PN and PL clash over EU’s report
The Nationalist and Labour parties yesterday clashed over the EU’s Autumn Economic Forecast on Malta, offering widely dif-ferent interpretations and trading accusations over water and electricity tariffs.
Labour’s spokesman for finance Karmenu Vella accused the Government of planning another hike in electricity tariffs after the election.
He took the cue from that part of the European Commission’s report which stated that “energy inflation is forecast to strengthen under the assumption of an increase in electricity prices”.
The claim was immediately dismissed by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech, who said the forecast showed that Labour’s plan to lower the tariffs could not be implemented without significantly increasing the island’s deficit and debt levels.
While Labour criticised the Government for being selective in its analysis by ignoring negative aspects, including an increase in inflation, the PN said Labour could not accept the positive verdict on Malta’s economy, which came despite the economic turmoil in the rest of the EU.
According to the Commission, Malta’s economy is expected to continue to grow this year and the next while Brussels is also recommending the closure of the excessive deficit procedure following the slashing of its structural deficit to under three per cent of GDP.