Malta to receive €1.128bn in EU funds
Following negotiations in Brussels, the Prime Minister obtained up to €1.128 billion for Malta in the next financial period (Multiannual Financial Framework) covering the EU's budgets from 2014 to 2020.
This amount includes €20 million more of directly-allocated funds made up of Cohesion and Agriculture funds, than Malta would have obtained if it had remained a Less Developed (Objective 1) country in the 2014-2020 financing period.
The deal is significant as it is juxtaposed against Europe's worst economic crisis in decades and a resulting substantial decrease of €33.6 billion in the overall commitment appropriations of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) when compared to the current financial period (2007-2013). The result is all the more important as Malta's economic growth over the past few years means that it no longer qualifies for the highest level of benefits from the EU's Cohesion Policy funds and has been upgraded from being a Less Developed region (previously known as Objective 1) to what is now known as a Transition region.
The agreement is a result of over a year and a half of negotiations following the European Commission's original proposal in June 2011, on the basis of which Malta would have received a total of €715 million under Cohesion Policy and Agriculture
Today’s deal in the European Council means that Malta has secured a total of €914 million in funds under Cohesion Policy and Agriculture, €22 million more than had it remained under the Objective 1. Moreover, there is a recognition of the permanent handicaps of Island Member States in the Conclusions, in line with the Lisbon Treaty.
The indicative overall funds which Malta will receive under the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (the figures in the other Headings are indicative at this stage and are based on Commission estimates and past performance) is estimated to be €1.128 billion. This compares well with the €1.115 billion which Malta was allocated during the current 2007-2013 period. It also sees an increase of €109 million for Malta over the original Commission proposal of June 2011 before this Commission proposal was cut by €85 billion overall in commitment appropriations. Malta is not only expected to benefit more in terms of allocations, but is also expected to pay less to the EU over the next seven years when compared to the Commission Proposal. It is estimated that Malta's net position (after its contribution to the EU budget) will be €627 million. This compares with an estimated €478 million net benefit under the original Commission proposal (which would have seen a net position of €149 million less). The Government has decided that a total of €110 million will be earmarked for Gozo.
In addition to the funds, Malta will benefit from a number of horizontal measures which will facilitate absorption and reduce unnecessary pressures on the national budget. These include the extension of the period available for the implementation of committed projects from three to four years, allowing Malta more time to complete these projects, ensuring that funds will not be lost; there was also the agreement to make non-reimbursable VAT on these projects eligible for funding.