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MT 20 April 2014

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THE Catholic Church is living in fear of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, according to Opposition leader Simon Busuttil. In an interview with MaltaTo- day (pages 12-13) the PN leader explains his party's decision to abstain in the all-important civil unions bill earlier this week. He attributes the local Catholic Church's silence on the law, which was previously described by Aux- iliary Bishop Charles Scicluna as "illogical" and "decep- tive", to Muscat's ability to neutralise his oppo- nents in civil society. "I am very worried by the fact that society on a whole, includ- ing those who backed or op- posed the bill, r e m a i n e d silent, too silent. I at- tribute this to Labour's victory last year, and given the large major- ity it obtained, everybody believes that Joseph Muscat has a licence to do as he pleases. But that's far from true; democracy does not function in that way. It is wrong to allow government bully society, including the church into silence over such matters." Busuttil added that the silence threatened the country's democ- racy. "The Church did not say much, despite having a clear position which is known by all. There's something missing in our democracy. Something is undermining democracy and I attribute this to government's attitude and way of doing politics, especially the Prime Minister, who neutralises whoever does not agree with him." THE tragedy off Lampedusa on 3 October 2013 that sparked off the Operation Mare Nostrum has led the Italian government to radically change its rescue policy at sea, and is now taking responsibility for the lives at sea that even fall under the Maltese government's responsibil- ity. Since the tragedy at sea that led to over 400 refugees from Syria and Palestine losing their lives in the Lampedusa shipwreck, the Italian government under prime ministers Enrico Letta and now Matteo Renzi, are no longer engaged in bickering with their Maltese counterparts over who is responsible for saving lives at sea in the Mediterranean. "The Italian coast guard has been ordered by the Italian government to intervene and collect any boat peo- ple that even the Maltese authorities are technically obliged to intervene and collect," a high government of- ficial told MaltaToday. The new Italian policy has sur- prised the Maltese government, which was not informed on this change of policy – a far cry from the Italians' criminalisation of merchant vessels found assisting destitute mi- grants in distress at sea. Operation Mare Nostrum includes the use of amphibious ships, un- manned drones and long-range heli- copters with infrared equipment, with six navy ships, each with crews of between 80 to 250 men, deployed in October. The humanitarian mission has meant that almost 21,000 arriv- als landed on Italian coasts in 2014 alone, manifesting in the complete absence of migrant arrivals in Malta this year. Yet, despite any visible in- cident involving migrant arrivals, to- day's MaltaToday survey surprisingly shows that migration is the topmost concern for Labour voters at 42.4%, and the second most top concern for PN voters who stand at 17.1%. This false concern is probably for- tified by the tough political rhetoric adopted by the Labour government in 2013, when the Muscat govern- ment toyed with a pushback that he claimed was intended at making EU member states take note of Malta's predicament. In reality, Italy's humanitarian in- tervention has diverted the burden of the migratory influx away from Malta. Piero Fassino, the president of the National Association of Ital- ian Municipalities (ANCI) said that Italian cities and towns needed gov- ernment funds in dealing with the influx. CONTINUES PAGE 3 YOUR FIRST READ AND FIRST CLICK OF THE DAY WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT Newspaper post maltatoday SUNDAY • 20 APRIL 2014 • ISSUE 754 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.20 Download the MaltaToday App now RAY CALLEJA INTERVIEWED PG 7 2132 2100 FIMBank is an international trade nance specialist with an established reputation as a dynamic and customer-driven provider of trade nance solutions. FIMBank is headquartered in Malta and benets from a growing network of international oces. documentary collections bonds and guarantees treasury management structured trade nance commodity trade nance letters of credit ship nance payments forfaiting factoring Trade Finance Solutions engineered for business success FIMBank p.l.c. is a licensed credit institution in Malta with company registration C17003, is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority and listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. xxxxx 'Muscat has silenced the Church' - Busuttil Italy's Mare Nostrum taking over Malta's refugee burden x mt survey SEE PAGES 8-9 Forget Europe! Voters' issues reflect parties' battles Migration, citizenship, the LNG tanker, hunting and civil unions: if Labour or the Nationalist Party are talking about it, then these are the issues that Maltese voters are concerned about in the season preceding the European Parliament elections in May. SEE PAGES 12-13 1.3 0.8 1.3 1.8 What are voters' main concerns? Labour voters say it's migration - PN voters say it is the LNG tanker in Marsaxlokk and collect," a high government of- Forget mt survey Simon Busuttil

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