Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 September, 2021 at 4:09 pm by Andre Camilleri
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi participated in the General Affairs Council of the European Union in Brussels. The General Affairs Council convened to initiate the preparations for the European Council meeting scheduled for October, to discuss the latest developments on COVID-19 across the EU and to exchange views on the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Speaking during the General Affairs Council, Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi stressed the importance of strengthening access to pharmaceuticals across the EU to guarantee that all citizens, irrespective of the size of their local market, can receive an adequate medical treatment and the latest available medicines on the market. Such an approach is important to tackle any future challenges. During his intervention, Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi highlighted Malta’s achievements in vaccinating over 90% of its eligible population. Vaccination rates in the EU have plateaued, yet the COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent amongst the population and therefore Malta underscored the need for innovative ideas to incentivise people to get vaccinated. Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi added that it is important to continue to monitor the epidemiological situation closely, including the prevalence of emerging variants.
On the preparation for the European Council agenda, the Parliamentary Secretary agreed that it is important for EU leaders to touch base on COVID-19, the digital agenda, as well as the various issues related to external relations as proposed, including the preparations for the COP26 on climate change in Glasgow. A number of member states, including Malta, also proposed that EU leaders take stock of the implementation of actions related to migration as tasked by them in June.
Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi welcomed in particular an initiative to review the progress made on the Digital Agenda as well as to further discuss the Digital Compass at the next leaders’ meeting in October.
The General Affairs Council meeting held an exchange of views on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The European Commission updated delegations on the status of the work that is currently being carried out.
The Council was also briefed on the status of EU-UK relations.