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Labour will ‘make a mess of EU funds’

The Labour Party would make a mess of the €1.128 billion in EU funds which Malta secured until 2020 and cannot be trusted with managing them, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said yesterday.

Who plays with fire gets burnt

“Whenever people invested in the Nationalist Party, we always delivered. We made mistakes but we delivered. We managed to get €1.128 billion in EU funds to spend. Who will you trust with these funds? They will surely make a mess of the EU funds,” he said.

Dr Gonzi, who was speaking during an interview on Radio 101, said that with four weeks to go before the election, the electorate should seriously consider how to vote “because a mistake on March 9 cannot be reversed”.

“How can I trust Labour if they are not capable of costing their electoral promises? They are adamant on building a new power station which we do not need simply out of spite. We are spending €200 million on the interconnector and they are only going to use 20 per cent of it. This is irresponsible political pique,” Dr Gonzi said.

He spoke about the various projects carried out in the nine years of EU membership through European funds and noted how Labour Leader Joseph Muscat had been against EU membership.

At least €63 million of the EU funds Malta clinched will be invested in a gas pipeline. This was the “safer option” to Labour’s “dangerous” proposal of building two gas storage plants as large as the Mosta church adjacent to its new power plant, which will cost €600 million and does not qualify for EU funds.

Within 12 to 14 months, the interconnector providing electricity from Sicily will be up and running and Malta can introduce a night tariff which will benefit hotels, restaurants, factories, small businesses and also families.

Referring to Dr Muscat’s plan to use a veto to force his hand on EU leaders, Dr Gonzi said this “methodology will bring disaster.”

“You have to win an argument through persuasion and not by threatening,” he said.

Dr Gonzi said Labour was “wrapped in blue” but was “as red as a watermelon” on the inside.

“If Labour keeps up with these bullying tactics, they will erase the good reputation we have managed to build with Europe over the years,” he said.

He warned that the next five years will be difficult but not as much as 2008, when the economic and financial crisis began. He, however, cautioned: “Who plays with fire gets burnt”.

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