Statement by President von der Leyen on Malta’s recovery and resilience plan

Statement by President von der Leyen on Malta’s recovery and resilience plan

Thank you so much dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for the very warm welcome, and thank you very much for the visit we had beforehand at the Malta Information Technology Agency – very fascinating to see the work that has been done over the last 12 months in improving cybersecurity. And it shows that it is a hallmark of the country’s digital future that we have seen and visited today.

I want to focus indeed also on the reason why I am here today and that is NextGenerationEU, the Recovery Plan for Europe. It is indeed more than a recovery plan, it is also reshaping our continent for decades ahead. What we are doing is: We are basically making the European Green Deal a reality through the investment. We are digitising our economies and societies like we have never done before. And it will spur our recovery from the pandemic, the economic impact of the pandemic, that Malta needs and that Europe needs. The plan is worth EUR 800 billion in today’s prices, so a real kick-start again for our economies after a very difficult time.

The reason why I am here today is that I am happy to announce that the European Commission has decided to give its green light to Malta’s recovery and resilience plan. It follows indeed a very good cooperation between our teams and a thorough assessment by the Commission. The reforms and investments it foresees will certainly, as you have described, accelerate the green and the digital transitions in Malta.

This plan excels by the fact that 54% of the plan will support our green objectives. This is one of the greenest plans that the Commission has approved so far. And there is investment – to just give a few examples – in large-scale renovation, there is investment in the renovation of buildings, the instalment of solar panels, just to name a few topics.

The plan also promotes more circularity. And of course, it promotes important reforms also in the construction sector and in the demolition sector. So a lot of topics that really pay into the question of serving the European Green Deal. You mentioned the new zero emission buses, you mentioned the car-free areas in the city, you mentioned the construction of ferry landing sites in support of clean ferries that cruise through Malta’s waters – I have just seen an example for that. So this is the future.

The Maltese plan will also dedicate significant resources to our other landmark goal, and that is the digital transition. And I was glad to see in the centre, at the Agency, this morning, how your digital future will look like, with 25% of the plan’s budget dedicated to this goal. Indeed, NextGenerationEU will make public administration and services more efficient and more accessible, especially in justice and healthcare. The plan will also help Maltese businesses to go digital and invest in online courses for all, by promoting a new e-College platform.

I want to commend the healthcare dimension in your plan. You have planned reforms to attract and to retain health workers coming from abroad to care for Maltese patients. And the plan foresees investments in modern, innovative cancer treatment. So all this is in line also with the EU priorities for health and good news for the Maltese people.

In short, the plan clearly meets the demanding criteria we have jointly established. The Commission’s approval is an important milestone for the disbursement of the EUR 316 million over the next years. But it is only the beginning. What is necessary now is the Council’s approval and then the work begins with the implementation of the plan, the investments and the crucial reforms.

And the reforms we have in NextGenerationEU – on one side the investment, on the other side the reforms – to rebuild a robust economy are first and foremost built on trust. Trust makes business and investment thrive; trust in free and independent media; trust in the independent and efficient judicial system. And therefore, we have, as you mentioned, agreed on reforms that are crucial in the plan.

First and foremost, it is about strengthening the independence and the efficiency of the national justice and prosecution system. This should also lead to a more effective fight against corruption. Secondly, the plan includes measures to curb aggressive tax planning practices. And thirdly, it includes reforms to further combat money laundering. All these reforms are, like in any other plan, linked to milestones. So the implementation is linked to the disbursement of money. And the Commission is of course ready to support your efforts and to help you accelerate these reforms. So now I am happy to hand over to you the approval of the Maltese recovery and resilience plan.

Source: Statement by the President Malta’s plan (europa.eu)

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/nl/photos/baai-malta-blauw-water-dorp-1988385/

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