“I am optimistic that we will get a good financial package” – PM on European budget negotiations
Prime Minister and Labour leader Robert Abela has spoken about his first summit in the Council of the European Union, where discussions started on the European Union budget for the next seven years.
In a link-up on One Radio, Dr Abela stated that one has to work intensively towards an agreement and a good financial package for Malta. Dr Abela added that a principal factor is the UK’s exit from the European Union, which has translated into 60 billion euro less in the European Union budget.
The Prime Minister explained that the economic success achieved by Malta in recent years will influence the financial package, as according to European Union financial regulations, Malta will no longer be entitled to the highest possible amount of funds. Referring to agrarian policy, Dr Abela stated that there are discrepancies, as Malta pays six times the amount it receives, and according to the budget proposal Malta will now have to pay ten times the amount.
The Prime Minister added he had argued in the Council this week for Malta not to remain disadvantaged, even in talks with the President of the Commission and with the President of the Council. Dr Abela further stated that despite these having been two very difficult days in Brussels, he is optimistic that in these budget negotiations he will manage to obtain a reasonable agreement for Malta.
Dr Abela stated that the European Parliament wants the budget to be increased, and therefore a balance now has to be reached between what the Parliament is requesting and what is being requested by the Council and the Commission.
The Prime Minister stated that the heads of member states in Brussels had welcomed him very warmly, with positive reactions from European Parliament President David Sassoli and Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, adding they had noted the changes carried out in the first days of the year.