‘National Interest’ is a concept that has been profusely used to describe a nation state’s economic, cultural or military goals and ambitions. The term is often exclusively used in relation to a country’s foreign policy, and is vital in the sphere of international relations. In Malta, this phrase is generally used to support contentious and ambiguous secret dealings between the Government and third parties, often to the detriment of the local environment.
A quick internet search on ‘National Interest’ provides a paper by Donald Nuechterlien written in 197: “National Interests and foreign Policy: A conceptual framework for analysis and decision-making”. In this paper, the author describes how:
“The term ‘national interest’ has been used by statesmen and scholars since the founding of nation-states to describe the aspirations and goals of sovereign entities in the international arena. Today foreign ministers, military strategists and academicians discuss the vital interests of their countries in ways suggesting that everyone understands precisely what they mean and will draw correct inferences from their use of the term. Nothing could be further than the reality”.
I would include an adjunct to the above statement, under a new heading called ‘National Interest in Malta’. In this subsection, I would describe how this term is profusely used by this Maltese Government to justify its illicit and back-door dealings with secret investors, and general weak attitude towards developers, thereby leading to environmental degradation.
As such, I have prepared a short Idiot’s Guide to ‘National Interest’ in Malta, in the hope that Maltese people and the Government would be able to differentiate between what is and what is not ‘National Interest’.
1) This is National Interest
The removal of trees, rubble walls and construction of undeveloped land for the widening of the Coast Road, a main traffic artery and a known accident blackspot, to the benefit of the entire Maltese population? Check.
2) This is not National Interest
3) This IS National Interest
The partial construction of a new hospital on ODZ (outside development zone) so that the Maltese population can have the necessary free healthcare facilities? Sure thing!
(side note – the state and quality of services available at this hospital are a separate issue)
4) THIS IS NOT National Interest
Allowing a foreign supermarket chain to build it’s horrid colour clashing stores on ODZ? Nope.
(side note – I am referring to the Lidl stores in Gozo, Luqa and Safi, all of which were built on ODZ. It should also be noted that environmentalist of the decade, Charles Polidano, has consistently been applying to build Lidl on ODZ since they started popping up back in 2006/2007).
5) THIS IS EFFING NATIONAL INTEREST
A landfill built on ODZ so that we can all dump our trash and rubbish to support our consumerist lifestyle? Totally!
6) THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT EFFING NATIONAL INTEREST
A Jordanian Investor requesting 90,000 m² of ODZ area to build a private university for rich and spoilt Middles Eastern children? HELL NO!
Get your facts straight dear Maltese Governments, and please stop insulting our intelligence (in the name of National Interest).