The European Council of the EU’s Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) has approved Malta’s post-COVID-19 recovery and resilience plan, which puts climate change first, with 54% of the budget allocated to improving sustainability on the island.
After Malta’s cabinet approved the €320 million pandemic recovery plan in June this year, it was up to the Economic and Financial Affairs Council to approve the proposed projects and reforms.
Having officially been approved, the promising plan focusing on climate change and digitisation looks to push Malta forward after almost two years of COVID-19.
The plan seeks to address climate change through enhanced energy efficiency, clean energy, circular economy and more sustainable transport.
Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that reforms include the development of a long-term strategy to renovate Malta’s building stock by 2050 and reorganising the waste collection system to make it more efficient.
The plan also aims at expanding the use of public transport and promoting remote working, which would indirectly contribute to cleaner air as a result of fewer vehicles commuting to the workplace.
It would also include the purchase of electric buses for public transport and the construction of a new ferry landing facility in St Paul’s Bay to provide alternative and more sustainable means of transport across our islands.
Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi said that the climate-related expenditures in the first two components of the plan account for 54% of the plan’s total allocation.
With 26% of the budget allocated to digitalisation, that’s the next main topic it emphasises. Further digitalisation of the public administration, including health and justice will be carried out.
Malta’s plan also seeks to tackle the challenge of reducing the number of early school leavers and upskilling and reskilling adults, and a new Centre for Vocational Educational will be established together with a new campus for the Institute of Tourism Studies.
In the field of anti-money laundering, Malta’s plan also includes a firm commitment to implement all necessary measures to address any weaknesses identified by the FATF.
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