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  • SideStreet Malta

How Ian Borg Could Be "Getting Things Done" In Ukraine Next

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Partit Laburista’s Ian Borg is well known in Malta for ‘getting things done’ in the transport and infrastructure sector, but with his recent transfer to Foreign Minister we want to look at whether he can continue to ‘get things done’ with equal success in his new role.

Despite not having much of a previous background in foreign affairs, the former transport and infrastructure minister has started his term as the newly appointed Foreign Minister by jumping in the deep end. Following a meeting in Brussels with fellow EU counterparts, Borg decided to take a neutral diplomatic stance on the recent developments in Ukraine. The Minister has said that although Malta will not be accepting any additions to Russia’s diplomatic mission to Malta, the island will also not be sending Russian diplomats back to Moscow any time soon.

This means that Malta, unlike the country of Croatia for example, (which recently expelled its Russian diplomatic mission) and other EU member states mulling similar decisions, will not be taking as extreme a stance against the Russian Federation just yet.

Borg has defended this decision by highlighting that doing so would not exert any real pressure on Putin due to the small size of Malta’s delegation to Moscow.

It is noteworthy that this move could face potential criticism (both domestically and in Europe) as the situation in eastern Europe develops. However Borg’s relatively neutral decision blows the dust off Malta’s potential role in acting as a crucial NATO neutral negotiator in times of renewed East-West tensions. Despite this being somewhat far-fetched at present due to Malta’s recent addition to a list of countries considered ‘hostile’ by the Russians, many neglect to remember that Malta’s neutral waters once hosted a major summit in the late 1980s that helped pacify the last set of nuclear-fuelled East-West tensions.

Evarist Bartolo’s shoes being filled by Ian Borg may be viewed by some in the ranks of Labour’s opposition as a miscalculation. However, it is difficult to sufficiently stress the significance of having a fresh perspective (whatever you may think of Borg’s perspective in general) at the helm of our foreign ministry after the static reign of Evarist Bartolo.

So how much slack does Borg deserve as he heads Malta’s foreign policy in an increasingly insecure global order?

Well this is not to say that we (as the public, media and Borg’s own party) should not be critical of the new foreign minister’s inevitable stumblings when they come, that would simply be unreasonable. Rather, we should choose to view this transition in an open-minded manner and encourage Borg to increase our country’s presence in the international scene.

If Borg plays his cards right, Malta’s non-affiliated NATO status may come to life-saving use as much needed negotiators that could push for a potential second agreement that could bring peace to Europe once more, as was done in the famed Helsinki agreement in 1975.

Malta Summit December 2–3, 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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