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16 January 2017

The Maltese Prime Minister talks tough against Brexit Britain.

Dangerous talk of an extended transition deal that keeps us trapped in the European Union for longer than necessary took another nasty turn last week when the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, insisted that Britain would have to continue to surrender to EU law as part of any such arrangement.

‘It is not a transition period where British institutions take over, but it is a transition period where the European Court of Justice is still in charge of dishing out judgments and points of view’ he said. The ECJ is among the most hated of the European institutions, overruling Britain in more than three quarters of the cases brought by our government and demanding that violent criminals behind bars be given the vote. The call is yet another sign that European elites haven’t heeded the proud call of the British electorate.

A clear message ignored

When 17.4 million patriotic Brits voted to quit the failing European Union in June, the message the electorate sent to the political class in Westminster was loud and clear. We wanted control of our money, our borders, and our law. After months of foot-dragging, Chancellor Philip Hammond has finally heard the message that came through on that historic day, at least as it regards immigration. Speaking to Die Welt, Hammond finally conceded that ‘we are aware that the message from the referendum is that we must control our immigration policy’.

But foreign leaders have remained deaf to that message, with rare exceptions like maverick US President-elect Donald Trump and European insurgents like Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders. Muscat joins a procession of impotent foreign leaders, like Francois Hollande, in making demands of British negotiators that are inconsistent with the mandate given in June. Hollande, for example, called for Britain to be punished for its vote – and has been rewarded with such terrible poll ratings that he has declined to run for a second term.

A respectable legacy

The newly submissive stance of Malta’s disgraceful Prime Minister tarnishes a proud history of strength and resolve. It wasn’t without reason that, in the eighteenth century, the French philosopher Voltaire wrote that ‘nothing is better known than the siege of Malta’ – the heroic defence of the island in 1565 by a small band of Christian knights against the amassed forces of the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

Malta, a Commonwealth ally, also played a pivotal role in the Second World War and aided decent western democracies in their decisive battle against the forces of evil represented by Hitlerian fascism. Now it bows to Brussels, doing the bidding of German leader Angela Merkel – a figure of scorn across the continent and even among her own people, who have had to pay the price for her mad migrant policy.

Now Malta acts as a sad cheerleader to the very policy of Merkel. Interior minister Carmelo Abela has backed plans to introduce migrant quotas, saying that ‘I don’t think we should consider opt-outs’. Meanwhile the people of Europe cry out against the scheme, with few leaders like Hungary’s Vikor Orban heeding the call.

A sector-by-sector approach?

But while the Maltese Prime Minister has been talking tough, his statements may suggest a weakening in the otherwise rigid position of the European Union with regards to negotiating bespoke arrangements for market access on a sector-by-sector basis. ‘What areas should be considered for transitional arrangements?’ he asked. ‘I think financial services would be quite obvious but it also depends on the demands that will be put by the British government’.

The idea of a sector-by-sector transition arrangement has been floated at the top of government by the likes of Philip Hammond – who wishes to retain privileged single market access for financial services – and by Dr Liam Fox, who has flirted with the idea of partial participation in the EU Customs Union.

Previously the EU’s political elites blasted the idea, saying that Britain would be unable to selectively participate in only those parts of their mad projects that best suit the national interest. But Muscat’s remarks are not the first cracks in the armour – they come as EU negotiator Michel Barnier, too, called for special arrangements to maintain European access to the capital raising powers of the City of London – bursting yet another Remoaner myth about the damage Brexit could do to UK financial services.

While a clean Brexit across the board is the desired end-game of the British public, the recognition among European elites that they must play ball is a positive change. Let’s get on with freeing Britain from the unwanted grasp of the tyrannical European Union, while maintaining mutually beneficial trade.