PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AND EQUALITY: “Let us energise the EU project by reconnecting it to the citizen” – Minister Helena Dalli

The importance of keeping citizens at the centre of any negotiations or discussions on European issues was Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli’s main focus while addressing the Citizens’ Dialogue, organised on the occasion of Commissioner Gunther H. Oettinger’s visit to Malta.

Let us energise the EU project by reconnecting it with the citizen. Let us listen, act and communicate, said the Minister for European Affairs and Equality, expressing her belief that this is the way in which the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) might be an investment which obtains tangible results for the citizen.

Minister Dalli said that the EU budget can truly add value if it focuses on investment. Referring to cohesion policy, she said that this best embodies the investment in addressing social and economic issues since it can be adjusted to each region’s needs and particularities. Therefore, she insisted that all regions and member states should remain eligible to this policy.

The minister also made specific reference to two main points of concern which must be addressed by the MFF, these being irregular migration and agriculture. With reference to the former, Minister Dalli called for the allocation of adequate resources to address root causes and internal management, whilst in connection with the latter, she stressed the need to reform Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy, which currently favours large farmers and landowners. Malta and Gozo have very small farms, and as a result we put much more money into this policy than we get in return. This results in a major distortive effect which needs to be addressed.

During the public dialogue, Minister Dalli also spoke about the need for the simplification of rules and guidelines to access EU funds in order to reap the benefits of these funds in a more efficient manner. When commenting on financing, she emphasised that fiscal policy must remain the competence of member states.

Minister Dalli also referred to new challenges which the European Union is facing, and held that supporting such challenges strikes at the very heart of Europe’s credibility.

Source: Government of Malta