Our country’s economic achievements have not been translated into a better quality of life for the population at large, the Nationalist Party said in a statement. This is a key conclusion from the European Commission’s Annual Country Report on Malta, published yesterday, in which it identified a number of issues which stifle the social and environmental quality of life on our islands.
While acknowledging the high levels of economic growth, the EU highlights a number of deficiencies which reflect the long-held view by the Opposition that economic success is not being enjoyed by the majority of the population. Amongst an extensive list of challenges, the European Union notes that Malta has a persistently high student underachievement, with the average performance of Maltese pupils remaining below the EU average. It also highlights a gender employment gap which is the highest in the EU and the increased risk of poverty within a number of sectors within our society. These factors are likely to restrict growth in the medium to longer-term.
The report adds to recent IMF findings claiming that with population growth being a key driver of economic success, this has resulted into significant pressures due to the larger population for the housing market, social services, health services, and the education system as well as an unabated growth of residential house prices. The Report also gives thumbs down to Malta’s efforts at combating pollution, which is a major health risk, and notes that with current policies, emissions are projected to continue increasing, Malta is far off track in relation to its 2020 and 2030 targets.
In this context the Opposition calls on Prime Minister Robert Abela to take such reports seriously and reflect on the necessary policy actions required to ensure just economic growth. Once again, the Nationalist Party appeals for a concerted effort to ensure that Malta’s success is not measured on raw economic numbers but through the improvement of the social well-being of its population.
The statement was signed by Mario de Marco, Opposition Spokesperson for Finance, and Kristy Debono, Opposition Spokesperson for the Economy, Financial Services and Innovation.
Original article found on The Malta Independent