FOI meets MLP spokesperson for
An FOI delegation led by President Anton Borg has met
the MLP spokesperson for EU Affairs Evarist Bartolo to discuss Maltas
membership of the EU and its effects on industry. The FOI side explained
how it had come out publicly in favour of EU membership on the basis
of information gathered, analysis of results of various reports commissioned
for the Federation and a survey conducted a year ago amongst members.
The FOI President emphasised that at no stage had the Council overlooked
the need for industry to compete and for the government to help it achieve
this target by reducing bureaucratic procedures, reducing taxation and
striving for much more increased efficiency in the public sector.
The FOI side acknowledged the fact that the adjustment period in the
initial years after membership could present some challenges for the
country and for certain sectors of industry. In the long-term the FOI
was sure that EU membership should be to the countrys benefit.
The FOI side outlined the challenges that in its opinion had to be faced
squarely independently of EU membership in the coming years. In particular,
the FOI saw current problems in the public financial agenda as the main
hurdles: an increasing borrowing requirement, a higher percentage of
revenue going to service the national debt and a widening gap in the
deficit. These problems had to be tackled even independently of Maltas
decision to proceed to EU membership. However, industry was keen to
see Government tackling these successfully, because a certain measure
of success for industry depended on the results achieved.
The FOI side expressed its satisfaction that the Malta Labour Party
had removed its opposition to EU membership and had on various occasions
since the holding of General Elections clearly stated that it was going
to work so that the country would get maximum benefit from membership.
The FOI side added that the parties also needed to find common ground
on the austerity measures that are needed to bring public spending on
social benefits, health and public employment, under control.
The FOI pointed out the benefits to the economy of evaluating legislation
by an assessment of the economic impact. This system already operated
in a number of member states. The two sides agreed that there should
be a series of meetings on specific topics with various spokespersons
of the party and with the leadership.
Deputy President Adrian Bajada, Vice President Joseph Pace and Director
General Edwin Calleja accompanied the FOI President to the meeting.