Event Details

MEUSAC Re-launch

30 October 2017

MEUSAC is playing a vital role in roping in the public and civil society in the EU decision-making process and it is thanks to MEUSAC that Eurobarometer surveys constantly show that European citizens living in Malta are the most knowledgeable about EU affairs in the whole of the EU, Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia said today during the re-launch of MEUSAC.

Head of MEUSAC, Dr Vanni Xuereb explained that MEUSAC is marking a new phase, the third phase, in its history.

He said that the first phase started in 1999 when MEUSAC was founded and was entrusted with leading the consultation process between government and civil society prior to Malta’s joining of the EU on negotiations leading to Malta’s EU accession.

The second phase was when MEUSAC was re-activated in 2008 (post-EU accession) taking over the EU information function, overseeing the consultation process between government and civil society on what position Malta should take as an EU Member State on EU-related issues, and assisting in EU funding applications.

While on the subject of funding, Dr Xuereb said that from 2008 to date, MEUSAC assisted NGOs and local councils garner some €35 million in EU funds.

The third phase, he said, was when Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna announced during the 2017 Budget speech that MEUSAC is to be re-launched in an effort to increase its relevance in the process of the Europeanisation of this country.

“MEUSAC’s re-launch process has led to consolidation of consultation on EU affairs such as the decision to widen representation in the Core Group to include members of the national parliamentary committee on Foreign and European Affairs, members of the European Parliament, the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee,” Dr Xuereb explained.

Dr Xuereb referred to Eurobarometer surveys which show citizens in Malta are well informed on EU matters while stating that the majority of respondents of the same surveys showed that citizens in Malta feel they belong to the EU.

He said this did not mean that we should become complacent but if there’s a percentage of people out there who feel disconnected from the EU, it is our role to see why. “We need to keep working at keeping citizens connected to the EU,” Dr Xuereb said.

Besides launching its logo as part of its rebranding, he said MEUSAC is organising a string of events tied to its re-launch in a bid to instigate a debate on the future of Europe.

Dr Dalli said that it now makes more sense than ever that MEUSAC falls under the remit of the European Affairs Ministry.

“During the last legislature, in May this year, MEUSAC was transformed into an agency in the midst of a general election campaign.

“It was part of a process which the previous administration started in order to strengthen the social dialogue process,” she said, adding that “it is this government’s prerogative to listen to the people, hence the strengthening of this sector”. She said MEUSAC’s role is vital since it oversees important issues discussed during its Core Group meetings, such as ones that affect the quality of life of citizens. She referred to a recent meeting which discussed work-life balance and Brexit in the context of citizens’ rights; the rights of those who work or live in the UK and Malta in view of Brexit.

She said that during such meetings, “we absorb what the people’s wants and concerns are through civil society and social partners who voice their concerns over issues concerning the EU. She said that as a result of such meetings, nothing will come as a surprise to citizens in relation to issues which have an impact on their lives.

“MEUSAC is helping “simplify” EU directives and legislation for citizens and roping citizens in the decision-making process.”

Dr Farrugia said that MEUSAC’s re-launch is symbolic since it comes at a time when the EU is at a crossroads, due to Brexit and other issues.

“This is our chance, in view of Commission President Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of the EU, for Malta to contribute to the European Project’s vision.

“Trust ratings show that Malta is at the forefront where trust by citizens in EU institutions is concerned,” he said, thanking MEUSAC for conveying the EU’s message.

He said that Malta has an important role to play in helping shape a new Europe. He also suggested that once a year, Malta should organise a high-level international event, putting Malta at the centre of the EU.


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