The Gozo Chamber of Commerce and the Gozo Tourism Association recently held a meeting with representatives of Gozitan constituted bodies and the College of the Parish Priest at Ta' Cenc Hotel.

During the meeting it was unanimously agreed to set up a Gozo Forum, with the Gozo Business Chamber, the Gozo Tourism Association, local councils, constituted bodies and the College of the Parish Priest represented on the committee.

It was unanimously agreed that since accessibility to the island is essential for Gozo's economy, society and culture, one cannot separate Gozo Channel which operates the ferry services from the effects it has on life on the island.

Referring to the solidarity and subsidiary principles on which the European Union is built, the representatives protested against the increase in ferry fares announced recently by Gozo Channel which they described as additional taxes on Gozo's infrastructure. An appeal was made for the raises to be revoked as soon as possible so that the island's financial problems caused by lack of investment and substantial job losses will not increase.

The representatives also said that the EU's four freedoms of movement including that of the individual and products are currently being threatened by the higher tariffs which will have a negative impacts on accessibility to Malta and Gozo, as well as the transportation of goods between the two islands.

An appeal was made for the Mgarr and Sa Maison trips to remain as they are at present as well, for the parties concerned to be consulted about any changes in the Gozo Channel's services.

Those present also deplored the fact that the central government did not include Gozo in the Trans European Network which has excluded the island from the help it could have obtained from the funds of this European programme.

Joseph G. Grech, the chief executive of the Gozo Business Chamber, GTA secretary Joe Muscat, GUG president Samuel Azzopardi, Ghajnsielem mayor Frans Cauchi, Sannat mayor Carmel Camilleri, General Workers' Union representative Maragret Magrin and Unjoni Haddiema Maghqudin representative Felix Grech all expressed their concerns regarding the new ferry rates and the effect they will have on the Gozo's economy.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, they all agreed that the meeting proved to be very fruitful and welcomed the setting up of the Gozo Forum which will serve as a network between its members in safeguarding Gozitans interests and proposing solutions to difficulties the island may be facing.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.