The Maltese Parliament and EU Affairs: A Slow Awakening to Its Responsibilities
Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and joined the United Nations the same year and the Council of Europe in the following year.1 It concluded an Association Agreement with the European Economic Community in 1970. The agreement provided for the relationship to develop in two stages, each in principle of five years duration, leading to a customs union at the end of the second phase. Relations with the European Economic Community developed rapidly from then on, but reached an impasse in 1981. Malta applied to join the European Union (EU) in 1990, but Maltese society became deeply divided on the issue. The only two political parties represented in the Maltese Parliament, the Labour Party (LP) and the Nationalist Party, adopted opposite positions on the issue, and each commanded the support of roughly half the electorate. The Nationalist Party, which is of Christian democratic inspiration and a long-time member of the European People’s Party, supported membership while the LP opposed it, proposing instead a free trade area agreement.
KeywordsEuropean Union European Economic Community Labour Party Lisbon Treaty European Union Legislation
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