The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola met The Malta Chamber at Europe House in Valletta. The current challenges faced by businesses and employers in Malta and Gozo, due to importation blockage, rising prices of imports and shortages of raw materials and consumables, were the main topics of discussion.
Representatives of the Maltese industry highlighted their major concerns - transportation of goods, lack of workers and rising fuel prices - mainly consequences of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Referring to the fact that Malta is an island - facing further challenges than other larger EU Member States - key players within the local industry called for innovative solutions for islands to be more competitive and sustainable.
In this regard, President Metsola referred to a recent action taken by the European Parliament - during this month’s Plenary Session - whereby it called on the European Commission to create an Island Pact - a specific strategy focusing on island states and regions, taking into account the specific challenges encountered. She also said that access to EU funding for islands - both states and regions - must be easier, simpler and faster.
In her exchange, President Metsola referred to her discussion with European leaders during the European Council held earlier this week in Brussels. “Dismissing concerns on rising costs and inflation as a passing phenomenon, or to assume it will not get worse, would be a wrong decision,” President Metsola said.
She stated that Europe needs a steady, clear and united approach that shows that we are all in this together. President Metsola added that there is no one state solution to the social and economic impact that is currently being faced, and that nothing should be off the table.
On the increasing price of fuel, the President of the European Parliament said that the shift to renewable energy is not only a matter of green ambition but a matter of security. She explained that the European Union has agreed to restock gas reserves before winter and to increase the pace of the green transition.
President Metsola highlighted that the current challenges are felt across the board - especially by consumers - and that the European Union must be sensitive towards the needs of the employers, employees, SMEs and consumers.