The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

PM attends EU Southern Leaders Summit: ‘EU should consult its citizens on bloc’s future’

Thursday, 11 January 2018, 12:46 Last update: about 5 years ago

The European Union should consult with its citizens on the future of the European bloc, and this exercise should involve a wide array of people, including those who disagree with how the EU is being led, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

He was attending the fourth Summit for Southern EU Leaders, which was held in Rome.

Echoing comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, Muscat said the consultation exercise should not be about ‘the same people saying the usual things.’ “We would like to hear people with different ideas, to listen also to those who disagree with the EU and those who feel excluded by it.”

The PM said this was not a meeting of a group of countries that wanted to become detached with the EU. On the contrary, this was a group that wanted to push forward its ideas on several areas of the union.

This included the EU budget, which is being discussed in the context of the departure from the bloc of Great Britain, a nation that contributes billions to the budget.

There is a debate on whether the remaining member states should make up for these funds or whether that amount should be deducted from the budget. Leaders are also debating which sectors should be prioritized.

This is a discussion that is still in its initial stages and one hopes that agreement is reached in the next year and a half, Muscat said.

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