Stability and sustainability will be core themes in this year’s Budget

Prime Minister Robert Abela says his government will not shy away from bringing in the private sector to help implement public projects

Robert Abela speaking on One Radio (Photo: Partit Laburista)
Robert Abela speaking on One Radio (Photo: Partit Laburista)

Stability and sustainability will be the core themes behind the Budget 2023, Prime Minister Robert Abela said in an interview on Sunday.

Speaking on One Radio, Abela said that the government will be focused on providing economic peace of mind to businesses, in part by offering price stability through energy subsidies.

“If government, in this important moment, decreases financial aid, will it increase or decrease stability? Now is not the moment to take decisions that could instigate economic instability,” he said.

He insisted that his government takes every economic decision with sustainability in mind – ensuring that each decision can remain in place for as long as needed.

Abela reiterated the Labour Party’s strong stance against economic austerity. “From 2020 onwards, we used progressive economic policy to keep the economy on a strong rhythm. Now we’re seeing strong economic growth despite such pressures. That’s why our response to austerity is a hard no.”

He added that his government will not be afraid of roping in people from the private sector for capital and infrastructural projects. More so, he said that the government ought to be creative and create new models to carry out such public projects with the involvement of the private sector.

“The private sector is constantly approaching us to invest with government,” he said. “The disposition of the government is to say yes to such things.”

Abela discussed the government’s plans to introduce free public transport for all next month, and insisted that the measure will go ahead as promised despite public spending burdens brought on by energy subsidies.

“Because of extraordinary situations, international pressures, and how much government needed to intervene – if there has ever been a deserving moment to postpone this it would be now. But for government’s credibility, since we said that this measure will be implemented this year, we will implement it this year.”


Having attended this year’s Pride March last Saturday, Abela said the event’s high attendance was a celebration of strong civil liberties. He added that Gozo had its first Pride March this year, while Malta will be the scene of Europride in 2023.

“I believe social reforms give the Labour Party its identity,” he said. Abela added that more needs to be done, but the presence of government ministers and officials is proof of the party’s commitments to social reforms.

Earlier this month, Malta removed restrictions that stopped gay men from being able to donate blood. The ban was heavily influenced by the AIDS scourge of the 1980s. Sex between men was considered to be high risk by the health authorities and blood donation policies have taken time to evolve even as science has provided better blood testing techniques.

“This decision made a huge difference in the lives of those affected by this measure,” Abela said. “Irrespective of your sexual orientation, the state will treat you the same as everyone else. This brought joy to many because, for the first time, it meant some people were able to give blood and help others for the first time.”

He said the government is looking to fulfil three more measures in the near future. One of these will be to place gender reassignment operations on the national health service, meaning the state will finance the procedure.

Two other measures include adopting a strategy for the LGBTIQ+ community for the next five years, and setting up a health centre that will provide state and NGO health services under one roof to the queer community.