[WATCH] PM insists government subsidies on energy are sustainable

Prime Minister Robert Abela says energy sector has been allocated €600 million in next year’s budget

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela said €600 million will be allocated to the energy sector in next year’s budget.

“This money is an investment in people and businesses. Through this help businesses can continue to grow and succeed,” the PM told supporters in Paola on Sunday morning.

The Labour leader compared the economic situation of the country with that of other European states, insisting government’s measures have allowed the economy to continue growing.

“These measures were implemented during and after two years of the pandemic, and after it had passed, the war in Ukraine came around,” he said. “Europe is facing a food supply and energy crisis.”

He said that if government did not introduce any measures, the country would find itself in an economic deadlock. “But we are a government that does not believe in austerity measures.”

The Labour leader said that government spent €473 million on energy alone in 2022.

“The moment the country’s consumption stops, its economy shrinks, and you know what the repercussions are,” Abela told supporters.

The PM announced that Malta, through energy minister Miriam Dalli, managed to get a derogation on energy at a European level. “Because we have the competence and credibility, we managed to convince Brussels on the reality faced by insulated countries like Malta.”

He also played down claims that government subsidies are not sustainable in the long-term. “What are doing is sustainable because we know what we are doing. All this help remains sustainable as long as we continue to be courageous in our decisions.”

Abela promised that any measures introduced by Labour governments after 2013 will be retained, despite the economic uncertainty faced by Europe.

The PM also announced there will be an increase in pensions during the upcoming 2023 Budget. The budget will be held on the 24 October.

In his concluding remarks, Abela hit out at the Nationalist Party’s leadership strategy.

“We don’t react according to what we see on social media,” he said. “We don’t base our strategy according to what certain NGOs, and the people who pushed to make us leader tell us. That is why people know where they stand with us.”

Parliament reopens  

With parliament reopening after summer recess on Monday, the PM mentioned a number of Bills that will be presented in the coming weeks.

He said government will be continuing to draw up legislation on the electronic tagging of prisoners. Abela also said media and journalism reforms will continue to be enacted by government.

“For every crisis we have faced, we have created an opportunity. That is why we will be launching our vision for the energy sectors in the coming weeks,” he said.

Abela also announced a reform on farming and food supply. “Farmers will be protected in order to ensure they continue working their land, and owners will also be given the assurances they deserve.”

A White Paper will be launched in the coming days. “It will be offering a holistic vision."