8 JANUARY 2003
By Matthew Vella
The results of a questionnaire on the EU financial package have yet to be collected and compiled, according to the Chamber of Commerce, who are assessing members views with regards to the EU financial package negotiated with the Maltese government.
Although the Chamber of Commerce hopes to yield a high-response rate for the survey it is conducting, it has yet to collect all answers as few respondents have registered their views on the EU financial package, negotiated in Copenhagen on 13 December 2002 after having initially yielded a paltry beneficiary. The final negotiations had yielded the total sum of Lm81 million in grants and liquid cash over the three years covering the budgetary period between 2004 and 2006.
The Chamber of Commerce told The Malta Financial and Business Times that it had sent its members a questionnaire asking whether they viewed the financial package negotiated as positive, negative or neutral with respect to their business, the sector in which they operate, and the Maltese economy in general.
The questionnaire also asked its members whether they agree that the Chamber of Commerce should endorse the financial package.
The Chamber of Commerce is now seeking a definite viewpoint to be set by their members on the financial package. The overall result will be the crucial go-ahead for the Chamber of Commerce in endorsing the financial package or not. The importance of the results of this questionnaire will be bearing directly on the Chamber of Commerce in its decision whether to endorse the package or not.
The Chamber of Commerce are therefore seeking a high-response rate for their questionnaire, especially due to the low response the questionnaire has had so far.
The Chamber of Commerce said that active steps had been taken to ensure such a high-response rate, as far as having sub-contracted individuals whose purpose was to ensure the Chambers members would be sending the questionnaire back with an opinion, and who would be collecting the questionnaire personally.
The Chamber has not yet released any sort of results for the questionnaire, or given any indication of the responses, although the body is seeking every form of credibility by urging a high-response from its members.
Ensuring such a response would indeed rid it from having to take what seems like the least favourite of moves actually endorsing the financial package on its own.
The seemingly pro-EU Chamber nevertheless looks for its peoples blessings, having now burdened itself with the moral obligation of urging all its members to respond to its questionnaire.
The result which should be guiding the Chamber on whether it should endorse the package or not does not stand to be a surprising decision, and although the Chamber of Commerces reservations about the EU are still not known and will probably never be known, it seems that it has still decided to seal its EU commitment by popular opinion from its Euro-friendly members.