[WATCH] Brexit means Malta has to fork out more cash to the EU

EU funds minister Aaron Farrugia and Opposition spokesperson for European affairs David Stellini on TVM’s Xtra

Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds Aaron Farrugia and PN spokesperson for European Affairs David Stellini
Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds Aaron Farrugia and PN spokesperson for European Affairs David Stellini

Malta will get a smaller share of the EU budget after Brexit creates a vacuum of €13 billion in EU funds, parliamentary secretary Aaron Farrugia said.

The junior minister said Malta will have to fork out more money to the European Union if a no deal Brexit happens, but said Malta would still secure a fair deal to consolidate its economic growth. 

Farrugia and Opposition spokesperson for European affairs David Stellini spoke about Malta’s prospects on EU funds on TVM’s Xtra.

Stellini commended the government’s diligent and timely expenditure of EU funds which led to Malta reaching all its financial targets for 2018. “I do believe that EU funds are making a difference in the Maltese quality of life and I think that government is investing these well,” he said.

He however said that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s interest was now to lower expectations especially when it comes to EU funds, even though the Individual Investor Programme was raking in a lot of money that would’ve been otherwise acquired from Europe.

Farrugia disagreed and said that irrespective of this, the mathematics show that EU funds granted are tied to the GDP of each country.

“In 2012, Malta’s GDP was 75% when compared to the EU average. Nowadays, it’s 90%. The EU Commission is currently proposing that Malta gets €250 million less than it took in 2012,” he said, adding that despite this issue, the beauty was that negotiations for a better deal were always possible. “I could promise €1 billion without negotiating further, only if we had to present to the EU Commission the same level of sluggish growth that Malta was experiencing under a Nationalist government in 2012 and the same level of unemployment.”

Farrugia said a new unit will assist private entities, which apply for 80% of direct EU funds, to be aware of how to make the best of these funds and how to properly apply.

Stellini said he was behind his party leader Adrian Delia on the issue of Gozo having its own regional council, but Farrugia said that turning Gozo into a region would result in less EU funds at its disposal. “Gozo could never qualify as a region especially when Malta often applies for funds by adding Gozo’s population to Malta’s… the PN’s proposal would see both Malta and Gozo being eligible for fewer funds.”

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