In ‘The Political Economy of Nationalism’ British economist Dudley Seers says that the biggest obstacle small island states like Malta have in becoming self-reliant nations is not their geographic smallness or their military vulnerability, but the mind-sets of the elite. Seers says that in many former colonies, the elite often wants to imitate the former colonizer and this leads to failed sovereign as their leaders are incapable of leading their nations on an independent path that manages properly and in their own interest their interdependence with the rest of the world.
Dudley Seers identifies Dom Mintoff as being one of the few exceptional leaders who had the ability to see with his own eyes, think with his own brains and overcome mimicry in his attitudes and behaviour. This is what intellectually his ‘Malta first and foremost meant’.
We should built on this legacy especially now that we are the tiniest member state of the EU and we already run the grave risk of being overwhelmed by decisions and policies that do not necessarily take our reality and needs in consideration. We must get our act together to be vigorously engaged in all the stages of the policies and decision making processes in all the EU institutions with our feet firmly planted in the reality of Malta and Gozo, striving always to shape EU policies to have a positive impact on our people.
As a young nation we are still vulnerable after centuries of a dependent culture as our country changed hands from one foreign owner to another. Only if we are present within the EU with the mindset of a mature sovereign state will we ensure that 1st May 2004 was a step forward and not a huge step back to the past.