PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS: Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg addresses the European Economic Social Committee Plenary Meeting in Brussels

During his speech, Parliamentary Secretary Borg said that interaction with civil society is a key element in the pursuit to bring the European process closer to the individual citizen and Malta’s collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an important ingredient to the success of the Maltese Presidency – a bridge between the Brussels institutions and the people of Europe.

Parliamentary Secretary Borg said that today our citizens are focused on the more immediate and personal issues, and in particular the economic and social conditions, surrounding their daily lives. The constant effects of the financial crisis, in terms of unemployment, and wealth inequalities, the impact of uncontrolled migration, and the uncertainties of the security situation, continue to influence attitudes towards the role and relevance of the Union.

Parliamentary Secretary Borg said that Malta’s cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee has been very concrete in the run-up to the Presidency. In fact, over the last months Malta has intensified this cooperation, together with our trio partners, The Netherlands and Slovakia. He explained that with the help and support of the Maltese members of the Committee, Malta has identified four topics on which it is requesting advisory opinions. These are nautical and maritime tourism diversification strategies; upscaling skills of persons in the labour market; high quality education for all; and islands in the EU: from structural handicap to inclusive territory. These themes reflect the emphasis the Maltese Presidency is placing on the socio-economic dimension of the Presidency programme. Parliamentary Secretary Borg further explained that Malta has identified the topic “Enhancing the socio-economic climate for a better Europe” as the guiding theme for the European Semester Ministerial debates to be held during the tenure of the Maltese Presidency.

The priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council were embraced by the various members of the EESC, who intervened and commented following Borg’s address. Putting the citizens at the heart of Europe was a common argument, and one which goes in line with what the Maltese Presidency is trying to achieve. Members of the EESC wished Parliamentary Secretary Borg and Malta every success, and argued that a successful Maltese Presidency that seeks to strengthen a healthy dialogue would find all the support of the EESC.

Parliamentary Secretary Borg thanked all intervening members. He said that every one of us has an obligation to implement measures that we have already agreed upon, and which can result in a trust-deficit by EU citizens if we fail to implement what is being proposed.

We are looking forward to these challenges, and to working with the EESC. We also look forward to hosting the meetings of the workers, employers, and various interest groups in Malta. Our ability to listen, to bring people together, to consult, and to guide will be key in achieving real success at a pan-European level,” concluded Borg.

Source: Government of Malta