Malta News Briefing – Sunday 6 June 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Update 1414 – Football in mourning

Former Footballer, coach and pundit Edward Aquilina passed away on Sunday. TVM

Update 1235 – Covid19 Update

The number of active cases in Malta is 74, after three new cases were registered on Sunday. There were 5 recoveries reported.

Update – 1200 – Political debates Prime Minister Robert Abela was scathing in his evaluation of the Nationalist Party’s proposal to buy back land in Ħondoq ir-Rummien, questioning how the party could promise to buy something without knowing its price tag. MaltaToday “Is there an ulterior motive behind this person advising the party to buy this piece of land?”, Abela questioned. “Who is advising Bernard Grech?”, Abela questioned rhetorically after reminding that it was the PN which had changed the local plans in 2006 which would allow development at Hondoq. “It’s the same person who was part of that 2006 local plan exercise.  Is there an ulterior motive behind this person advising the party to buy this piece of land? Does the PN leader have a different scope when suggesting this?” Independent

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has said that Malta’s inability to make it to the UK’s green list of safe travel destinations is due to the government’s inaction on making the right decisions earlier in the year.  PN Leader Grech was being interviewed by Robert Cremona on NET TV on Sunday morning. He was asked about the tourism sector, saying that the Nationalist party is ‘disappointed’ with the decision as it understands how important it is for tourists to travel to Malta.  He blamed the government, saying that the UK left Malta out of its quarantine free-travel list because of wrong decisions which were taken months ago. Independent

Survey analysis

PN leader Bernard Grech said that while surveys provide a snapshot of current events, they don’t need to be taken as gospel. “Surveys are a snapshot, as I’ve always said before. We have to take note of them, but they’re not everything. Today’s snapshot shows that the party is more or less how it was in the last survey, while the leadership gap has decreased. This means that, somehow, the message is arriving but the party isn’t convincing enough,” he said. PM Robert Abela, said that the Nationalist Party faces two problems: that of being “too negative” with government, and a lack of credibility caused by this. “That’s the biggest difference between government and ppposition […] This government has the credibility to solve problems.” Maltatoday

Newspaper Review

Malta Today says that the owners of land in Ħondoq ir-Rummien told the government that they would consider selling the area for €17 million. The site is earmarked for a development project that includes a yacht marina, hotel, and villas.

The Independent on Sunday speaks with Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri who declared that he is against development in Ħondoq ir-Rummien. Asked whether the area should be returned to ODZ, the minister said that was a decision for the Cabinet.

Il-Mument follows a press event addressed by PN spokesperson for the environment Robert Cutajar who promised that a Nationalist government would bay private land in Ħondoq ir-Rummien and give it back to the public.

The Sunday Times reports that Malta has cut its infection rate of the MRSA bacterium by a third using an innovative procedure. The technique gives hope to other health systems in the Mediterranean and the Middle East where the superbug is prevalent.

Kullħadd says that the tourism sector has been encouraged by the first arrivals since the reopening of the tourist season on Tuesday. The biggest markets were France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Illum speaks with a senior government official who said that the decision by the UK to restrict the green travel list is a political confrontation with the EU and expresses frustration that Malta has been thrown in the middle of it.

It-Torċa quotes a report by credit agency Fitch which warns that a proposed global minimum tax of 15 per cent could have a negative impact on Malta’s economy. The recommendation will be discussed at a G20 summit this summer.

The Sunday Times reports that the Financial Action Task Force is urging the Finance Ministry to enact series of reforms ahead of a decision on Malta’s compliance with international anti-money laundering standards.

The Independent on Sunday reveals that the Financial Services Authority has received more than 60 applications for the post of CEO. The majority of the candidates are from overseas and the selection process is expected to be completed next month.

Malta Today publishes results of the monthly trust ratings which put Prime Minister Robert Abela 21 percentage points ahead of Opposition Leader Bernard Grech. Both leaders registered an increase from last month.

Il-Mument quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech during the State of the Nation conference hosted by the Office of the President. Grech appealed for the political courage to make decisions that facilitate unity.

Illum publishes survey results showing that half the population wants Malta to keep participating in the Eurovision song contest. Asked whether the country should enter with a song in Maltese, a fifth agreed and 45 per cent disagreed.

It-Torċa reports that active Covid-19 cases rose 76 on Saturday after nine new cases were registered and seven cases recovered. More than 230,000 people have received the full vaccination dosage while 325,000 have been given the first dose.

Kullħadd claims that PN operators are trying to persuade MP Toni Bezzina not to contest the general election to avoid direct competition for first votes with party leader Bernard Grech in the Fifth District.

Morning Briefing

Govt in wait and see approach on G7 tax deal: Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana said that it was too early to comment on the agreement reached by the G7 countries regarding the minimum tax on multinational companies. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan agreed that large companies should be taxed in countries where they operate and that the overall tax for large companies would be at least 15%. Speaking to TVM, Caruana said that details still need to be finalised. “However, while I understand that big countries have big financial challenges and want to see more taxes paid by big multinational companies, they need to understand that every country has its realities”, he added.

PN Govt would turn Hondoq into a public park: A future PN-led Government would purchase Ħondoq ir-Rummien site in Gozo and turn it into a public park. Speaking at a press conference celebrating World Environment Day, PN spokesperson for Gozo Chris Said said that, if elected into government, the PN would immediately enter into talks with the private owners of the stretch of coastline in Qala.The party said the area it was eyeing was some 75,000 square metres in size. Said said that the area, which developers want to turn into a tourist village with a marine, would be turned into a public park within its first legislature.

Covid-19 Update: Nine new COVID-19 cases were reported by health authorities on Saturday, while seven persons recovered. A total of 2764 swab tests were carried out the day before. No deaths were reported, while active cases have increased to 76.

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