We cannot leave the choice of our MEPs to fate

This article was first published in Malta Today, view it here.

There are certain important areas where I truly believe we should be doing, better for our country. These are issues that are very close to my heart, issues which I believe will have serious future repercussions, and issues that I believe that I can make a difference in.

1. Hastening Equality

It is unfortunate that many people believe that gender equality has been achieved when the numbers speak for themselves. In Malta for instance, only 10 of the 67 House of Representatives are women and only 11% of those running for the 2017 national election were female.

In addition, there’s plenty of research that shows that prejudice against women is still widespread. For example an experiment conducted in 2014 by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) proved beyond doubt that investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men as opposed to women.

Another experiment proves that identical work applications from men are rated better than those coming from women. There’s evidence that proves that women face prejudice even with children as from a young age, children, whether male or female, start to perceive men to be more generally capable than women. If nothing is done to shock the system it will take 20 to 40 years for women to break through the societal structures that make it particularly hard for women to achieve equality; I want to change that.

2. Strengthening industrial relations

Being an employment lawyer by profession with more than 15 years’ experience practising law both in Malta and in the UK, I know how important healthy industrial relations are to any economy. In Malta, more than 30,000 people are self-employed, and these individuals, who are usually small to medium entrepreneurs, form the backbone of our prosperous society. Not only do they generate a lot of business and employ others, but they also contribute heavily to the nation’s economy at large.

I am specialised in employment law and concentrate primarily on disputes concerning employment matters representing both employers and employees in Industrial Tribunal cases and my aim is to protect this very important pillar of our society by continuing to work closely with employers, employees and policy makers that affect their livelihood.

3. Protecting the environment and animal rights

For years, environmental and animal activists have been trying their hardest to change things in these areas. They fight to influence public opinion to encourage cruelty-free living, change public policy and to pass laws that protect the environment and animals.

Notwithstanding, the exploitation, neglect and abuse of our environment and animals, remains unabated. I believe that these issues are not being given the importance they deserve at European level and the next MEP elections will determine Europe’s political priorities for the next five years. If elected I will push these issues forward the best way I can, in fact I was the first Maltese MEP candidate to sign the EU Animal Welfare Pledge.

4. Strengthening democracy

To my mind democracy is about rights and not personal favours. The European Parliament elections take place once every five years, and currently about 700 members of the European Parliament represent some 500 million people from 28 member states. Malta faces many challenges at European level, from migration and the protection of our borders, to cyber security and data privacy as well as climate change, so it would be extremely naïve to leave our representation up to fate.

I strongly believe that we need to safeguard our position, before it is too late, and the best way to do this is to do our duty and vote for the best candidates to represent us. For me, this translates into running for office, despite the hardships that it brings with it.

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