Strategy for Gozo: Helping ensure that Gozo benefits from share of EU funds
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Today has seen the launch for public consultation of the Strategy for Gozo – for “economic growth, social prosperity, better accessibility and the creation of new and better jobs.”
“As an island region, Gozo’s economy faces different challenges, however has substantial potential which still needs to be exploited, said the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana during today’s launch.
She pointed out that “access to European Funds are crucial, and through this strategy, Gozitans will be focusing on their needs so that the island can continue to develop, paying particular attention to the environment and its specific characteristics, while continuing to obtain European funds for projects to be carried out on the island.”
The Minister added that, “this strategy, which is now open to public consultation, will enable Gozo to adapt itself as a region that needs to ensure its fair share of EU Funds allocated to Malta and Gozo. We will be giving importance to the creation of work in Gozo, accessibility and infrastructure and we will also be introducing new services in to better the quality of life.”
“Due to this strategy, Gozo will benefit from these EU funds, which will be allocated in line with the established priorities,” said Minister Caruana, and encouraged all Gozitans to partake in this consultation process, through which everyone can share their own ideas.
Also speaking at the launch, Aaron Farrugia, the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue, stated that the launching of this strategy for public consultation is needed so that Gozo can be better positioned to benefit from European funds.
He noted that this document views Gozo’s needs in “a holistic manner and that its vision focuses on four aspects, namely: economic growth, social prosperity, accessibility and the creation of new and better jobs in Gozo.”
Through this programme, the Parliamentary Secretary said that Gozo is already benefiting from “more than €22 million in infrastructural projects under the European Regional Development Fund.”
He also stated that while there are projects which Gozo will directly benefit from, there are also other projects which contribute to both islands.
The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned infrastructural projects such as: the extension of the Xewkija industrial park; the rehabilitation of the Xewkija windmill; the Gozo Museum; the walking, jogging and cycling trail in Ulysses Grove, and the multi-sport outdoor facility where one kilometre will be developed into a green space; the promotion of renewable energy systems in the domestic sector, where financial aid is being given, and; the improvement of the Gozo MCAST Campus, as part of the MCAST Campus Master Plan.
Parliamentary Secretary Farrugia also said that Gozo also benefited from the European Social Fund, by means of which a number of projects where launched with the aim of helping vulnerable people last August.
He concluded by saying that “Gozitans will also benefit from rural funds issued by the European Maritime and Fisheries funds and from the Business Enhance Scheme, where up until 2020, the Government will be providing financial assistance amounting to €50 million to businesses in both Malta and Gozo.”
The public consultation can be accessed here.
Photographs: DOI/Pierrre Sammut