Exclusive: Interview with Minister for Finances Clyde Caruana

Clyde Caruana

After more than a year of sending him emails, chasing him, and goading him for an interview, finally I got hold of the second most important person in the government: the Minister for Finances Clyde Caruana. He was also courageous enough to pick up the phone and trust me, something which he may regret later given that he is not allowed to speak to me or The Shift News, but we are aware he can also pull off a good fight.

The call lasted 13 minutes and I could snatch a couple of coherent answers from him and this is how it went.

Do you have any plans to contest for the Labor Party leadership? If not, do you have plans to be more involved with the Labour Party? 

I am a quiet person. I don’t have canvassers and I don’t even campaign for the election. Those who have political ambitions are very clear about it, and equally, I’m very clear about preferring a quiet life.

But you are the second most powerful executive in the government. Although the general public is very well aware of your discontent, you are an active participant in the same government actions that you disagree with. How can you reconcile your position in the government if you disagree with many of its actions? 

I can not take unilateral decisions and every decision is made by the cabinet. I do make my criticism and I express my position regularly on many matters relating to finance, but at the end of the day, I don’t have a veto on government decisions.

This is definitely not the Finance Ministry that I remember when I worked with the government. You have direct executive control over the budget and public finances, surely you can make decisions. What if someone exceeds expenditure estimates, can’t you intervene in that case? 

I can not take any unilateral action and even in those cases where estimates are exceeded, a decision by the cabinet would be needed.

However, you still didn’t reply on how you reconcile your position. The government’s deficit is out of control and you also made it quite clear you disagree with reckless public expenditure, but you are the minister who signs for these things. Aren’t you worried about the out-of-control and ever-increasing public debt? 

As of this year, the EU Commission has laid out the details of the new fiscal expenditure guidelines. These guidelines will eventually bring the government back on track to decrease the deficit and eventually start reducing the debt load.

But, we are already in a situation where the Prime Minister doesn’t necessarily comply or agree with EU fiscal and expenditure guidelines, what makes you so confident that new EU guidelines will put us on the right track? 

Malta has no choice but to adhere to these guidelines and we have a plan for this. At the end of the day, even Viktor Orban is forced to do the right thing by the EU so I don’t see a problem in this.

Let’s say you are right and we are going to decrease our deficit and turn public finances more sustainable. That undoubtedly means that we are going to decrease public expenditure, yes?


Malta is registering a low rate of inflation in energy and electricity prices because they are heavily subsidized by the government, however, subsidies are offsetting premium prices at which we are buying energy sources. Does the government have an alternative plan since this is heavily impacting public finances? 

First, of all, you are not fully correct since we have a partial dependence on the electricity price of the interconnector, but in addition, the government has a plan for this, and Miriam Dalli launched an important part of it today. I suggest you read it carefully because it is going to help mitigate the price impacts.

I have also asked him a couple of other questions which I don’t want to publish because I’d prefer he answers me back the next time I call him, instead of having him think about it due to the bullshit his boss would throw at him for speaking to a journalist (it really feels like we live under our own little and petty dictatorship, doesn’t it?).


  1. “Malta has no choice but to adhere to these guidelines and we have a plan for this. At the end of the day, even Viktor Orban is forced to do the right thing by the EU so I don’t see a problem in this.”

    The comparison with Viktor Orban is really telling about the Finance Minister’s feeling towards the Cabinet he forms part of.

    He should be remined that if his decisions are constantly over-ruled by Cabinet, he still has the option to resign.

  2. I have no doubt about his professionality, but unfortunately he is surrounded by a bunch of idiots who doesn’t knows what it means being a servant for your country. Most of them are partners with business to acquire money.

    • That’s the exact conclusion he wanted you to draw – you fell for it hook, line, and sinker. The alternative view is that as the second most powerful person in government, he has to assume responsibility for whatever he signs instead of hiding behind the cabinet smokescreen.

  3. Prosit Mr camilleri well done. This is the sort of journalism we expect but rarely see. Nobody seems to have a spine on this island.

    I hope more people support you so you stay independent

  4. I used to have high hopes for Clyde and would have supported his bid for leadership along with other disgruntled Labour supporters but after the Airmalta Curmi debacle I have brushed him aside. Like somebody else wrote he can easily resign if he does not want to become party to all the shit flying about. Then he would truly lead a quite life.

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