Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat has stated that the European Commission not only gave economic certification for the budget presented by Government, but also recognised several social meaasures which are proposed for implementation next year.
In the course of a telephone interview on ONE Radio before the meeting of European leaders, Dr Muscat urged former Prime Minister Alfred Sant to again contest the European elections, adding that Malta needed Dr Sant’s experience and stature in the European Parliament. Dr Sant, who was a guest in the programme on the Labour Party radio station, stated that he would be deciding by the end of this month.
The Prime Minister stated that in approving the budget for next year, the European Commission did not just speak about the surplus and debt reduction, which it was pleased with, but also commented about planned social measures. Dr Muscat mentioned the increases in children’s allowance and pensions, and the measures for low income families and social accommodation. The Prime Minister added that this ties in with this week’s confirmation that Government’s efforts towards reducing poverty are being successful, with the rate of persons at risk of poverty and social exclusion dropping by 17% in four years.
Dr Muscat stated that poverty is not only addressed through measures, but also by remedies for some previous injustices. In this regard the Prime Minister mentioned that some 6,000 persons are presently receiving their second cheque with free compensation for injustices they suffered many years ago when they had been employed in labour corps, the Police corps or as port workers. Dr Muscat added that between them, they would be receiving about 11 million euro.
Dr Muscat declared that investment in Gozo by the Noovle company, a Google partner, which will employ 35 staff, is a strong signal of political and economic awakening taking place in Gozo. The Prime Minister explained that this will be one of the companies based in the area which previously housed the milk depot, which he added is being transformed into an innovation hub for similar companies.
Dr Muscat referred to the forum on medicinal cannabis which met in Malta, decribing this as a stupendous event which brought together world leaders in this sector to see what was being done in Malta. Dr Muscat declared that the first ten licences in this sector had been granted, and Malta will be the first country in Europe to host companies in this sector.