On Friday 22 September, Lorenzo Vella Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, moderated a discussion about the ‘State of the Union’ speech, which was delivered by Ursola Von Der Leyen, the President of the European Commission on 13 September, with representatives of the Gozitan local councils and other local stakeholders.
A panel which included, Christian Zammit from the Gozo Regional Development Authority, Kevin Cauchi, mayor of Għajnsielem, and Noel Formosa, mayor of San Lawrenz, discussed the presence of the European Union at community level.
All the panelists agreed that more information about the European Union should be communicated to the public, such as how all the policies that are discussed at European level, effects the daily lives of all the citizens, on an island like Gozo.
The President of the European Commission in her speech, was clear about the intention of the European Union to invest heavily, to tackle numerous issues which are today creating various challenges to all the countries forming part of the Union. She mentioned the effects of climate change, the farmers and the challenges they are facing today, inflation and illegal immigration, amongst other issues.
All of these issues were also discussed by the panelists, who insisted that although Gozo is facing various challenges, the resilience that characterizes the Gozitan community, resulted in success stories.
All those who participated intervened throughout the meeting, mentioning excessive bureaucracy, the need for more investments in the agricultural sector, collaboration between various governmental and non-governmental departments and NGOs, the influx of foreign workers and their integration in Gozitan community.
Lorezno Vella concluded the meeting by saying that one of the remits the European Commission Representation in Malta has, is to bring to the attention of the competent authorities all the concerns that the Maltese and Gozitan citizens have, which might finally influence the outcome of certain decisions.