The Malta Business Bureau and the European Commission Representation in Malta organised a webinar on the European Green Deal to discuss the challenges and opportunities of transiting to a green economy and reflect on the current crisis’ impact on the long-term EU objective of becoming climate neutral by 2050. The webinar saw the participation of 130 people from all economic sectors of the Maltese economy and was hosted by the MBB’s EU Affairs manager Daniel Debono.
Debono explained that a discussion now on the future of the Green Deal was needed more than ever. “The EU will need to find a way of balancing the need of preserving its roadmap to meet long-term climate objectives and to find the financial resources to bring the economy back on track. The private sector understands its responsibility to deliver on sustainability commitments, but this could only be done with the right support and by ensuring a competitive European economy. The upcoming revision of the EU Budget proposal for 2021-2027 will be crucial to help businesses bounce back, only if it is ambitious in size and smart in its delivery,” he added.
Dr Joanna Drake, deputy director general of DG Environment at the European Commission commented that “the COVID-19 reality we are all living through right now has triggered a mass re-dimensioning of the new ‘normal’ we would like to live in. First, save lives and eradicate the virus. Second, ensure a robust, agile and symmetric recovery. Reboot the economy. And here the Commission is clear: It is strongly committed to a green and digital recovery. This is an opportunity for us to jumpstart a modern and sustainable Europe”.
The event also saw interventions from Malta’s heads of delegations in the European Parliament, MEPs Dr Miriam Dalli and Dr Roberta Metsola, who are also members of Parliament’s Environment Committee, and thus will be following closely any related EU Green Deal legislation.
Dr Dalli from the Socialist and Democrats Group, stated: “Following COVID-19 we need to make sure that money is invested in the right direction. We need a strong economic recovery that ensures economic growth, environmental sustainability and social protection. We need to act now if we want to make sure that we maximise on the benefits that the European Green Deal can provide. The private sector and governments have a very important role to ensure that we start transforming our economies to make sure they are future-proof.”
Dr Metsola from the European People’s Party, mentioned that “the conflict between the economy and the environment is an imagined one. The European Green Deal is an opportunity to shift away from a linear to a circular economy. The Green Deal’s mix of regulation and financial incentives should be seized by local businesses of all sizes to fuel innovation as we move towards meeting our climate commitments”.
During the webinar event, different sectorial topics, considered pillars of the European Green Deal, were an integral part of the discussion. These included the circular economy, sustainable tourism, smart mobility and investing in the green economy. For this part, local stakeholders with expertise in these areas contributed to the discussion. These included Adrian Mallia, managing director at Adi Associates and chairman of the Malta Chamber’s Sustainability Committee; George Micallef, tourism consultant and MHRA Council member; Konrad Pule, general manager of Malta Public Transport and Joseph Darmanin, chief Business Development officer of the Malta Development Bank.
The webinar event was supported by the Enterprise Europe Network.