The European Union has already approved 33 projects which will benefit from EU funding under the 2007-2013 budget, the government said this evening. Other projects are in the pipeline. Malta was allocated £855 million in the current budget.

Replying to a statement issued earlier today by opposition leader and finance spokesman Charles Mangion (see separate story), the government said the approved projects include the building of arterial roads in Malta and Gozo, new facilities and laboratories in schools, MCAST, the Junior College and the University; training facilities at the ETC; embellishment projects in tourist areas and projects at Gozo Hospital, Villa Rundle Gardens and Wied Il-Mielah in Gozo.

The government said that Dr Mangion in his statement tried to imply that Malta was losing EU funds. This was not true and in the coming weeks more projects were set to be approved.

It was also pointed out that more than 80 project benefited from EU funding between 2004-2006 including new waste management facilities, new roads, facilities at the ETC, many training courses for woman, young people and workers; the setting up of childcare centres, assistance to Maltese farmers, the rebuilding of the ITS centre in Gozo and facilities at MCAST.

“The government has been able to source funds from the EU and is investing them in projects and initiatives which will make a difference to the people’s quality of life, including the environment, tourism, the infrastructure, education, job training and the social sector” the government said.

It added that Dr Mangion’s statement betrayed ignorance of the way the country administered EU funds. The country had a period of two years to implement EU-funded projects but it was technically necessary for Parliament in the Budget to make provision for those funds so that the ministers responsible, the Contracts Department and the Treasury could commit the funds and issue calls for tender.

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