Franklin Mamo, is-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-assocjazzjoni, kiteb artiklu dwar is-sondaġġ tal-Eurobarometer fil-ħarġa ta’ Settembru tal-Maltese Link, in-newsletter tal-Federazzjoni tal-Maltin ta’ barra (FMLA). Dan hu t-test tal-artiklu:
Some months ago Eurobarometer, the European Commission’s series of public opinion surveys in the European Union (EU), published a report called “New Europeans”. The choice of name was deliberate: the report’s focus was the connections Europeans have outside their own country in a world marked by globalisation and mobility.
It is beyond the scope of this article to offer even the most cursory review of the report’s content. The detail with regards to both results and methodology is extensive, offering many “nuggets” to pick and analyse. I will have to limit myself to two findings related to Malta.
As is customary with news that comes in pairs, one is positive, the other not so much. First, the good news. Malta is the EU state with the highest number of respondents (66%) reporting close relatives living abroad including countries outside the EU. This percentage is even more significant when one considers that the question does not take into consideration multiple replies from people who have more than one close relative abroad (not uncommon with many Maltese). It also asks only about “close relatives” (parents, siblings and children) without factoring in, say, aunts, uncles and cousins.
This is an important finding. It shows that in Malta, diaspora issues are important. They concern not only considerable number of Maltese abroad but also many Maltese families in Malta. There is every legitimate reason for people to expect that maintaining and enhancing links with Maltese abroad is a priority deserving policymakers’ attention.
There’s less reason to be optimistic about another finding. Another question asked “what do you think are the most important characteristics to be Maltese?” A maximum three answers were allowed. Quite a few respondents answered “to share Maltese cultural traditions” (30%), “ to feel Maltese” (31%), “to exercise citizens’ rights” (31%) and “to have been brought up in Malta” (36%). But, by far, the largest number (68%) answered “to be born in Malta”.
This could be interpreted to mean that, while people in Malta perceive first-generation members of the Maltese diaspora as unequivocally Maltese, they might not extend such an honour to the second and subsequent generations even when they retain Maltese language and culture.
The efforts made and being made by leaders of Maltese communities abroad to maintain the link between their children and Malta are important and commendable. But their efforts have to be matched by policymakers in Malta to change public perceptions of the “new Maltese” living outside the country.
The report can be found here:
Secretary-General of Maltin fil-Belġju asbl