EU funding for Gozo has chance through cross border initiatives – Sant
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Labour MEP Alfred Sant has told he Gozo Business Chamber that EU funding to Gozo has a better chance of European Commission approval through cross border initiatives.
He explained that to achieve EU funding to Gozo that goes beyond that already accorded to Malta under EU budgetary rules, it is important to set out cross border initiatives with other island groups from other member states.
Dr Sant was speaking during a visit with the Chamber, after they requested the meeting to discuss further cooperation with the Maltese MEP and his Gozo office to promote the Gozo Business Chamber’s initiatives in the EU.
Chamber members emphasised the need for new ideas to promote initiatives that would help generate new business in EU small islands.
They also stressed their commitment to generate such proposals on a cross border basis with other island business organisations.
Dr Sant explained that EU procedures have to be followed strictly when new investment ideas are being sought.
He added that most procedures followed by the European Commission are not designed to cater for small islands like that of Gozo and Malta. “Extra focus should therefore be given to ensure that some projects that make sense for Gozo really get the right backing,”
The MEP went on to say that this has already been achieved in a project to promote clean energy sources for EU isolated islands that was launched through the European Parliament through his initiative and other MEPS from Croatia, Sicily and Sardinia. This project has now been adopted by the EC with a budgetary commitment of €10 million for a pilot project, he said.
During the meeting Mr Borg emphasised the importance of ever improving connectivity between islands and mainlands.
On this basis he stressed that besides the tunnel project, Gozo Channel facilities have to be given the same importance as a basic infrastructure by way of new investment that Malta International Airport has been given over the years.
European financial instruments that could help SMEs and Gozo’s labour market were also discussed during the meeting.
It was noted during the meeting that “25% of Gozo’s working population commute to Malta because of better working conditions.”
Currently the Gozo Business Chamber holds the presidency of INSULEUR (network of the insular chambers of commerce and industry of the European Union).
D Sant said that further follow-up meetings will take place in Brussels during an upcoming visit of a delegation from the Gozo Business Chamber in January 2019
The meeting was attended by Mr Joseph Borg (President), Michael Galea (Vice President) and Council Members Peter Paul Hili, Dr Jonathan Mintoff, Andrew Zammit and Jack Thewma (Office Manager).