Malta is making its utmost to limit expenditure in preparations for its EU presidency during the first six months of 2017, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg said.

Addressing the House Foreign and European Affairs Committee, Dr Borg said that while it was too early to calculate the expenditure for this event, countries spent some €65 million on average.

The Polish presidency spent about €120 million while Denmark limited its expenditure to €40 million.

Malta was working on a three-year budget.

Dr Borg said calls for more officers operating from Dar Malta in Brussels had been issued adding that Malta would need about 200 officials during the presidency period.

A meeting had been also held by Ambassador Victor Camilleri for Maltese to contribute to the presidency. Government officials were also being trained in negotiating and language skills to be able to participate and chair working groups.

Other meetings had been held with the Malta Tourism Authority, Malta Enterprise and other stakeholders.

He was also meeting MEPs Alfred Sant and David Casa as heads of the two euro parliamentary groups on the involvement of Maltese MEPs during the presidency.

Opposition foreign affair spokesman Tonio Fenech asked for details on the strategic issues that Malta intended to push forward or to manage during the presidency. He said that it was important that Maltese officials be trained also on sensitive technical issues which were fundamental for Malta.

Dr Borg emphasised the need for the Maltese to understand the European legislative process which entailed the legislation between Council and the European Parliament according to the European Commission’s programme

As president, Malta would also negotiate to push forward its own issues on the agenda, including its neighbourhood policy, Mediterranean and maritime affairs and the migration issue.

 

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