Muscat cautious on Malta’s chances of retaining current level of EU funding

The Prime Minister is in currently in Brussels attending an informal meeting of the 27 heads of EU member states

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has taken a cautious approach in discussing Malta’s chances of retaining the level of EU funding it obtained in the EU's 2014-2020 budget.

Muscat is currently in Brussels attending an informal meeting of the EU's 27 heads of state where, in comments to state broadcaster TVM, he said he was confident Malta would be able to make a case for retaining the same level of funding.

Back in 2013, Malta had negotiated a €1.12 billion package as part of the EU's seven-year annual budget.

Muscat said that EU rules were set out in a way that favoured countries with weaker economies, allowing them to receive more funding to aid them in their development.

“When a country’s economy grows, that funding decreases,” said Muscat. “We have made significant steps forward in the last few years but we are still not accepting this argument.”

Muscat said his administration had a clear strategy and ideas that it was presenting to the European Commission, in order to “safeguard Malta’s position”.

Earlier in the day, former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, reacting to media reports stating that Malta was not making enough noise in Brussels to retain its current level of EU funding, said that it looked as though Muscat had already given up.

“It looks like, for all his bluff, Joseph Muscat has already given up,” wrote Busuttil in a Facebook post. “What a difference from the €1.12 billion negotiated by Lawrence Gonzi and Richard Cachia Caruana against all odds in 2013.”

However Muscat insisted that it was having a clear strategy, and the results obtained that ultimately counted, and not how much noise one made.

“I am convinced that we will be able to - as we have done in the past months – embark on discussions with the European Commission and all stakeholders for us to make our arguments as Malta,” said Muscat.

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