Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Malta to receive € 817 million from the EU to green and digitalize its economy

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, September 20th 2022 à 10:05 | Read 1424 times

The EU will help Malta to decarbonize its ports (photo: F.Dubessy)
The EU will help Malta to decarbonize its ports (photo: F.Dubessy)
MALTA. As part of the European Union's (EU) cohesion policy for the period 2021-2027, Malta will benefit from €817 million in funding after signing a partnership agreement with the EU. A statement from the European Commission, published Friday, September 16, 2022, says that this envelope will allow "support for the sustainable development of its more competitive economy," to make it "more inclusive, greener and more digital."

The EU wants to address the existing disparities in the Mediterranean island. The EU funds will participate in the "ecological transition and energy security of the country as well as its digital transformation. They will improve the skills, employment and social inclusion of citizens," says the text.

The €817 million are made up of several instruments. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), together with the Cohesion Fund, will make the biggest effort with a total of €417 million. This amount will help make small and medium-sized enterprises more innovative, digital and competitive and will stimulate a smarter, low-carbon economy. "A significant part of the funds will be invested to ensure energy efficiency and energy storage capacity in the country through the development of a second electricity interconnection with Italy in the form of a high voltage submarine cable. This will enhance electricity supply and security and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the European Commission said.

Decarbonization of Maltese ports

In parallel, an investment of €23.3 million from the Just Transition Fund (FTJ) will be dedicated to the power supply to decarbonize the Grand Harbour (Valletta International Port) and the Malta Freeport, a private infrastructure created in 1988 and dedicated to the transhipment of containers in Marsaxlokk Bay (southeast of the island).

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will inject €124.4 million to give young people and women better access to employment. The ESF+ will also support innovative teaching methods and learning tools, inclusive education for vulnerable groups (children with disabilities) and education in the fields of ecological and digital transition.

"This partnership agreement will be essential for Malta to achieve its national social objectives for 2030, set in line with the Action Plan on the European Social Rights Base. I welcome the strategic focus of ESF+ investments, which stimulates quality education and training and addresses skills shortages," commented Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.

Training for workers in the health care sector

21.8 M€ released by the European Fund for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Feampa) will promote the growth of a sustainable blue economy, improve the resilience of the fisheries sector and facilitate the ecological transition of this sector by restoring and conserving aquatic biological resources and promoting sustainable aquaculture.

According to Virginijus Sinkevičius, this support will "create favourable conditions for the sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture and maritime and coastal activities in Malta. Furthermore, it will contribute to the ecological and digital transitions of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, enhancing the protection of the marine environment and marine biodiversity and implementing viable solutions for decarbonization while contributing to the governance of the oceans in the Central Mediterranean."

The remaining € 230.5 million will concern various projects such as "active inclusion, equal opportunities and non-discrimination of disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities". Or food aid offered to the poorest and investments in health systems and research in this field. Malta will provide training to workers in the health care, social protection and care sectors, launching awareness campaigns on healthy lifestyles and well-being.

The partnership agreement adopted on Friday, September 16, 2022 with Malta is the twenty-first after those concluded with Slovenia, Greece, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Estonia, Slovakia, Italy, Romania and Croatia.

Read also: Slovenia gets €3.26bn from the EU to support sustainable development of its economy

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