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Citizens’ Dialogue in Valletta

English

"Diseases don't stop at European borders"

EU initiatives to improve public health in the Union were the key themes that citizens addressed in the Dialogue with Commissioner Borg in Valletta, the capital of Malta. The EU Health Commissioner who discussed with over 200 citizens in the historic landmark Phoenicia Hotel on 7 November, said that the Union's joint disease control is a good example how the EU is "big on big things".

The citizens who participated in the Dialogue showed themselves convinced that EU membership brings concrete benefits for them and their country and felt, against the general trend in the EU, in their majority that their voices are heard. Nevertheless they mentioned many areas – from Genetically modified organisms (GMO) to mobile phone antennas and from tobacco to patients' rights - where they expected European answers to their concerns.

Some citizens and Commissioner Borg himself highlighted that Malta has much more influence in the world and has gained more security by being a member of the EU with 500 million people. This was in his view particularly important in cases where Malta as a small Member State had different views or problems from the big ones.

A recurrent concern of participating citizens was GMOs as a health hazard. "We will not trade public health for commercial interests," Commissioner Borg emphasised. He underlined however that his political decisions were based on the scientific advice from the European food safety agency (EFSA) in Parma and that "food labelling ensures that consumers have a choice".

The two-hour Dialogue ended with the question "where will the EU be in 10 years?" The Maltese Commissioner believes in "a stronger and more integrated EU with more subsidiarity".

The Citizens' Dialogue in Valletta is part of a series of some 50 debates in all Member States. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and practically all Commissioners are participating in discussions with citizens from all walks of life.

Malti

"Il-mard ma jiqafx mal-fruntieri Ewropej"

Inizjattivi tal-UE li jtejbu s-saħħa pubblika fl-Unjoni kienu t-temi ewlenin li indirizzaw iċ-ċittadini fid-Djalogu mal-Kummissarju Borġ fil-Belt Valletta, il-kapitali ta' Malta. Il-Kummissarju għas-Saħħa tal-UE li ddiskuta ma' aktar minn 200 ċittadin fil-lukanda storika Phoenicia fis-7 ta' Novembru qal li l-kontroll konġunt tal-Unjoni dwar il-mard huwa eżempju tajjeb ta' kif l-UE "tkun kbira f'affarijiet kbar".

Iċ-ċittadini li pparteċipaw fid-Djalogu wrew li kienu konvinti li s-sħubija tal-UE twassal għal benefiċċji konkreti għalihom u għal pajjiżhom u ħassew, kontra t-tendenza ġenerali fl-UE, fil-maġġoranza tagħhom li leħinhom qed jinstema'. Madankollu semmew bosta oqsma – mill-organiżmi modifikati ġenetikament (GMO) sal-antenni tal-mowbajls  mit-tabakk sad-drittijiet tal-pazjenti - fejn qed jistennew tweġibiet Ewropej għat-tħassib tagħhom.

Xi ċittadini kif ukoll il-Kummissarju Borg innifsu enfasizzaw li Malta għandha ferm aktar influwenza fid-dinja u li ggwadanjat aktar sigurtà meta ssieħbet mal-UE b'500 miljun persuna. Skont il-Kummissarju dan kien partikolarment importanti f'każijiet fejn Malta, bħala Stat Membru żgħir kellha opinjonijiet jew problemi differenti mill-Istati l-kbar.

Tħassib rikorrenti taċ-ċittadini li pparteċipaw kienu l-GMOs bħala theddida għas-saħħa. "Mhux se nbiegħu s-saħħa pubblika għall-interessi kummerċjali," saħaq il-Kummissarju Borg. Huwa enfasizza madankollu li d-deċiżjonijiet politiċi tiegħu kienu bbażati fuq parir xjentifiku mill-EFSA (Awtorità Ewropea dwar is-Sigurtà fl-Ikel) f'Parma u li "it-tikkettar tal-ikel jiżgura li l-konsumaturi jkollhom għażla".

Id-Djalogu dam sagħtejn u spiċċa bil-mistoqsija "fejn se tkun l-UE 10 snin oħra?" Il-Kummissarju Malti jemmen f'"UE aktar b'saħħitha u aktar integrata, b'aktar sussidjarità".

Id-Djalogu maċ-ċittadini fil-belt Valletta huwa parti minn serje ta' xi 50 dibattitu fl-Istati Membri kollha. Il-President tal-Kummissjoni Jose Manuel Barroso u prattikament il-Kummissarji kollha qed jipparteċipaw f'diskussjonijiet ma' ċittadini minn kull settur tal-ħajja.

In brief

  • WITH

    Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health

  • ABOUT

    Future of Europe, EU Citizenship, Europe's way out of the economic crisis

  • LIVE
  • WHERE

    Phoenicia Hotel, Valletta, Malta

  • WHEN

    7/11/2013

Comments from the live debate