Maltese MEPs will be united – Roberta Metsola

(Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Roberta Metsola, First Vice President of the EU Parliament and PN MEP said that all Maltese MEPs will be united to prevent anything that will have a negative and disproportionate effect on Malta. Metsola was participating in a webinar organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta with the support of the European Commission.

The webinar held on Monday discussed the EU budget’s impact on Malta. PL MEP Alfred Sant, the Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi were among the participants.

Metsola stated that “we have to ensure that the own resources decisions do not have a disproportionate impact on smaller economies such as ours. The whole Maltese delegation at the EP will be united on this.”

Alfred Sant was of the same opinion.

“There should be a distinction between tax transparency and tax harmonization. With tax transparency in place, there would not be the need for tax harmonization.” He argued that transparency would be enough to guarantee fairness while enabling smaller states with smaller economies to use tax competition to attract investment.

EU not an ATM

EP Vice President Roberta Metsola also focused on the importance of making EU funds conditional on the respect of the rule of law by Members States. She stated that  “the EU is not an ATM”.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi emphasised that the funds from this MFF will have great importance in overcoming the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, to regenerate the economy, and for the challenges of the digital transition and the greening of the economy.

The business viewpoint and young people’s perspective were brought to centre stage by David Xuereb, President of the Chamber of Commerce, and Chiara Vassallo, President of the National Youth Council. Mr Xuereb highlighted the benefits of the various programmes and initiatives the EU has launched for pandemic recovery, a crisis which highlighted the commonalities among Member States.

For KNZ president Chiara Vassallo, the increased budget for Erasmus is a boon not only for young people but also for sectors that were hard hit by the pandemic, including the tourism sector. For the youth council, generational equality, as well gender equality, is needed in EU budget spending.

The in-depth discussion focused on the concept of new Own Resources, which are ways for the EU to raise its own budget without depending on contributions by Member States – and therefore on taxpayers’ money – to fund its Eur1.8bn+ budget  and the debt the EU looks set to incur for its major Covid-19 recovery plan by borrowing on the financial markets for the Next Generation EU.