Minister Carmelo Abela referred to the creation of the next Economy, the so-called Green Economy which should lead to more job creation, so-called green jobs, work which in Abela’s words should be of higher quality. The Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Abela, said this during a consultation meeting with the Core Group of MEUSAC on the Review of the Trade Policy of the European Union in the coming years.
Together with the social partners and representatives of civil society, the trade power of the European Union as a bloc of 27 Member States was discussed, which is much greater than the strength of each individual country when it comes to trade agreements with third countries. The meeting discussed the European Commission’s proposals for a major overhaul of the European Union’s trade policy to address socio-economic recovery and strengthening competitiveness in various areas, in light of the fact that the global economy has been hit by the pandemic.
In his introduction to the meeting, the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister said that a good review on the way the European Union works in this area could lead to the creation of more quality jobs, look at undertakings from the point of view of practices that may be completely unfair, or outdated, and ensure coherence with the European Union’s overall priorities such as sustainable development, climate change and the digital economy.
Minister Abela referred to the partnership strategy with Africa that the Maltese Government launched at the beginning of this year and with which Malta was the second Member State of the European Union to adopt such a strategy. This strategy was praised by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, who by the end of this year will be drawing up a strategy for the European Union to exploit the potential of working together with the African continent.
The consultation that was launched covers the following key aspects: building a resilient and sustainable European Union economy in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic; creating business opportunities worldwide for businesses; strengthening the contribution of the trade policy to address key global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development, and the digital transition; improving a level playing field and protecting the businesses and citizens of the European Union.
The presentation of the revision proposals was made by Mr. Godwin Mifsud, the Director-General of the Department of Economic Policy and Mr. David Sammut, the Director for International Economic Policy, at the Ministry of Finance and Financial Services, which also considered members comments on the revision proposals for the European Union’s trade policy. Among others, members raised points about: the disadvantages that Malta faces in terms of supply chains and those that have become more exposed to the pandemic; access to opportunities offered by the European Union to small and medium-sized enterprises and access to finance; strengthening online business; to ensure that European Union agreements with third countries do not undermine the high standards of the Union; no form of child labour is tolerated and workers’ rights are always protected at all levels of the economy, especially in the aspects related to climate change and the protection of the environment.
During the Core Group meeting, the Director for European Union Funds at MEUSAC, Dr. Darren Grasso, informed members about a call for applications for European funds from the European Social Fund. Among others, the call is open to civil society organizations and the social partners and deals with projects in favour of active inclusion in the labour market for vulnerable and disadvantaged people and the strengthening of social dialogue. Partner organizations were invited to contact MEUSAC for assistance if they were interested in applying for these funds.