‘Brexit could positively impact Malta’s financial services industry’ … and much more
PN leader questions whether rights of Maltese living in UK will be diminished as a result of summit deal, suggests government should apply same treatment to British immigrants in Malta
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A British exit from the EU could have positive ripple effects on Malta’s financial services industry, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.
While reiterating his support for Britain to remain an EU member state, Muscat said in a ministerial statement that Malta can benefit in that financial services companies based in the City of London might be tempted to relocate to an EU member state.
“This could be an opportunity for other jurisdictions,” he said. “On the other hand, the City of London can adopt different standards that will render it more attractive than European jurisdictions.”
In response to questions by PN leader Simon Busuttil, Muscat said that the government has commissioned several studies on the potential impacts – both negative and positive – of a Brexit on Malta.
Muscat said that the government is in favour of the UK remaining an EU member state for both economic and political reasons, arguing that it is currently the major counter-balance to Germany and France’s push towards a federal Europe.
“The EU requires the UK and vice-versa,” he said, while reiterating that the deal agreed at last week’s summit is not specific to the UK, but applicable to other EU countries who might find themselves in similar situations in the future.
Simon Busuttil had questioned whether the government had commissioned a study on the summit deal and a potential Brexit on the thousands of Maltese citizens currently living in the United Kingdom.
“If the British negotiated a deal at the summit that in some way diminishes social benefits rights for EU citizens working in the UK and the children, does this mean that the rights of the thousands of Maltese living in the UK will be in any way diminished?
“If the rights of the thousands of Maltese living in the UK were in any way diminished, then I’d expect the Maltese government to apply the same treatment for thousands of British living in Malta,” he added.
Muscat responded that the only benefits impacted at the summit will be in-work benefits and child benefits, and insisted that it will not in any way be related to pensions or other contributory benefits.
He added that a bilateral agreement on social security and health between Malta and the UK has been in place since 1986, and will still apply in the case of a Brexit.