Malta News Briefing – Sunday 29 October 2023

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Morning Briefing

Malta hosts high-level Ukraine peace talks

Malta hosted the start of a two-day Ukraine-led peace negotiation on Saturday, with Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg highlighting the robust international participation as a vote of confidence in Malta’s role as a mediator for peace. Minister Borg mentioned that over 60 international delegations are partaking in the Ukraine Peace Forum, emphasizing the positive reception of the Maltese initiative by many countries. He stated, “This signifies trust in Malta’s position as a bridge for peace.” This peace summit, the third in recent months, enjoys Ukraine’s support as an opportunity to present Volodymyr Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan to nations worldwide, even though Russia has rejected the talks, branding them as biased and declining to attend. (Times of Malta)

Farsons CEO takes Fin Min to task on ‘cartel’ comments

Farsons CEO Norman Aquilina has expressed disappointment at Finance Minister Clyde Caruana for making what he sees as troubling generalisations about the dominance of ‘cartels’ in Malta’s market. Norman Aquilina pointed out that Caruana’s claims of limited competition in Maltese markets being linked to cartel behavior among major companies align with broader political narratives that tend to associate large businesses with anti-competitive practices. Aquilina referenced recent statements by Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba, who requested the European Commission to investigate local food importers for suspected collusion in raising food prices, alleging market collusion. He remarked that “these assertions blur the distinction between dominance and mere cartel association, as well as between legitimate profit and profiteering”. (Maltatoday)

Muscat admits ‘obscure interests’ in hospital deal – Grech

PN leader Bernard Grech has highlighted that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confessed to undisclosed interests in the government’s transfer of three hospitals to the private sector. This disclosure stems from a statement made by Muscat in response to an appeals court ruling that upheld a previous legal decision from last February. This ruling had invalidated an agreement dating back to 2015, in which three public hospitals were handed over to Vitals Health Care, a concession later assumed by Steward Health Care. The opposition leader remarked that Labour and Abela’s lies are so massive that they are even portraying the Court’s findings as if they are fabricated. Grech said that the actions revealed by the Court findings are indicative of treachery. (The Malta Independent)

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