Nationalists: EU must ensure nobody is left behind in pandemic

‘That no one is left behind should remain our policy’ – Mario de Marco

Mario De Marco urged government investment to help Malta recover from the crisis
Mario De Marco urged government investment to help Malta recover from the crisis

The Nationalist Party wants a level-playing field for EU member states in the disbursement of funds to help countries cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Opposition spokesperson for Finance, Mario de Marco, MP Kirsty Debono and MEP Roberta Metsola have urged that “no one be left behind” in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance shadow minister Mario De Marco said European Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen had said “billions and trillions” had to be invested today must be used to create the future of Europe. “We need a level playing field, once the crisis is over. That no one is left behind should remain our policy. It would be unacceptable for politicians to try and make political gain at this time of crisis.”

Quoting EU founding father Jean Monnet’s ‘Europe will be forged in crisis’. De Marco said he hoped a more merciful and solidary Europe would emerge from the crisis.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola said the EU was coping with a crisis which began as a medical issue but now has a large economic and social aspect. “Failure to show solidarity will put the European project in danger.”

Maltese MEPs are in continuous discussions with the EU institutions and departments to bring the EU funds aspect in focus, Metsola said. “Our aim is to listen but also by listening, ensure that no one is left behind.”

She said Malta can apply for the same EU funds and procurement procedures for technology and protective equipment as larger countries. “Imagine if it had to compete with them for this vital equipment,” she said, lauding the benefits of EU membership.

Metsola pointed to so-called “green lanes” created by the EU which allow the passage of supplies of food and medical supplies that are of vital importance to Malta, being an island, despite closed borders.

The European Commission has adopted a €50 billion increase in EU funding and relaxed rules on State Aid to allow economic operations to benefit from funds, she added. “We cannot be afraid to spend today... if we are talking about economic good we must be talking about social good,” Metsola said, calling for increased efforts to save the national airline and essential services.