Government requests European Commission assessment of Gozo's social and economic disparities

It said that notwithstanding the investment made in recent years, Gozo still lagged behind Malta and needed a tailor-made approach  

The Maltese government has requested as assessment of Gozo's social and economic disparities
The Maltese government has requested as assessment of Gozo's social and economic disparities

The Maltese government has submitted an official request to the European Commission for it to report to the European Council on the economic and social situation of Gozo.

In particular, the request asks for an assessment of the disparities in social and economic development levels between the two islands, the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Maltese government is convinced that further efforts are required to adequately support island territories to ensure that these regions are not undermined by the territorial handicaps that these regions face,” the government said.

It added that the declaration calls for “action to be taken before the end of each budgetary period in an effort to mitigate these challenges in future projects”.

The government said it believed that addressing Gozo’s specific situation required a tailor-made approach that can bolster the island’s economic activity whilst “protecting its inherent and distinctive natural features”.

It said that for this purpose, the government had earmarked 10% of the Structural and Cohesion Funds due to it, specifically to address the needs of Gozo during the last two programming periods.

“Cognisant of the investment undertaken in recent years in a number of areas in Gozo, such as basic infrastructure in transport and environment, tourism and health related projects as well as training and employment opportunities; a comparison of socio-economic development levels, indicate that notwithstanding the investment made, disparities still persist and that the development of the island of Gozo lags behind that of Malta, primarily for reasons relating to its double insularity,” government said.

Within this context, it said it was invited the Commission to propose appropriate measures to further enable Gozo’s integration within the European internal market.

“Whilst this approach aims to provide a renewed impetus for the development of the island of Gozo, the objective is to foster sustainable development within Gozo which will contribute towards a better quality of life for today’s and future generations living in Gozo.”

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