained that once the call closes, the process will continue before the Public Service Commission, a constitutionally constituted body. The two shortlisted candidates will face a grilling before parliament after which the new commissioner will be chosen.

Abela appealed to the Opposition to adopt the same approach as in the case of the nomination of the new Chief Justice, Mark Chetcuti and the unanimous agreement reached on the appointment of the judiciary. He remarked that he hopes that the Opposition would agree on the candidate chosen to head the Police force.

Enjoying summer

Speaking about the coronavirus outbreak in Malta, Abela noted that the country had learnt from the experience of other countries and was well prepared to face the pandemic. He stressed that the gradual measures adopted by the country reflected the evidence at hand. Abela said that while the country was close to start easing off restrictions, one had to remain vigilant in order not to have a stronger second wave. He explained that Malta’s success in addressing the outbreak could be measured in a few months when one takes into consideration the economic recovery and the overall situation.

He said that his promise was that the people would be able to enjoy summer.