Malta’s energy prices will not be impacted by the international fall-out from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Robert Abela has said.
He also said that a preliminary analysis of the situation showed that the Maltese economy would not be significantly impacted by the situation.
Speaking from the sidelines of an emergency EU summit in Brussels on Thursday night, Abela said he “guarantees” that the price of utility tariffs in Malta will remain stable.
Malta generates energy through a gas-fired power station with a seven-year price hedging agreement on liquified natural gas drawing to a close next month.
The government last year promised to freeze utility prices, with Times of Malta reporting how some €200 million in public funds have been allocated to absorb the price difference.
Abela on Thursday said he wanted to assure the Maltese public there will be no spike in prices.
Maltese in Ukraine, Russia
Abela said there are some 70 Malta-flagged ships in Ukrainian ports, two Malta-registered planes in Ukraine, and a number of Maltese investors in Russia who could be impacted by a freeze on the banking system.
The US, EU, Britain, Australia and Japan have imposed sanctions on Russia targeting banks that finance Russian operations, and some of Russia's richest persons, seen to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are monitoring the system to give assistance to those investors, and we will see how we can assist as needed,” he said.
Asked what position Malta will be taking on the military action taken by Russia, Abela said that during the meeting of European leaders Malta had “spoken in favour of peace in Ukraine”.
This, he added, did not compromise Malta's position of neutrality.
Malta’s constitution affirms the island as a neutral state adhering to a policy of non-alignment. This is meant to preclude the island from taking sides in a conflict.
Abela said that the measures taken by EU states are not in conflict with Malta’s constitution.
The prime minister also moved to snuff out the xenophobic sentiment and said the war in Ukraine did not mean Russian people are “bad”.
“I know there are many Russians who do not approve of what has happened, so we have to see this situation in its entire context. The attack breaches international law, and we will keep hoping for peace and for the two parties to sit at the same table for a peaceful end to the conflict.”
The European Council on Thursday condemned Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
“Russia alone is to blame. It will pay a heavy price,” said Charles Michel, President of the European Council
The European Council demanded that Russia immediately cease its military actions, unconditionally withdraws all forces and military from Ukraine.
European leaders agreed on further restrictive measures covering the financial sector, the energy and transport sectors, export control and export financing, dual-use goods, visa policy, and additional listings of Russian individuals.