What the European ambassadors think
as an investment target to be enhanced with accession
In the second of a four part series, British High Commissioner
Vincent Fean replies to questions posed to ambassadors from EU member
states on the pros and cons of Maltas EU membership bid. Fean
is confident that EU accession for Malta would serve to promote the
Islands as a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment
from the UK and other EU member states.
How does the UK view Maltas entry into the EU?
Very positively. Malta/UK co-operation within the European Union would
add a new dimension to our relationship, which is already so strong
and deep. The United Kingdom has championed the cause of enlargement
in the EU, and has played its part in ensuring that the outcome of the
Copenhagen European Council was the best attainable for Malta. Malta's
accession adds value to the European Union.
Will Maltas decision on EU accession have an impact on investment
from the UK?
Maltese accession would improve the prospects for further UK investment
here. A clear decision is needed and it is good that the period of uncertainty
will end soon. Malta's many attractions as an investment target would
be enhanced by accession, with guaranteed access to the expanded EU
market, the benefit of the EU's preferential trade agreements with third
countries - including those of North Africa and the Levant - and full
participation in the EU's Structural Funds and Research and Development
Framework Programme - to name just a few positive aspects.
The EU is a good environment for the creation of the high quality, high
value-added jobs that Malta seeks for the University/MCAST graduates
and the school-leavers of tomorrow. I also believe that EU membership
would help improve the environment, including the working environment,
as more weight would be given to workers' health and safety.
How would investment from the UK fare in the future should
Malta choose not to join the EU?
It is important to distinguish between current and prospective investors.
No British investors have told me that they would scale back their operations
here if Malta declines the offer to join the EU.
But I believe there would be an opportunity lost in terms of foregoing
the chance to attract additional investors, including those from the
UK. I see Malta attracting more new investment by adhering to the standards
and norms of the EU than by deliberately diverging from them.
How would Maltas relationship with the UK change
I can see no downside for our bilateral relationship from EU accession,
only positive developments. The EU is a natural extension of the UK's
domestic policies and way of life. As a government, we talk far more
intensively and frequently with our EU partners than with anyone else,
with the exception of the United States.
If Malta joined the EU, there would be even more for the UK and Malta
to talk about and work on together than there is already. And there
is a certain affinity of mind-set, which would make those talks productive
and mutually beneficial.
Next week Italian Ambassador Dott. Alvise Memmo gives