The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Public consultation on how €971m in EU funds to be spent launched

Thursday, 9 September 2021, 13:52 Last update: about 11 days ago

A public consultation has been launched on a document that proposes how Malta will invest another tranche of the record £2.27 billion in European Union Funds allocated to Malta for the 2021-2027 programming period.

After a period of consultation with all stakeholders including ministries, authorities, government corporations, private organisations including civil society, non-governmental organisations and experts, a set of priorities were estalished to determine where to invest funds coming from the Cohesion, Just Transition and European Regional Development Funds. This will guarantee long term and sustainable investments for the country.

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Addressing a press conference on the launch of the public consultation document, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that the proposed investment will continue to build on initiatives undertaken under previous programming periods and also new ones included in Malta’s Plan for Recovery and Reselience and the already launched programme for investments from the European Social Fund Plus.

The Parliamentary Secretary stated that with today’s plan, the country will mobilise substantial resources towards the environment, facilitating financing to enterprise, energy efficiency and towards enhancing Malta’s cultural heritage, amongst other initiatives. Other investments in health, education, potable and new water and waste management are also included.

Today’s investment proposals also address the particular needs and opportunities for Gozo in all priorities listed but then, the programme also allocates around €60 million of investments for Gozo’s sustainable urban development.

Zrinzo Azzopardi also said that around €207 million will be invested to enhance Malta’s competitiveness with initiatives aimed at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), investments towards a digital and innovative economy and other investments for research and innovation. A business incubation centre is also being proposed.

The programme of investments announced today includes the expenditure of €469 million all aimed at initiatives to contribute towards clean energy. These initiatives will focus on energy efficiency and emmissions reduction with the aim of combating climate change. The programme proposes the introduction of different and sustainable mobility systems in the urban localities of the country, in line with the European Green Deal with the aim of reaching climate neutrality by the year 2050 as envisaged in the Paris Treaty. Various initiatives to create green corridors and enhance Natura 2000 sites are being proposed. Malta will also continue to strengthen it’s electricity supply by investing in a new interconnector and energy storage. Other investments will be made with the aim of protecting and conserving Malta’s nature and biodiversity.

Zrinzo Azzopardi explained that the further development of Malta’s connectivity with Europe’s TEN-T Network with projects aimed at strengthening infrastructure to cater for today’s and future needs will continue to be supported. In fact, €52 million will be spent on this priority.

Another €33 million from the Just Transition Fund will be spent to expand the ship-to-shore project at the Grand Harbour and implement a similar project at Malta Freeport. The resulting reduction in emissions in localities in the vicinity of both harbours will greatly enhance the environment for the surrounding population. Funds from the Just Transition Facility will also be used to install charging points for electrical cars throughout the country.

With the aim of ensuring a better standard of living for all citizens, Malta will also invest these European Funds to improve equal access to inclusive and quality services in education, training and lifelong learning by developing accessible infrastructure, including by fostering resilience for distance and online education and training. We will continue to invest heavily in the health sector by, amongst other initiatives, building a new hospital for acute mental illness. A total of €150 million is being proposed for this priority with the aim of achieving better services for all the population. Funds will also be directed towards the tourism sector through investments in Malta’s cultural heritage which will be of benefit to the whole population.

Zrinzo Azzopardi concluded by saying that the investments being proposed in this consultation document are all aimed at strengthening the economic, social and environmental structures of the country by addressing the needs and opportunities of the country, even in the long term. The general public and all those interested are invited to participate in this consultation process by submitting comments and suggestions by Friday, 8 October 2021.

The consultation document may be downloaded from the EU funds website www.eufunds.govmt and submissions can be sent by email to: [email protected] or by post to the Director General, Strategy and Implementation Division, 32, House of Catalunya, Marsamxett Road, Valletta.

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