Malta’s EU funding could be in serious jeopardy, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat set to negotiate Malta’s term for the next seven years just as MEPs call for the country’s EU rights to be suspended following the current political crisis.
This week in Brussels, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU will submit its proposal for an EU budget for the period 2021-2027.
In a warning on Newsbook, former MEP candidate and senior EU official Peter Agius said that new EU Budget rules will now be tied to a “general regime of conditionality”, linking the funds to the effective application of the rule of law in the member state.
Malta received a massive €1.1 billion last time around, that went towards massive investments in the country’s infrastructure, like the road network, cultural heritage sites, and the oncology hospital. However, this could all change.
“Our share of that EU budget in the next seven years seems to be much less safe,” Agius warned, given the new terms of conditionality.
During an MEP delegation that visited last week, MEP Sven Giegold called on the European Commission to launch an Article 7 procedure against Malta, which would essentially remove that member state from the decision-making in Brussels by suspending its voting rights to adopt EU laws.
“This would not only asphyxiate our country in terms of its ability to adapt EU legislation to the particular need of our businesses, workers, youths etc, but it would also be an unbearable humiliation to all of us as European citizens,” he said.
The MEP delegation called for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s immediate resignation. Muscat was forced to announce his resignation for 12th January 2020 in the fallout of the arrest and charge in connection with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the links of his office to the murder.
However, activists, protestors, and Labour Party members are calling for Muscat to step down immediately, given his massive conflicts in the case.
“While it is true that the actions of this government have made us a ‘candidate’ for this procedure, the punishment inflicted would not be on its authors but on all of our honest and hard-working citizens,” Agius explained.