Gozo allocated just 10% of Malta's EU funding, Metsola says

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola says Gozo requires more flexible approach as it risks being left behind due to its dependence on Malta and Europe’s one-size-fits-all approach

PN MEP Roberta Metsola
PN MEP Roberta Metsola

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola has warned that Gozo risks being left behind as a consequence of its dependence on Malta and Europe’s one-size-fits-all approach.

Addressing an event in the European Parliament dedicated to the specific characteristics of islands and the way these are taken into account in terms of the 2014-2020 EU budget, Metsola pointed out that Gozo was allocated just 9.7% of the €729 million that Malta has received from the Cohesion Policy Funding.

The Nationalist MEP argued that even though Gozo has benefitted in various ways from EU membership, it faces severe and permanent natural or demographic issues that require particular attention and that, because of its dependence on Malta, which is itself is an island, faces the problem of double insularity.

“Apart from Malta being an island nation, we also have Gozo, which has its own characteristics and needs, and which experiences particular difficulties due to double insularity, “ Metsola explained.

“The Maltese Islands insularity and peripheral factors reflect the vulnerability of Malta and especially Gozo, which requires particular attention as it is highly dependent on Malta’s economy,” the MEP said.

The MEP noted that a Declaration annexed to the Treaty of Accession on the ‘Island Region’ of Gozo was designed specially to address Gozo’s inherent needs, but more needs to be done.

“As MEPs we must continue to support Gozo and similar island regions in reducing the disparities between their level of development and that of the rest of the EU. Too often we legislate here in a one-size-fits-all approach that does not work equally in every region of the EU. We need to be more flexible when focusing on Gozo and smaller island regions,” she said.

Metsola also explained that there are a number of areas of concern that are unique to Gozo and that must be addressed in a coherent and holistic manner be it in creating the right conditions for strong job creation on the island or seriously improving the links between Gozo and Malta.

She also explained that as a consequence of the peripheral nature of the Maltese islands, Malta was still lagging behind on the Ten-T transport network, and that this year more attention will be given to the maritime aspect of the network, including the promotion of maritime motorways.

”It is my hope that Malta and Gozo will feature in this revised plan with greater emphasis on maritime trade,” Metsola said.

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