Following a series of citizens’ consultations focusing on the future of the European Union (EU), Prime Minister Joseph Muscat participated in the final event to formally close the consultation process, themed ‘Għid tiegħek dwar l-Ewropa’, held on November 9, 2018.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the EU needs to focus on ensuring continued sustainable employment. He noted that while many third country nationals see a bright future for themselves in Europe, many EU citizens are looking elsewhere. Prime Minister Muscat said that this issue is becoming increasingly more important to the EU’s context with Brexit looming closer, as the EU is set to lose 10% of the top 500 universities across the globe.
Participants focused on various themes when making their interventions. The discussion focused on the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), employment in Europe and external investment, and the need to further decrease poverty across the EU.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the upcoming MFF will be a political budget, and will not simply be an issue of how much each Member State will contribute and how much it will be getting in return. On European employment and investment, PM Muscat praised the trade agreement with Canada, citing Canada’s trust in Europe’s values and standards. Regarding poverty, he said that while poverty in Malta was decreasing, one of the main issues being faced in Europe was energy poverty. He said that many European families are unable to keep up with energy prices, and this is exacerbating the poverty situation.
Head of MEUSAC, Dr Vanni Xuereb, moderated the event and said that the main conclusions of the consultations will be compiled into a report which will be discussed during the European Council meeting in December, together with the reports emanating from the other 26 Member States, excluding the UK. The conclusions will then be presented during the Sibiu summit, taking place in May 2019 in Romania.