The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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What future the EU?

Professor  Albert Leone Ganado
Lindsay Jenkins

Lindsay Jenkins

The Ultimate City Take-Over

Ladies and gentlemen,

This morning I am going to address the ultimate City take-over. I hope to show how by regulation in particular the EU intends to control the City of London and take much of our financial business away and in a pretty short time frame.

London First, a pro-EMU campaigning group, announced in 1999, ‘Most European business leaders expect Frankfurt to overtake London as a financial centre within the next five years.’ How could that possibly be true?

Does it not matter that as one top Japanese stockbroker told me ‘You can only do local business in Frankfurt. In London you can trade with the world’?

What is it that we are in danger of losing? Ladies and gentlemen it is no less than the jewel in our economic crown.

I am going to refer simply to London or the City but of course the industry is wide spread across the UK.

London is the heart of the world's financial business and the centre of financial innovation. And the City itself has no less than 800 years' experience in providing those services.

I make no apology for listing what we are supremely good at: we do not often give ourselves a pat on the back!

Financial services account for over 15 per cent of UK GDP. They are the single biggest contributor to our economy. They employ around 1 million people, including over 300,000 in London. Last year they generated net overseas earnings of £14 billion.

The City has played a key role in establishing the euro as a major international.

currency for trading and investment. London is the leading centre for euro trading even though the UK is not in the euro. They could not have done it without us!

London is the biggest market in the world for derivatives traded over-the-counter with over one third of global turnover last year.

LIFFE is the world centre for euro money market derivatives trading. It is the biggest electronic exchange.

The London Metal Exchange is the biggest metals exchange in the world.

London is the world's largest fund management centre, with total assets under management exceeding £2,725 billion in 2000.

London has the most comprehensive range of specialist maritime services in the world, and despite Gordon Brown’s best efforts, net overseas earnings are around £2 billion a year.

London is the world's most liquid spot market for gold, for gold lending and the world clearing centre for gold trading.

More foreign companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange than any other exchange including the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ combined.

London is the major centre for the international bond market.

London is one of the two leading centres for international legal services, the other being New York. Five out of the largest ten law firms in the world are based here.

London is the world's largest international insurance and reinsurance market.

The London foreign exchange market is the largest in the world accounting for a third of global turnover, more than New York and Tokyo combined, and is six to seven times the size of Paris and Frankfurt combined.

And last but not least, there are more German banks in London than in Frankfurt, and more American banks in London than in New York.

I think you get the picture!

Why is London pre-eminent? It has low tax, low regulation, London straddles the world time zones, we speak English, we benefit from English law, a low level of corruption and a top quality work force.

Despite all that, our jewel in the economic crown can disappear with lightening speed if the conditions change.

Let me give you one little known but personal example from over 30 years ago. My father was a bullion broker in the City. On a Thursday the British government upset the South African government. On the Friday, the bullion market closed in London as usual, but it reopened on the Monday in Zurich. That is how fast things used to move. Just think how fast they move today. Or as the head of my old firm Morgan Stanley used to say professionals will work anywhere. And they do – they catch the next plane out.

We have already seen with the art market what happens when the tax regime changes, this case VAT a Brussels tax. The British art market is on the move from London and much of it is now in New York.

Today, Britain’s financial service industry is under attack as never before and from several directions orchestrated by Brussels under its Action Plan for A Single Financial Market by 2005.

The plan combines changes in tax, pensions, regulation and creating one stock market. All these issues are equally important but today I am concentrating on the regulatory changes. But may I remind you that we are still fighting off the EU Savings Tax Directive and trying to divert its main focus to exchanging information on savings held abroad, though even that is not satisfactory.

So enthusiastic have we become in our attempt to deflect the worst of the tax that our man in Bern is telling his Swiss hosts at every opportunity that they should relax the famous Swiss confidentiality and provide EU tax officials with bank details of suspected tax dodgers. Our ambassador diplomatically says Swiss law is outmoded, immoral and wrong. This disgraceful state of affairs is all because the EU withholding tax on savings would severely damage the City's Eurobond market. And it is setting friends against each other.

So tax aside how far has the EU attack got? Starting as early as 1964 Brussels has been sniping at the City. The pace accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s with nine unhelpful directives particularly affecting insurance and banking.

That attack is now accelerating.

The trigger was the twelve years a take-over directive took in discussion only to be voted down and out. As a result France persuaded the EU Commission to speed things up. France wanted a new super-regulator that could adversely affect the London Stock Exchange and extend EU control over the City.

The bottom line is, as usual, a Franco-German stitch up: Frankfurt will eventually get the markets and Paris will control the regulation. At least that’s the plan.

In anticipation a voluntary Europe wide organisation was set up. The Federation of European Securities Exchanges is based in Brussels. Since 1999, the Federation has organised conferences on financial markets, in close co-operation with the Frankfurter Institute based in Berlin.

In July 2000 the EU Commission appointed a committee of so-called Wise Men to examine the regulation of the securities markets, which rapidly reported only eight months later. That tells us how badly they need our money!

A Belgian, Baron Lamfalussy, headed the Wise Men. He had been on the Delors Committee in the 1980s that led to the euro, and was later President of the European Monetary Institute, forerunner of the European Central Bank. A thoroughly sound man!

The "wise men's group" was rightly seen in London as an attempt to harmonise stock exchange rules. You may remember that Laurent Fabius, the French Finance Minister, charged that he had been unable to read a British counter plan for financial regulation, because the British had not faxed it until midnight on the Sunday before the initial meeting, and he did not have a fax machine in his hotel room. The British plan focused on competition and flexibility and let each country set its own rules. Some hope of that! No wonder a Frenchman did not want to read it!

In November 2000 the wise Belgian, Baron Lamfalussy, and his men decided there should be no European version of America's Securities and Exchange Commission - yet. The Wise Men noted the incompatibility of legal systems and business cultures in different states. Corpus Juris will of course sort that problem out!

And the mind boggles at the vision of a European version of the American SEC when it does come, kicking down doors in London, confiscating documents and ordering Anglo-Saxon capitalists to answer questions.

Meanwhile the report proposed a committee of EU regulators, the European Securities Committee. And it has recently started work in Brussels.

Broad principles are established through primary legislation, under the codecision procedure, with the details left to the new European Securities Committee (ESC).

Amazingly this unelected committee has legislative power and decides by majority voting. So decisions may well go against the interests of some member states - for that read the UK. This is some committee!

An EU Commissioner chairs it and monitors the whole process. Its members are at secretary of state level.

To maintain a residual member state interest that committee is advised by the new European Securities Regulators based in Paris (note, not even in the same country as the parent committee) and chaired by a member state representative.

In summary, the EU Commission runs the first committee in Brussels, which legislates, and the member states can advise from Paris.

The whole system will be reviewed in 2004 when member states, and democracy itself, can expect to be further demoted.

There is no doubt that the ESC is an embryonic Securities and Exchange Commission. The Stock Exchange told me that the French are talking very seriously about this proposal, nicknamed EuroSec, and it is causing concern in London.

So what is being enacted? The Lamfalussy Report laid down a 4-stage procedure for implementing 42 items of securities legislation by 2004 from the principle to enforcement.

The four most important directives out of the current 42 are:

    1. The Investment Services Directive is rightly called the constitution for the capital markets of Europe. This key directive upgrades a previous one and new proposals are due out this month. It will give market operators a passport or licence to go anywhere in the EU to do business and involves harmonising standards. There is of course concern in London that one size does not and cannot fit all.
    2. The Prospectus Directive applies to issuers wishing to raise money – the lifeblood of the financial exchanges and why they exist in the first place. The principal is that if you wish to raise money you should be able to go anywhere to do so. In fact the EU is proposing that you will have to go to your own country first. No longer will you be able to go anywhere that would suit your company and your shareholders which British companies do today. So we are going backwards.

    The City thinks this is contrary to an Anglo-Saxon free, flexible approach and we don’t need it.
    3. The Market Abuse Directive (aptly called MAD) seeks a common approach. We in Britain are content with our system especially since the FSA was given more powers this time last year and our system is sophisticated. The new directive is likely to be finalised by the end of this year. Unfortunately Brussels has got an attack of anti Americanitis and specifically Enronitis and is trying to include research analysts in what should be a simple directive. It will be complex and retrograde.
    4. The Regular Reporting Directive concerns information companies put out to investors. We in London have a very sophisticated system enhanced again at the beginning of this year. On top of the twice-yearly company reports all companies can put out ad hoc alerts via screens round the markets, and to individual investors via email alerts. In that way price sensitive information gets out quickly and widely.

Unfortunately Continental companies have no history of being good at putting out price sensitive information on an ad hoc basis – they have no flexibility - and it is to that level they wish to reduce us. So quarterly reporting is likely to be introduced which will be more costly and less flexible - somewhat like the US. Again going backwards.

With these four directives, and the other 38 in the pipeline, the EU expects that there will be fewer markets and ultimately one market, an EU market.

Nor is this all. You would think that such a great success story as the City would have few serious detractors within, only those trying to make it even better. Unfortunately there are Quislings. Not only are some of the banks like Deutsche Bank firmly on the EU side, as we would expect, there is now a branch of the Britain in Europe campaign in the City set up just over a year ago with over 50 members on its council. Many superannuated politicians now have remunerative and influential positions in the City.

Here are just a few of the old favourites active in the City in Europe:

Lord Brittan and Lord Tristran Garel-Jones at UBS Warburg; Lord Tugenhat Chairman of TU Fund Managers; Lord Howe at JP Morgan; Peter Sutherland Chairman of Goldman Sachs; Lord Dick Taverne, Chairman of AXA, and Adair Turner, Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe. Interestingly the Chief Economists of both KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are both members. Perhaps they are anxious for the many lucrative contracts put out by Brussels.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, we in Britain are being lined up to take the financial strain from the struggling German economy. And French and German envy and their need to dominate and control are paramount. As a result we will be very second rate, on the fringes of Europe.

I am sad to say as a Conservative that my party in Strasbourg not only voted for the Single Financial Market, but in speeches enthusiastically supported it.

There can be no excuse for cheering at the destruction of the City of London.

(C) Lindsay Jenkins, London November 2002

Lindsay Jenkins is the author of Britain Held Hostage, The Coming Euro-Dictatorship (foreword Frederick Forsyth) and The Last Days of Britain, The Final Betrayal (foreword Lord Lamont of Lerwick)


Anti Poolamets

Our past is our future

Ladies and gentlemen -

It is an honour for me to deliver a short speech concerning the federalization of the European Union.

Firstly, I want to mention that Estonians are still thankful to Britain, because the British fleet under the leadership of Admiral Sinclair came to help our state in the year 1918, when Estonians and British together stopped the advance of the Soviet communist army in Estonia. So Estonians gained time - 22 years outside of the federal communist Empire.

On Monday in Cambridge, I met a former Russian dissident and political prisoner, Mr. Vladimir Bukovsky. He spent altogether twelve years in prisons of the federal Soviet Union. He told me honestly, "I don't want to live in a new Soviet Union, therefore I will try to stop this monster under a new name -'The United States of Europe' or maybe more realistically sounding - European Union of Socialist Republics'." I understood his feelings. I and many people from the former Federal Soviet Empire feel the same way.

I think that our own experience is immensely valuable in our lives. This is also extremely important for the life of states and nations. We were rid of the Federal Soviet Union eleven years ago. And Estonia was the first occupied territory or member state who declared that our own legislation was supreme over federal Soviet law. We started that political and legal clash as early as 1988. Other member states followed us. What happened after that - you already know. The Federal Soviet Empire disappeared from the surface of the earth. Thank God.

But the Empire strikes back. I will present some comparisons here for you. Try to find three differences.

The Soviet Union had and the European Union has:

    1. supremacy of community law
    2. supremacy of the Union's court
    3. supremacy of the Central Bank of the Union
    4. a single currency
    5. a common economic zone
    6. common external borders
    7. free movement of goods, persons, services and capital
    8. common citizenship
    9. a common defence policy in the future

For the Republic of Estonia - there is no such term as accession to the EU. Vice-versa. The EU is coming to Estonia and not as a good friend but as a new owner. After joining the EU we lose our statehood again and we will be among the northern provinces of Federal Europe. Our state will be totally helpless against the juggernaut of the EU.

The European Union is - as the Soviet Union was - a dictatorial power-system, which avoids any kind of democratic control. All real decision- making happens behind closed doors.

Communism, just like Euro-federalism, is , based on an anti-democratic understanding that adult citizens are not mature enough for making decisions. This communist-guardianship for people fits Eurocrats well.

The real masters of Europe are the members of the EU Commission, members of the new non-elected Politburo of the Soviet System with their totalitarian power. I can't understand how everywhere passionate democrats give away their power to the euro-communist bureaucrats in Brussels.

The goal of the competition policy in the EU is supremacy of big enterprises. The Europe of giants is near. It is reminiscent of the dominance of the state enterprises in every sphere of life in the Soviet Union. The current development in the EU is leading to total socialization of the economy and to total centralization of economic policy. One important part of the EU activity as in the Soviet Union is distribution of resources via EU foundations. Their goal is to use EU monetary reserves for unifying all member states. The Unification of living standards between poorer and wealthier EU member states. This is typical Soviet redistribution policy. The result of this redistribution will be that the living standards of the wealthy will fall to the level of poorer countries. There will only be "common poverty" after that.

A very important ideological similarity between the EU and the Soviet Union is that both are fully materialistic and atheistic. For example - in an interview the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hennann Groer, said:

"The big vision about a united Europe can change to a bad dream, where any Christian or traditional values are lacking. We are moving towards a concentrated system of power and we don’t know who controls that power. The United Europe can prepare the way for the big dictator already described by Hugh Benson and Solovjov.”

Many people naively think today that the EU will develop into a certain kind of "United States of Europe" with some kind of new "European freedom-nation." In reality freedom and nation have nothing in common with the EU. The End station for the EU is namely the Super-Soviet Union. So it will be a very communist dictatorship. There is no understanding of the legitimate demands of European nations for maintaining their cultural identity and traditions.

During my short speech, I couldn't speak about many questions but I wanted to stress some important similarities. Yet I can also say that this topic wasn't only theoretical. Mr. Vladimir Bukovsky has discovered materials about the plans of the Soviet Leadership for creation of the Federal Europe. The Leaders of the United States and Germany considered their plans very seriously. But a mistake was made - the Eastern European nations couldn't wait anymore - they rushed out from the communist block. One plan for a federal socialist Empire has failed. The new plan is being implemented now. Look out!


Professor Albert Leone Ganado

Why the EU is wrong for Malta

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to be addressing this international gathering today and hope that I will be able to inform you better on Malta's current position with regard to EU entry as seen from the position of a movement like mine which is campaigning against accession to the EU.

My name is Albert Leone Ganado and I would like to introduce myself as the new 'reluctant ' chairman of CNI the Campaign for national Independence, which is a group of Maltese spanning the whole spectrum of Maltese society and comprises persons with very different political beliefs. I took over the chairmanship of CNI two months ago when our previous chairman and former Prime Minister Dr. Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici resigned as chairman to act as coordinator to a new Front called "Maltese let us stand up" led by the octogenarian DOM Mintoff which is not against membership but is against the way the negotiations with Europe are being conducted and the way that our constitution and neutrality clauses are being compromised. We came together as a group exactly three years ago as soon as Malta's application for EU membership which had been frozen by the previous Labour Government was reactivated. CNI is the leading independent No movement in Malta and has about 800 active members.

However contrary to many other applicant countries, the Labour Party which is supported by half the population is against membership and therefore they shoulder the main burden of opposing full membership.

It is pertinent to analyse the reasons for our opposition in Malta to full membership a word incidentally not accepted by those who want accession to Europe for they stress that there exists only membership or the alternative of being left completely out and marginilised at the periphery of Europe and its future development.

We are four square in our thinking with the position of the Labour party who feel that a tailor made partnership with the EU is the way forward for Malta and that such a partnership should not preclude the development of other partnerships especially with America, the republic of China with whom we have a long tradition of mutual friendship as well as with the Maghreb and Arab countries on the southern flank of the Mediterranean. Perhaps this concept of partnership should be extended to include the traditional bilateral partnership with our European friends such as the UK and Italy.

Of course the functionaries in the corridors of Brussels are telling us in the run up to the referendum and general elections in which the Maltese will decide their future that there is no way that we can negotiate an 'a la carte menu' and that we are either in or out.

Our Opposition to membership is based on a number of basic considerations in particular.

a) Threat to our sovereignty and neutrality. We have been independent for just over 38 years and a republic for 28 years. We have made great strides forward and established bilateral relations and a raft of treaties with our international friends which have not only guaranteed progress but in the case of Italy financial support, and a military treaty to protect our territorial integrity.

We are still learning how to enjoy independence both in the relations amongst ourselves and in our external relations. We feel proud to exercise our new found rights as a sovereign nation. These rights allows us to stand up as a sovereign nation and speak and be listened to in international bodies and conferences as equals.

We strongly believe that entry into the EU will result in reducing our sovereignty as subservient to the structures and demands of the larger nations in Europe. Our minimal representation in the decision making bodies of Europe which will be subject to the qualified majority provisions of the Treaty of Nice will hardly give us a real say in issues which concern our rights.

Provisions that are insidiously emerging from the accession negotiations such as:

    Loss our 25 mile exclusive fishing zone,
    Blatant disregard of our neutrality provisions with an increased presence of naval vessels in concentration in our ports,
    Talk in Government circles that our neutrality provisions are 'passe',
    Acceptance of the subservient role which our Central Bank will have in the ECB,
    In particular we are worried the future loss of the ability to fix our rate of exchange and interest rates and which incidentally were monetary instruments which properly applied in the oil crisis and in the period of double digit inflation and interest rates saved our economy from collapse. These monetary tools will be lost forever.

As CNI we also question the true extent of our present and future economic relations with the other 24 states within Europe. Let us be honest and say that our economic relations are in reality focussed onh only three of these countries namely the UK, Italy and Germany. With many of the other countries our dealings are nothing more than the perfunctory exchange of non-resident ambassadors and trade relations whose turnover amount to less than that of a large department store.

b) A microstate like Malta, which incidentally will be the smallest state both in terms of size and population in the Union, cannot naturally fit in the rules and regulations intended and needed to regulate large nations. The one size fits all nature of the Acquis puts us in a straightjacket. It has already placed an enormous burden on our civil service whose best elements are working full time trying to understand the intricacies of 80,000 pages of communaitaire regulations. Complying with the acquis regulation is already costing us 50 million Euros a year. This is a figure much more than any benefit we can ever expect to get back.

And yet many of the problems which truly trouble and irk the citizen such as poor roads and transport, the pension time-bomb, quality of public hospitals and schools will by the principle of subsidiarity l remain there to haunt the local taxpayer.

Malta had both in the European security conference and in the Barcelona convention taken the lead to promote Euro - Med issues particularly those related to peace and security within the Mediterranean basin. Our obsession to focus on EU accession has lead our Foreign Office to give very little attention recently to Euromed relations in which our country has the right credentials to act as interlocutor between North and South and on which issues for a long time we had take the political lead.

By adhering and complying with the regime of EU rules we will be throwing any competitive advantage we hold based on our ability to be flexible and react quickly to change. We should tailor rules and regulations to our specific needs as they emerge not to weaken our local industry. The EU acquist does not create a level playing field but simply highlights our natural weaknesses such as double insulation, high transport costs, lack of a viable local market and need to import all raw materials.

It is pertinent to note that out of the 10 accession countries the strongest opposition to membership is in three of the smallest ones namely Malta Latvia and Estonia.

There is no doubt that the EU has never really addressed the true problems which small states will face within the EU nor have any provisions or opt outs been considered to suit their particular circumstances. A study I had made of small states in Europe such as Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and the Channel islands showed that by taking advantage of their particular situation and exploiting opportunities in the areas of financial services, tourism tax free markets and betting havens, small states have succeeded in achieving high growth rates and a high standard of living for their citizens. Many of them have also managed to extract advantageous agreements from the EU based on their proximity to , traditional links and sponsorship by a large neighbouring European country.

c) At CNI we are also concerned with the re-emergence of a mindset, which is gradually promoting the neo-colonialist concept that as Maltese we are not capable of managing ourselves, and need the support of foreigners to run our affairs.

We are also feeling the effect of EU institutional arrogance and interference in our affairs by certain visiting EU officials and dignitaries especially those from countries like France and Germany who do not perhaps understand our sensitivity to a certain colonialist approach to issues.

Recently in a television interview the French ambassador admonished us for not being true Europeans by continuing to frolic with the British and Italians and forgetting the superior culture of the French. The commissioner for entry Gunther Verheugen in one of our most popular TV programme opined that the leader of the opposition was against membership solely to spite the government and would be in favour if the government had been against. Other visitors generously offer us the advice that there is no future for us outside the EU. AS J.G. Vassallo one of our leading columnists wrote this week Mr. Verheugen gave clear notice that he is going to rope in his communications strategists from Brussels to step up the pressure, adding, for good measure, that the EU cannot be neutral on the issue of Malta’s accession.

Malta has benefited over the years from a series of financial protocols with Italy, which have provided us with over 500 million Euros over the past twenty years. There is a big question as to whether Italian aid will continue after we join the EU and yet we are likely to end up as net contributors in the new EU financial arrangements.

This International conference is I believe concerned mainly with the Future of Europe theme and it is perhaps pertinent to say something on how the Laeken Future of Europe declaration and the subsequent convention is perceived through Maltese eyes.

It is relevant to say that the decision to send delegates to convention on the Future of Europe from both sides of the Maltese parliament has been one of the few occasions as regards EU issues in which Government and the opposition have jointly agreed to participate. Dr. Alfred Sant the leader of the opposition and Dr. Vella are representing the opposition whilst the former rector of the University and a government MP specialist on EU legal matters are representing Government at this convention.

However this Future of Europe convention has generated very little interest in Malta other than when issues arise which are perceived to have a bearing on the For or against arguments to joining the EU.

The leader of the opposition is using this forum to demonstrate his Europeaness notwithstanding his opposition to full membership and to promote his concept of partnership and European cooperation outside EU mwmbweship. Ironically there is arguably no one on the Island so steeped in knowledge of European languages and culture and who firmly believes in the liberal ideas and humanist concepts of European society than Dr. Alfred Sant himself.

Our prime minister believes in a finalite politique which is federal in nature but which takes note of the community method of doing things which has evolved . He also sees the deepening of the EU institutions as a necessary corollary to widening of the EU and firmly believes that Malta will have a voice and say in all of this irrespective of its minimal representation.

We have had a steady stream of EU dignitaries coming to speak to us on the Future of Europe. Most came mainly from the continent and the EU commission. Strangely we had very few dignitaries from the UK for it appears that as regards EU matters Malta is a sure jinx for UK ministers as both Keith Vaz and Peter Hain lost their EU ministry posts within a few weeks of speaking in Malta.

The Italian minister for EU affairs Prof. Rocco Bottiglione at a speech at our University has likened the Europe of the future to a symphonic orchestra where the concerted effort of the individual players can create a harmonic effect that no individual can achieve and where every player is important. To be honest what I have seen so far is only a cacophony of discordant notes where the players seem to be playing on different scores.

CNI sees in this future of Europe debate embryonic attempts to create a superstate where the concept of one nation one state is being inexorably eroded and where Europe will be ruled by a group of elitists and in which even current sops to small countries as the right to national commissioners will rapidly disappear. A Europe where small states will be reduced to regions and where frontier states like Malta will become nothing less than bastions and fortresses protecting the southern flank of Europe.

In this regard it is pertinent to mention the alarming increase in clandestine immigrants who arrive as boat people in Malta. This year alone over 1500 have arrived and are costing our country already of 5 million Euro per annum. I wonder whether this number will increase once we are in, as I am sure that for littoral and sub-Saharan African countries we will be seen as an ideal the first port of entry into the EU.

Whilst the cream of our highly educated children will migrate to the big cities the only opportunities left to those with lesser education of which there is a large percentage will be menial jobs in the services and tourist sector. One constitution, one army and defense policy, one police force, one central Bank, one taxation regime are not the sort of scenario which prospects success for the microMaltese nation.

CNI speakers are of course often rubbished by the highly partisan media and by the Government whenever we raise such points and highlight unattractive prospects. We are told that we are just isolationists detached from the realities of the new globalised world. Yet the success of many small Nations dotted around the globe such as Singapore, Honkong, Monaco and now Abu Dhabi are living proofhe fact that taking advantage of your smallness, geographical location, offering services to neighbouring large countries, serving as a neutral place promoting peace and mediating between neighbours is a formula for success even if not within the EU.

Ironically some Maltese having lost hope in the Maltese ruling class carrying out the necessary reform themselves and see a future Europe as a liberating force from ruling cliques and traditional religious obscurantism. As Dr Cassola a spokesman for the greens party says,

"Fortunately, the EU debate and negotiating process is forcing us to bring out of the cupboards our (knowingly) forgotten skeletons and obliging us to take stock of the situation. Fortunately, because of all this, a Maltese society dominated by closed, non transparent cliques and circles will soon have to give way to a full participatory democracy, where all Maltese can have a role."

But do current problems in a changing society justify sacrificing national sovereignty ad aeturnum? Is a much quoted citizen democratic deficit in Europe a replacement for our current predicaments most of which are the doings of the existing political class.

Thank you for your attention.