Q&A Session with MEPs Miriam Dalli and Alfred Sant
"If you want to become an MEP, you should be determined to make a positive difference (Miriam Dalli) and ideally have done something other than politics before (Alfred Sant)", the audience present were told in reply to a question on what qualities one should have to become a good MEP.
MEPs Miriam Dalli and Alfred Sant were kept on the ball in the first in a series of question-and-answer sessions between MEPs and the public at Valletta Food Market on Wednesday evening.
In a varied evening, between questions asked directly by the audience and others being posted live on Slido, the two MEPs covered topics ranging from the much-discussed coronavirus outbreak and how the EU is dealing with it to issues of corruption on a local level.
On health issues, both MEPs noted that there was no single, EU-wide healthcare policy. Dr Dalli stated that it was therefore the responsibility of member states to take precautions, while Dr Sant added that balancing health security with freedom of movement was the challenge being faced by many.
On Brexit and the future of Europe, Dr Sant observed that “Brexit is done but not yet”, referring in particular to fisheries and how claims to regaining past fishing rights could, for instance, reignite fresh tensions.
Dr Dalli appealed to the audience to participate in the public consultations on the future of Europe, in particular given the emphasis on citizen participation that Parliament was insisting upon. Migration was another topic that featured, where Dr Sant admitted that a wholesome, EU-wide migration policy was still in the making but that deterrence of people using irregular routes was not an option for most governments.
He also replied to a question on Euroscepticism, stating that while not a believer in federalism himself, the term “Euroscepticism” was not one he liked to use. On the other hand, he believed that there is a sincere cleavage between those who believe in the federalist way forward and those of the Gaullist tradition, that is, in the co-operation of nation states.
On corruption, Dr Sant stated that he believed that corruption should be dealt with, but that this was primarily the responsibility of the Maltese government and not the EU.
Finally, when asked about what the European Parliament does best, the MEPs concluded that Parliament is the institution that “talks” most but also where much research takes place, making it an invaluable institution.
The event was organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Malta with our support in the context of the together.eu campaign, which was also presented along with the promotional material that was distributed.