23 OCTOBER 2002

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Finance ministers meet in Barcelona

Finance Minister John Dalli represented Malta in a meeting held in Barcelona on the initiative of the European Investment Bank. During this meeting, the Finance Ministers of the 15 EU member states and the 12 Mediterranean Finance and Economy Ministers of the Partner Countries (MPC) launched the new Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment Partnership (FEMIP).

Mr Dalli in his address to the meeting said: "Malta welcomes all the European initiatives that focus on the Mediterranean and which have the objective of accelerating the political and economic development of all countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. This is the only way in which the people of the southern and eastern Mediterranean can aspire for an acceptable quality of life in their own country."

He continued “I must state, however, that although finance is very important, it is only the seed that can generate growth. This seed needs a fertile soil in which to grow.

“If we want the private sector to take up the facilities being made available to it and create activity that generates employment and wealth, there must be some work on the investment environment with same countries. Legislation must be clear, the judiciary must inspire confidence and bureaucracy must be more flexible and efficient.

“I wonder whether in the meantime that such reforms are underway, the bank, maybe through this facility, can develop some type of insurance that would help to smoothen some bumps in the investment assessment of private sector investors.”

This meeting was the first one of its kind under the Barcelona Process and its aim is to increase co-operation between the Union and its partner countries and to help the Mediterranean Partner Countries meet the challenges imposed by the economic and social modernisation and enhanced regional integration with a view to the creation of a customs union between Europe and the MPC by 2010.

The MPC will be involved in the FEMIP through a Policy Dialogue and Coordination Committee (PDCC) which will meet twice a year and will be composed of representatives of the Finance Ministers of the EU countries and Finance and Economy ministers of the 12 Partner countries.


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Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07, Malta
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