Although EU leaders have yet to agree on a new budget, the former head of the European Parliament in Malta, Peter Agius, estimates that Malta could lose up to €189 million in structural and cohesion funds from Brussels.
The main bone of contention among EU leaders is the size of the budget for the seven years starting in January 2021. Four member states argue it should be smaller but 17, including Malta, are insisting it should be even larger than what the President of the European Council proposed.
After 28 hours of discussions, Prime Minister Robert Abela was quoted saying that, although progress had been made, the talks were inconclusive. He said discussions would continue at another summit meeting and he was confident an agreement would eventually be reached.
Dr Agius noted that his estimates, which, he said, were corroborated by unofficial sources, meant that the cuts made so far were already 20 per cent below the sum that had been secured by former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi.
This was unacceptable, especially now that Malta had to invest in mass transport systems, a clean economy and a digital economy, Dr Agius remarked.