Maltese totally agree: make EU funds conditional on respect for rule of law

Almost one in nine Maltese want the EU to have wider powers to deal with COVID-19 pandemic

LIBE committee MEPs led by (centre) Sophie in’t Veld in Malta during a fact-finding mission in late 2019. Left: Roberta Metsola (PN)
LIBE committee MEPs led by (centre) Sophie in’t Veld in Malta during a fact-finding mission in late 2019. Left: Roberta Metsola (PN)

More than half of Maltese respondents to a European Parliament survey have said they “totally agree” that EU funds should only be disbursed to member states which implement the rule of law and democratic principles.

At 53%, Malta was the highest second country to say that it “totally agrees” with such a position, along with Luxembourg (54%) and Austria (53%).

The poll was carried out by telephone by the EP towards the end of September.

In total, 77% across the EU support the concept that the EU should only provide funds to member states if the national government implements the rule of law and democratic principles.

54% of Europeans (Malta: 58%) believe the EU should have greater financial means to be able to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. In 20 EU member states, a majority of the participants agrees with this claim; in 14 EU Member States, an absolute majority of participants supports a larger EU budget.

Asked about which policy fields this enlarged EU budget should be spent on, more than half of participants (54%) say that public health should be a priority, followed by economic recovery and new opportunities for businesses (42%), climate change and environmental protection (37%) and employment and social affairs (35%). At EU level, climate change and the environment has replaced employment in the top three spending priorities compared to the last survey conducted in June 2020.

Public health is the top spending priority for respondents in 18 countries. Estonia, Latvia and Czechia put the economic recovery on top, whilst in Austria, Denmark and Germany citizens favoured most the fight against climate change.

In Croatia, Slovakia and Finland, participants chose employment and social affairs as their top spending priority.

A broad majority of citizens fear the pandemic will a direct impact on their personal financial situation –or have already suffered it: 39% of participants say that the COVID-19 crisis has already impacted their personal income (Malta: 43%), while a further 27% expect such an impact in the future (Malta: 23%).

Only 27% expect the COVID-19 situation not to have an impact on their personal income (Malta: 30%).

Citizens continue to see the EU as part of the solution to this crisis

Malta was also the country with the greatest tendency (87%) to agree that the EU should have more competences to deal with crises such as the coronavirus pandemic, compared to the EU average of 66%.

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