16 February 2005

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Gonzi denies he has ‘informal’ agreement with EU Commission
Matthew Vella in Brussels

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday met with European Parliament President Josep Borrell in which Malta's arguments for it be an Objective One country were put forward.
Gonzi yesterday also described l-orizzont's front page article announcing Malta had already gained an informal agreement with the Commission on its Objective One status, as a case in 'superficial journalism'. According to l-orizzont, Commission insiders informed the newspaper that the outlook on Malta's chances for Objective One funding, irrespective of the statistical effect, were in fact positive.
Gonzi himself said discussions are still ongoing with other Member States on how their contribution to the EU budget should be for the coming seven-year period of the EU's financial perspectives.
"Who says that the decision has already been taken is absolutely wrong. The Commission's proposals are positive. But that type of journalism is in my opinion superficial. It is obvious it is incorrect because all countries are still discussion the formulation of the budget. Not even the level of contributions has yet been decided."
Gonzi said Malta's arguments for Objective One status had sense, logic and were strong arguments. "I am confident that these arguments will be understood."
In his meeting with Borrell, Gonzi also discussed the contribution of Malta to the Mediterranean dimension, a concept he claimed would have been advanced by Malta's MEPs. Borrell said the EU had been looking towards the East for long, and now it was time to look towards the South.

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