Make EU funds for Gozo more flexible, Metsola says

Increased financial difficulties for Gozitans to transport products to Malta should be given attention by the EU, the Nationalist Party MEP says

PN MEP Roberta Metsola
PN MEP Roberta Metsola

PN MEP Roberta Metsola said that Gozitan businesses are facing increasing challenges to compete on a level playing field and should be provided with additional flexibility.

"The double insularity experienced by Gozitans - especially those in business - results in further costs and more time to transport products from Malta to Gozo. This should be addressed, and Gozitan businesses should be provided with additional flexibility, particularly when it comes EU funding rules for transport” she said.

Metsola released a statement on Thursday after a question she submitted at the European Parliament to the European Commission.

She made reference to a de minimis ceiling for road transport. The de minimis aid rule allows businesses across the EU to be provided with aid that is exempt from requiring the Commission to be notified in advance if it is less than €200,000.

The de minimis rule also applies for aid of less than €100,000 to be used for road transport. Metsola said, “This is too low. Gozitan businesses are faced with much higher costs and this one-size-fits-all approach means that the playing field is being skewed. Gozitan businesses do not want handouts. They just want a fair approach that allows them to compete.”

Metsola argued that the specific characteristics of Gozo requires specific exemptions from this rule.

“For the past years I have been visiting Gozitan businesses and meeting with entrepreneurs in Gozo on a weekly basis and opened a constituency office in Gozo in 2018. The challenges due to the double insularity of the island are felt across Gozo, with businesses facing a huge bureaucratic process to be able to tap into funds. If we really want to see Gozo as a business hub, we must act and lighten the burden to do business in Gozo," she said.