A joint MEUSAC Core Group / MCESD meeting discussed the National Reform Programme following the publication of the Malta Country Report.
Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna gave an in-depth presentation on the NRP and a discussion with social partners followed.
Member States are obliged to submit their National Reform Programmes and Stability/Convergence Programmes in relation to their public finances to the Commission by the end of the month. The programmes detail the specific policies each country will implement to boost jobs and growth and prevent/correct imbalances, and their concrete plans to comply with the EU’s country-specific recommendations and general fiscal rules.
At the start of the meeting, Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli spoke of the fact that a discussion on the same lines should take place on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) in order to get a good grasp of what the post-2020 EU Budget entails. Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia spoke of Malta’s economic success. He said the government was addressing the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) head-on.
Prof. Scicluna said that the challenge for the government was to continue to make effective changes, as it has been doing.
He highlighted that the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion was down. He said that it is highly likely that Malta would have a surplus without the IIP revenue.
Stakeholders raised a number of issues, including the shortage of labour skills, lack of training for Maltese workers, early school-leavers, Third Country Nationals (TCNs) fast-tracking of skills, VAT regulations, government’s expenditure, and certain gaps in sectors such as engineering.