Gozo to benefit from further EU funds amounting to €500,000

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Gozo to benefit from further EU funds amounting to €500,000Gozo will be benefiting through two INTRREG MED 2014-2020 projects with funds that amount to around €500,000.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia.

“The Ministry for Gozo is constantly exploring new and different means to obtain EU funds to implement the vision of the Ministry for Gozo,” said Dr Caruana.

She added that “an important aspect of this vision is that Gozo truly becomes an ecological island that will thus make it a unique destination of quality.”

Through the SHERPA project, the Ministry for Gozo aims to become a model for how buildings owned by the public administration can improve their energy efficiency and serve as an example for other entities that wish to implement energy efficiency measures, said th Minister.

The project’s overall objective is to reinforce the capacities of public administrations at regional and sub-regional levels so as to improve the energy efficiency in their public buildings’ stock and reduce CO2 emissions.

It was explained that this should help accelerate the implementation of EU Directives 2010/31/EU (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) and 2012/27/EU (Energy Efficiency Directive) with respect to the existing stock of Mediterranean public buildings, given the specific conditions and difficulties related to EEB projects in the MED area and the associated potential of energy saving.

The Minister said that, “currently, 10 buildings were identified in Gozo to be studied for their use of energy over the past five years along with current measures present in the building which resulted in the reduction of energy consumption.”

Among these buildings are the Santa Marta Day Centre, Banca Giuratale and the University of Malta Gozo Campus.

Minister Caruana added that a similar project is currently underway. This project is funded through ERDF with a €2.5 million budget and involves the retrofitting of the public building that houses the Ministry for Gozo offices into an eco-friendly building.

Dr Caruana noted that it was appropriate that a project which targets economic operators in the tourism sector is announced on World Tourism Day. “The CONSUME LESS project aims to bring together restaurants in Gozo to effectively reach a number of criteria related to the reduction of energy use, water use, and generation of waste,” she said.

50% of the restaurants in Gozo have enrolled and are active participants in this project, said Dr Caruana. “A positive review of the implementation of the established criteria by the restaurant owners will eventually lead to the establishment being awarded the CONSUME LESS MED label,” she explained.

Restaurant owners will benefit from a free advertising campaign across the Mediterranean region which will potentially boost the commercial and investment avenues in the touristic sector.

Minister Caruana concluded by thanking Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia for his hard work and achievements in favour of Gozo, as well as the ecoGozo Directorate for the effort they have directed towards this particular project and towards other EU funded projects.

Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia praised the Ministry for Gozo, along with the beneficiaries, for their hard work in further pushing for economic stimulus on the island through European investment.

Aaron Farrugia said that these projects of territorial cooperation between Mediterranean countries help Maltese and Gozitan to exchange the best practices, ideas and experiences.

“Through SHERPA and CONSUME-LESS, public buildings, as well as private entities like restaurants, will make the best of innovative systems in order to preserve energy and improve the surrounding environment,” he added.

He explained that through these projects, Gozo will be receiving EU funds which go over and above the 10% of the voted EU structural funds.

Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri

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