Earlier this month, Europe’s leaders, including Theresa May, descended on Malta’s capital, Valletta, for a summit meeting. Malta’s Prime Minister offered his thoughts on Brexit to the UK press.
It must be a strange feeling for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. On the one hand is Britain, a staunch ally with strong historic ties to Gozo and Malta, and a lot of national affection for the UK on the islands.
And on the other hand is a European Union of which Malta is firmly a part.
So when he told the press that he wished the UK hadn’t voted for Brexit, you got the impression he really meant it. And when he said that we can’t be allowed to enjoy the same terms as when we were a member of the EU, you got the impression he really meant that too.
But where does that leave your Gozo holiday? Well, whatever our ties and whatever the Maltese government’s inclinations, it can’t act without the rest of the EU. So however Brexit affects us in Valletta and Victoria, it must affect us in exactly the same way in Vienna and Vilnius.
At the moment, it seems you’re really only likely to notice that in two ways:
1. £ vs €
The pound hasn’t fully recovered from the hits it took following the result last year, although it’s fair to say that things have at least steadied of late.
You might get a little less for your pound this Gozo holiday compared to historic rates, but if we’re playing that game, you could also say that there have been plenty of occasions since 2008 when the pound was at far lower levels than it is now – and many of those were back when Brexit was just a twinkle in Nigel Farage’s eye.
2. The Conversation
It’s possible, as you enjoy a chat with your restaurateur, bar tender, taxi driver or museum guide, that you get a bit of gentle probing about the reasons for the vote. Not that anyone’s about to hold you responsible for the outcome (whichever way you voted) but there’s a curiosity amongst some islanders about the UK’s decision. That said, it’s hardly a hot topic of Gozitan conversation, so you shouldn’t feel the need to bone up on old copies of the New Statesman before you travel.
Because like so many things in Gozitan life, the UK, and often even mainland Europe, seems distant and unimportant when you’re on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean.
*photos courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.