MEUSAC CONFERENCE TO HIGHLIGHT GOZO AS AN ISLAND REGION IN THE EU

06 June 2012

Gozo has benefitted in various ways following Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004. Article 174 of
the Treaty of Lisbon recognises that island regions suffer severe and permanent natural or
demographic handicaps that require particular attention. Because of its dependence on Malta, which
is itself an island, Gozo faces problems of double insularity. The 2003 Treaty of Accession includes
a Declaration on the “Island Region” of Gozo aimed at addressing Gozo’s specific needs.

During the 2007-2013 EU financial period, Gozo received approximately 10% of the Structural
Funds allocated to Malta. These have been utilised to improve the island’s infrastructure and
enhance the potential of its human resources. Gozo’s tourism sector has also been enhanced as a
result of various rehabilitation, restoration and upgrading projects, namely the fortifications of the
Citadel in the capital Victoria, the Āgantija Temples, Wied il-Mielaħ, Villa Rundle Gardens, Ta’
Pinu National Shrine and the development of the first Eco-Museum in Victoria.

Other funds have been invested in the road infrastructure to facilitate accessibility from one village
to another and from one island to the other. These include arterial roads such as Xlendi Road, Ta’
Pinu Road and the main road network from the Māarr Sea Terminal to Victoria. EU funds are also
being used to improve environmental monitoring and rehabilitation of landfills, along with the
installation of environmentally-friendly equipment using natural resources to generate energy for
domestic and commercial use.

The Gozo General Hospital is also benefitting from EU funds. Various units as well as equipment
are being upgraded. Other sectors such as industry and educational institutions are involved in
projects of a larger scale that will entail the upgrading and embellishment of facilities and locations
in Malta and Gozo alike. Gozitans are also benefitting from numerous training courses and services
aimed at enhancing their skills for greater employability and adaptability of labour market
opportunities. Various grant schemes aimed at SMEs have led to a good take-up from Gozitan
enterprises and other entities.

During the previous financial period covering 2004-2006 a total of €13.5 million worth of projects
financed or co-financed by the EU were implemented in Gozo. These projects vary from arterial
road upgrades and improvements in industrial estates to waste management projects and reinforcing
niche tourism, various aid schemes aimed specifically at the agricultural and fishing sectors, courses
for sustainable careers and better opportunites in the labour market.

Since its reactivation in 2008 , MEUSAC has been providing technical assitance to local councils,
NGOs and SMEs in Gozo to tap EUfunds from an array of funding programmes. Examples of
successful project applications are the Lwien project implemented by Dar ĀuŜeppa Debono and various projects by local councils and NGOs under EU programmes such as Youth in Action, the
EAFRD and the Europe for Citizens programmes.

To mark the eight anniversary of Malta’s accession to the EU, MEUSAC is organising a national
conference that will aim at highlighting the challenges and benefits for Gozo as an Island Region in
the EU. Keynote speakers will include Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, Gozo Minister Giovanna
Debono and Minister Chris Said who is responsible for EU Information. Marlene Bonnici,
Permanent Secretary (EU Funds) in the Office of the Prime Minister will give a presentation on EY
funded projects in Gozo. A panel consisting of representatives of local councils, Constituted Bodies
and Civil Society in Gozo will lead a public discussion on Gozo as an Island Region in the EU. The
discussion will be moderated by PBS journalist Reno Bugeja.

The National Conference entitled ‘Għawdex: GŜira-reājun fl-Unjoni Ewropea’ is being held on
Tuesday June 12, 2012, from 8.45am to 1 pm, at the Grand Hotel, L-Imāarr Gozo.

The following is a list of major projects that have benefitted from EU funding opportunies in Gozo,
covering the 2007-2013 period:

The following is a list of major projects that benefitted from EU funding opportunities in the 2004-
2006 period:

 

ERDF

 

Upgrading and embellishment of industrial estates Part of the project was implemented in Gozo
Upgrading of Villa Rundle Gardens Rehabilitating a historical landmark- the Villa Rundle public garden.
Upgrading of śewwieqa Waterfront Rehabilitating the waterfront by creating pedestrian zones, vibrant lanscaped areas and an informal stage structure.
Archeological Heritage Conservation Project Embellishment and conservation of Āgantija Temples among other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malta and Gozo.
Restoration and rehabilitation
of historical fortifications of
Malta and Gozo
Partly implemented in Gozo – restoration and
rehabilitation of the Citadel fortifications.
Reconstruction of part of
Xlendi Road and Ta’ Pinu
Road
Works include scarifying of road surfaces, reconstruction
of retaining boundary walls, laying of storm water and
utility facilities, levelling and compaction of the scarified
material, constructions of footpaths and laying of asphalt
base and wearing course.
Upgrading and expansion
MCAST Institute of
Mechanical Engineering in
Malta & Gozo
The setting up of two workshops on woodwork and
mechanical engineering in Xewkija, Gozo Centre, apart
from further interventions which are to be implemented in
Malta.
Upgrading of operating theatre
and setting up of Radiology
Unit
CT scan and mammography equipment for Gozo General
Hospital and refurbishing/upgrading of operating theatre.
Developing National
Environmental Monitoring
Infrastrcuture and Capacity
To improve environmental monitoring of air, water,
radiation, noise and soil – part of the project to be
implemented in Gozo
Implementing of Cittadella
Masterplan recommendations
– Gozo
A policy document for the protection and management of
the site
Renewable energy facilities in
educational and vocational
institutions in Gozo
Installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of
institutions in Gozo
Carbon footprint reduction at
the Gozo General Hospital
Installation of equipment for solar water heating, cooling
& heating system and photovoltaic panels
Photovoltaic park installation
at former Qortin landfill
Setting up a photovoltaic field at the former Qortin landfill
in Xagħra Gozo
 

CO
HES
ION
FUN
D

 

Improvement of TEN-T Road
Infrastructure
Part of this project was implemented in Gozo – main link
from Māarr Ferry Terminal and Victoria
Rehabilitation and restoration
of closed landfills
Closure and rehabilitation of a number of landfills
including Qortin landfill in Gozo
Setting up of the Gozo Waste
Treatment and Transfer
Facility
Controlled facility for reception, sorting, processing,
interim storage and transfer of waste originating from
Gozo & Comino
 

ESF

 

LWIEN Dar ĀuŜeppa Debono offering young adoloscents, having
emotional challenging behaviour and/or teenage mothers,
the opportunity to participate in accredited courses with the
aim of instilling a process of reflexivity and take a critical
stance towards life’s challenges.
Higher education courses to
address skills mismatches in
Gozo
Higher education part-time courses leading to a diploma or
degree in finance, ICT and tourism studies in Gozo.
Skills upgrading for the
tourism sector in Gozo
Enhancing employability of those currently employed in
the tourism sector..
Training courses to enhance
employability and adaptability
of the workforce
The provision of language courses in spoken business
English, French, Italian, Spanish and German to improve
linguistic capabilities of participants

EAF
RD

Restoration and enhancement
of San Lawrenz’s rural
qualities
The implementation of a recreational facility in the Dwejra
surroundings which would serve as a bird-watching site
together with the enhancement of this rural village.
Għarb’s cultural and touristic
conservation project
The project will implement a total of five investments
which includes a study associated with the maintenance,
restoration and upgrading of a cultural heritage feature of
the village entailing a Crucifix that dates back to 1753.
Investment in the restoration and upgrading of cultural
heritage which comprises in the restoration of two Chapels
namely San Dimitri and TaŜ-śejt, restoration of a historical
bridge and the restoration of traditionally built rubble
walls.
The following is a list of major projects that benefitted from EU funding opportunities in the 2004-
2006 period:

ER
DF

Aerial emissions for Magħtab,
Qortin and Wied Fulija
landfills
Improving air quality.
A training institute for the
tourism industry in Gozo
Providing and developing basic infrastructure for the
tourism sector in Gozo.
Niche tourism for the island of
Gozo
Providing and developing basic infrastructure for the
tourism sector in Gozo.
The upgrading of the Tina
Road Network in Gozo
Better roads and improved road transport with the aim of
positively contributing to the tourism industry in Gozo.
Crafts courses for sustainable
careers in Gozo
Courses focussing on enhancing the employability of the
workforce.

EAGGF

Investment in Agricultural
Holdings
Rural development
Improving the processing and
marketing of Agricultural
products
Rural development

FIFG

Adjustment of Fishing efforts Aid scheme fishing enterprises
Cold storage facilities Reinforcing port facilities