Government concerned about cuts in cohesion funds
A minister and a parliamentary secretary, speaking at two different EU meetings, expressed concern and disapproval at proposed cuts in cohesion funds as discussions about the next financing period started in earnest.
Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli, whilst participating in the discussions on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework at the General Affairs Council, highlighted the importance of cohesion policy as a measure to leverage investment and to enhance trade across the EU bloc.
The General Affairs Council has been convened primarily to take stock of the latest state of play of negotiations on the MFF post-2020.
“Cohesion policy deserves greater importance through appropriate allocation, not the proposed reductions”, Minister Dalli remarked. The European Commission, in its MFF proposal, is suggesting funding reductions to the cohesion policy programme. Cohesion policy is considered vital for regions and member states of the European Union in their social and economic development.
Minister Dalli noted that despite GDP being a good measurement, it is crucial to consider other peculiarities prevalent in regions and in member states which the GDP measurement does not take into account. Minister Dalli stressed that cohesion policy is still relevant even for those member states which have reached a certain level of economic development.
Parliamentary secretary Aaron Farrugia was more forthright. The Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue said that the EU funds which Malta will receive post2020 should consolidate and sustain, not halt or hinder, the economic growth which Malta has experienced in recent years.