On a banking union, Malta is 'cautiously optimistic'

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imagesPrime Minister Joseph Muscat has described Malta’s position on a banking union as ‘cautiously optimistic’. This came after confirmation of EU leaders desire for an agreement by the end of the year, on a scheme to resolve failed banks at European level. Although Malta agreed on general points, no significant development is expected to take place until September due to elections taking place in the coming months. As pressures for further centralisation increases, the government will continue pushing for national control. Malta would certainly not accept a state where it had to accept instructions by others: ‘A basic democratic principle is for the electorate to elect its government to take decisions. We are open to scrutiny and recommendations but not for our budget to be dictated by others… a sentiment also shared by many member states’, Muscat added. The Prime Minister is expected to be in Zagreb, Croatia this Sunday as the EU formally welcomes the country as its 28th member state. Yet, restrictions will be made on the freedom of movement from Malta to Croatia, for a period of two years. As with previous agreements, the Treaty of Accession permits member states to apply temporary restrictions on access to their labour markets. Youth unemployment has been at the forefront of the June summit where Muscat highlighted the existence of a contradiction in Europe’s stance, as the EU anticipated decreasing rates of youth unemployment, but also insists on increasing retirement age. The conformation that it was not solely a public perception was the fact it has been restated with the Commission singling out the legal system as posing a risk to economic stability.