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USA UK and Malta News
06/03/2012 - 21:17

Malta news: golden rule

Malta news: golden rule - Patrol: Second King Air aircraft arrives in Malta - Government wants 'golden rule' entrenched in the Constitution - Yard sails round lack of Malta-US deal.

Malta news: golden rule
Patrol: Second King Air aircraft arrives in Malta
The Armed Forces of Malta’s Air Wing yesterday received its second Hawker Beech King Air B200 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), under the EU’s External Borders Fund, which establishes a financial solidarity mechanism to support States who endure, for the benefit of the community, a lasting and heavy financial burden arising from the implementation of common standards on control and surveillance of external borders and visa policy. The MPA was flown in from the firm Aerodata’s facility in Braunschweig near Berlin, Germany, piloted by Captain Klaus Kuehl, the German firm’s delivery pilot, and Major George Abela, escorted into Maltese airspace by its ‘elder sister’, AS1126 flown by Major Mark Said and Lt Pierre Carabez. The aircraft was flown 1,000 nautical miles directly from Braunschweig to Luqa in under four hours. The €19.4 million MPA project of the EU’s EBF comprised the procurement of a fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft, training for pilots, aircraft technicians and mission system operators and a field support package for the aircraft and equipment. The King Air MPA is operated by a crew of five: Two pilots, a mission system operator and two observers, who are also trained as mission system operators. The general arrangement of the aircraft also includes a small galley, toilet and air conditioning. Communications include internet, discreet satellite phone and high frequency radio at each occupant seat.(independent.com.mt) If this delivery is conform to the European laws, it is good.

Government wants 'golden rule' entrenched in the Constitution
The government feels that the 'golden rule' on balanced budgets, which is at the core of the Fiscal Pact agreed by all but two EU member states last week, should be entrenched in the Constitution with a two-thirds majority, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi told Parliament this evening. Reporting on his participation in last week's EU heads of government meeting, Dr Gonzi told the House: "The signing of this treaty was an important step towards the restoration of confidence in the Economic and Monetary Union. This treaty, once it comes into force, should have a profound and long term impact". That impact, he said, would be in the restoration of stability and confidence, better coordination of economic policies and better governance of the eurozone. The pact will introduce new fiscal rules for all eurozone member states, forcing them to move towards a balanced budget through an obligation to cut the deficit by at least 0.5 per cent of GDP every year. It also provides for the introduction of automatic sanctions on those member states breaching deficit and debt rules.(timesofmalta.com) Insofar as most EU Member States agree to the proposals, it is useless to oppose it.

Yard sails round lack of Malta-US deal
When USS Mount Whitney, the command ship of the Sixth Fleet, steamed into Grand Harbour on Sunday for routine repairs, it was only the second US warship in nine years to make such a visit. The last warship to be repaired at the shipyard was the USS La Salle in 2003 when the vessel was given an extensive refit two years after undertaking controversial repair works at the then state-controlled yard. But it has not been political controversy, the likes of which was seen in 2001 when the General Workers’ Union had opposed repair works on the USS La Salle, that has kept US warships away from the shipyards. According to Antonio Palumbo, who owns the Cospicua-based Palumbo Shipyard repairing the ship, the biggest problem is that Malta does not have a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with the US. SOFA regulates the conduct and outlines the privileges of foreign military personnel in a host country, particularly in relation to civil and criminal jurisdiction. It includes conditions on the carriage of weapons and the wearing of uniforms, two issues that would require legislative changes in Malta.(timesofmalta.com) Does this mean it that U.S. military personnel of a boat stationed in Malta must remain on board?

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