Gonzi’s landmark “double win”
I refrained from commenting on the landmark EU budget deal clinched by Prime Minister Gonzi before reading a technical opinion about it. This was provided in The Sunday Times through an interview with Ms Marlene Bonnici, head of Malta’s EU Permanent Representation in Brussels.
Ms Bonnici is not a politician. She is an able civil servant who was given this job after the a most unholy coalition between the Opposition and renegade MPs from the Government side brought about the axing of Richard Cachia Caruana from that position.
Malta is fortunate that Richard Cachia Caruana is not a petty person. In spite of the aforementioned act of dastardliness he still accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister to coordinate Malta’s team of experts during the tough negotiations that have been going on since, at least, last November. TCachia Caruana’s great expertise in the matter contributed greatly to the success achieved for Malta by Prime Minister Gonzi.
Let me go back to the interview with Ms Bonnici.
She described the deal as a “double win” (a phrase I borrowed for the title of this piece) and explained why she used this description. These are some of the more important points that result from the interview.
- The EU reduced its budget.
- This notwithstanding the budget allotted to Malta was increased.
- Malta lost its Objective 1 status. This is the status of those countries meriting more help than others because their financial situation is not as prosperous as that of others. Malta lost the Objective 1 status because its “GDP has risen while that of several other member states has plummeted”.
- This notwithstanding Malta got more funds than it would have been entitled to had it remained an Objective 1 country.
This is why Ms Bonnici called the achievement of Prime Minister Gonzi - that is a EU budgetary contribution of Euro1,128,000,000 - a “double win”.
One should also remember that Prime Minister Gonzi had negotiated the EU budgetary allocation for Malta for the 2007-2013 budget. According to a report in this Sunday’s Il-Mument, when one factors in the 2007 allocation to Malta, together with additional funds that were given during the years and tops it with the present allocation the figure with be an astonishing €2.18 billion. This figure quite naturally dwarfs any other figure ever negotiated by any other Maltese politician. This is by no stretch of the imagination a mean feat.
It is positive that this “double win” by Prime Minister Gonzi was welcomed by all shades of blue, red and green.