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Malta gets over €1.1bn from new EU budget

Gonzi was last to leave EU budget negotiation table

Malta will benefit from more than €1.1 billion of new EU funds in the next seven-year budgetary period between 2014 and 2020.

Through the deal, the EU finally accepted all of Malta’s arguments to be compensated for its ‘natural handicaps’, particularly due to its small size and isolation from the continent.

In fact, the island ended up with a deal twice the size of what was originally put on the table.

Visibly tired but satisfied at the end of 25 hours of round-the-clock negotiations, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi proudly announced that Malta managed to secure €1.128 billion in new EU funds.

“We managed to convince our partners that what was put on the table for us – €680 million – was not good enough. We kept insisting all along the way and now we are proud to end up with €1,128 million.

“This will be another massive boost to our economy through which Malta will make the next leap forward,” he said.

Despite the long negotiations, with EU leaders having even to skip sleep, Dr Gonzi was the last to leave the negotiations table. European Council sources said: “Malta was the one that kept the deal open until the end as the Maltese Prime Minister keep insisting on more compensation.”

Asked about this, Dr Gonzi said he “wanted to do everything possible to get the best deal for Malta”.

The new 2014-2020 deal puts the island in a better position than that of 2005 when the current budget (2007-2013) was negotiated. In 2005, Malta had negotiated an €855 million deal.

The new agreement means that Malta will get almost €2 from the EU coffers for every €1 it contributes.

Malta’s success in clinching such a good deal in this two-day summit becomes even more significant when the whole European scenario is taken into account.

For the first time in the EU’s 56-year-long history, European leaders have agreed to cut spending to just one per cent of the EU’s GNI, that is by some €40 billion, when compared to the 2007-2013 period, to €908 billion.

This was a clear win for the net contributors, or the biggest paymasters – led by the UK, that were adamant on an austerity budget in line with severe cutbacks they had to impose at home over the past years to keep their economies on course despite the economic downturn.

Among the details given by Dr Gonzi on how the €1,128 million will be divided, he said that €914 million would be dedicated to cohesion policy and agriculture and €110 million will go to Gozo.

Malta also acquired funds under the Connecting Europe Facility with €63 million earmarked to build a gas pipeline with Sicily.

EU Budget 2014 - 2020

Cohesion policy - € 776m
Agriculture - €138m
Migration/internal security/education and fisheries - €120m
Connecting Europe Facility/ research/environment - €94m
Total EU funds - €1,128m
Contribution by Malta - €501m
Net balance - +€627m

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