Prime Minister Robert Abela has given a bleak assessment of the European Union’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan, claiming that it punishes member states who have their economic affairs in order.
Speaking on One radio from Brussels, Abela said the main concerns are with the fund itself.
“Yesterday we continued until late at night where a discussion on whether the rule of law should be one of the criteria on which funding is given. We’re making drastic changes to improve this.”
“We are asking why we should be penalised for having worked hard over the past few years to drastically cut unemployment. And the same goes for our economy. Malta could be one of the best performers after the pandemic, but the EU wants to punish counties who have been prudent and successful,” Abela said.
The plan is facing strong opposition in the EU, which will see a €750 billion recovery package to kickstart EU economies hit hard by the pandemic. It will be added to the seven-year EU budget from 2021 to 2027 that the leaders must also agree on soon.
Abela was not hopeful that an agreement will be reached this evening.
“We can’t wait any longer because the budget will come into force from next January. The Recovery Fund is a bigger emergency because of COVID. Every country is asking for funds. The discussion can’t drag on anymore,” he said.
Photo source: DOI – Jeremy Wannacott
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