The road to recovery from COVID-19 has been a crucial pillar in looking towards a post-pandemic era. Returning to normality and the possibility for a green transition through a COVID-19 recovery has been at the heart of the EU’s strategy.
Yet, despite the EU working towards the stages of implementing the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), as of the writing of this article, Malta has yet to formally submit their plans to start receiving up to €316 million in recovery funds.
Tuesday 18th May marked a right to information discussion within the European Parliament, debating on whether MEPs are properly informed about the national recovery and resilience plans submitted to the Commission.
Latvian Commissioner and Executive Vice-President of the Commission Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed in his opening statement that “as of [Tuesday], 18 Member States have submitted their plans”.
Denmark, Slovenia, Portugal and Cyprus number among these 18, with Cyprus being the most recent Member State to submit their plans. In doing so, each country is able to tap into the €627.5 billion in funds to help with a COVID-19 recovery.
Dombrovskis went on to explain that the “Commission has two months to perform the assessment; during which we will be guided by the assessment criteria of the Regulation and by our common goal to deliver high-quality plans.”
I just signed the Recovery and Resilience Facility, approved by the @Europarl_EN this week. This is a key regulation to overcome this crisis.
— David Sassoli (@EP_President) February 12, 2021
Currently, the RRF will enter into force one day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU once it has been formally approved by the European Council.
This news comes two weeks after Nationalist MEP candidate Peter Agius warned that Malta appeared to have missed the deadline to receive the first round of funds for a COVID-19 recovery.
According to the official timeline on the RRF, Member States were meant to, as a rule, submit their recovery plans with clear milestones and targets by 30th April – a deadline that Malta has seemingly appeared to miss.
Agius questioned how Malta was to have “a true recovery plan bringing solace to hard-hit sectors of the economy when the plan is kept under wraps in government buildings”.
He also warned of the danger of this plan becoming a bureaucratic government exercise rather than responding to the needs of Maltese people.
“Compared to the 20 million national assistance just launched by the Government, the EU’s 316 million in recovery funds can have a deeper and more wholesome impact on sectors of our economy including tourism, producer industries and small businesses who have had to forego any business as a result of the lockdowns”.
As things stand, according to an official government statement on 15th April, Malta is working on a recovery and resilience plan that will both meet the EU’s vision for a greener future and lead towards the betterment in quality of life for all Maltese and Gozitan people.
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, described Malta’s recovery plan as a way for Malta to “embark on a process to reach our environmental objectives together with the digital transition, which are of priority for both Malta and the European Union”.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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