Caught in Europe’s Path

From the September-October 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

During Malta’s brief flirtation with a left-wing government between 1996 and 1998, the country opted out of pursuing European Union membership. However, following Labor leader Alfred Sant’s defeat at the polls in 1998, the nationalists, guided by the wily president of Malta, Guiodo de Marco, aggressively pushed for EU membership to be placed back on the political agenda.

As relations between the EU and Malta warmed once again, both the government and Maltese business representatives seemed destined to win the day in swinging public opinion in Malta to support of the country’s early membership of the Union in the next wave of nations clamoring for membership.

Both European Commission President Romano Prodi and Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen visited Malta in March 2000 to tout for Malta’s EU membership. They gave promises of financial investment in Maltese projects as an incentive to curry Maltese public opinion in favor of EU membership (see “Europe Marches South,” Trumpet, May 2000).

At that stage, Malta seemed set on a course for early entry into the EU. But things have changed recently. Public opinion within Malta currently reflects that a critical 29 percent of the Maltese are against membership.

This has changed the tone of Commissioner Verheugen’s rhetoric. Once full of promises of euros flooding across the Mediterranean into Maltese coffers as a reward for impending memberships, Verheugen’s comments seem now to carry more of a threat. “Malta will be an outsider in a more or less integrated Europe” if it doesn’t join the European Union, he has said. “[D]o you want to belong to a stronger EU which is facing the challenges of the 21st century or do you want to be ‘in a nowhere land’ between Europe and Africa?” (EUObserver .com, Aug. 13).

The Maltese Labor opposition has decided to pull out of EU membership agreements if it succeeds in gaining office at the next general elections. This may well isolate the island from European trade and place Malta in an untenable position, strategically, as the Eurobeast swallows all in its path to plunder on into resource-rich Africa, steamrolling over this small island lying in its path.

Malta’s course is set. Either the island nation accedes to membership and loss of national sovereignty, or it will simply be overtaken by events as the EU pursues its aggressive strategy. The EU is moving south and east (Dan. 8:9), and Malta is in the direct path of that move. The securing of this ancient island bastion is crucial to this southward and eastward advance of the Eurobeast.