The European Parliament on Wednesday approved almost €90 billion in funding for use by the 27 governments of EU states in the next seven years. 

Malta stands to receive €124 million at current prices out of that funding pool, which will stretch to 2027.

The money is part of the European Social Fund Plus, which pools together several EU funds and programmes targeting youth, health and employment initiatives.

Parliament adopted the fund during its first plenary session in Strasbourg since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds can be used:

  • for employees to improve their skills through various training courses;
  • for employers to encourage employees to enhance their output and aim at growing within that workplace;
  • for individuals who lost their job during the pandemic and want to find a new place of employment;
  • for the most deprived to be provided with food;
  • for persons with disabilities to be provided with opportunities;
  • through various schemes to ensure that youth are provided with education, training or work;
  • through various schemes run by councils in Malta and Gozo.

The MEP vote comes after the European Parliament reached an agreement with the European Council over the ESF+ funds last January.

Negotiations from the European Parliament’s side were led by Maltese MEP David Casa.

Reacting to the adoption of the fund, which saw no vote being taken as no amendments were submitted, Casa said: “Today is a good day for Europe. Long days of fruitful meetings and negotiations led to this important step: that of providing the EU’s member states with almost €90 billion to be used to improve the quality of lives of all Europeans. 

“This is what our work as MEPs is all about: getting the best results for our electorate, providing enough money to governments to use in the interest of all citizens.” 

Plenary’s approval followed the fund’s backing by the parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Monday.

Casa said it was now up to the various members to start launching different schemes using the allocated sum of money

“I now urge the Maltese government to make immediate use of this money. I look forward to seeing the people of Malta and Gozo making use of these funds,” he said. 

 

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