Prime Minister Jospeh Muscat threw down the gauntlet to Opposition leader Adrian Delia, accusing him of scaremongering people about the high influx of foreign workers to Malta.
“The influx of foreign workers to Malta has created fresh challenges, such as in the rental market,” Muscat admitted at a political rally today. “We must address these challenges, but not by scaremongering Maltese people against foreigners by warning they are changing the country like the Opposition leader is doing. Yes, the country is changing – but it has always been changing and will continue changing, and this is one of the crucial differences between the two main parties. We don’t fear change but rather embrace it and manage it. You don’t defeat challenges by building walls but by building bridges.”
Delia last week warned the influx of foreigners to Malta is impacting the country’s national identity and could eventually prompt more Maltese people to emigrate out of concern Malta has become unrecognizable.
Today, Muscat defended the rate of foreign workers on the grounds that their social security contributions are allowing the government to increase pensions.
“We wont be populistic and tell people what they want to hear but what we believe in,” he said. “We will ask pensioners to look back at a time when governments had increased the pensionable age and social security contributions and had started planning a second pillar pension scheme that would have hit the working class worst of all. Now we are increasing pensions for the first time in several years and will continue doing so, but this is only possible because the economy is growing, because more women are entering the workforce and because foreigners are coming here to work. Most of the foreigners who come to Malta don’t intend to stay here forever, which means they are paying social security contributions without getting a pension themselves.”