Fuq inizjattiva tal-MPE Alfred Sant, il-Grupp tas-Soċjalisti u Demokratiċi (S&D) fil-Parlament Ewropew ressaq emenda fil-plenarja li titlob lill-Kummissjoni Ewropea tagħti l-attenzjoni dovuta għall-impatt tad-deċiżjonijiet dwar l-għajnuna mill-istat fuq il-konnettività tal-gżejjer u r-reġjuni periferali tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

Waqt li kien qed jindirizza s-sessjoni tal-plenarja tal-Parlament Ewropew fi Strasburgu dwar ir-Rapport Annwali dwar il-Kompetizzjoni, l-eks Prim Ministru Alfred Sant saħaq li ċ-ċittadini ta’ reġjuni insulari, periferali, u remoti jeħtieġ li jħossu li mhumiex parti minsija tal-Ewropa. Ir-regoli Ewropej dwar l-għajnuna mill-istat għandhom jippermettu marġini għal konnettività xierqa tat-trasport fost ir-reġjuni insulari, periferali u remoti tal-blokk.

Ir-Rapport Annwali dwar il-Kompetizzjoni huwa wieħed mir-rapporti annwali tal-Parlament Ewropew li jiġi ffinalizzat mill-Kumitat għall-Affarijiet Ekonomiċi u Monetarji (ECON). Huwa jkopri l-politika Ewropea dwar il-kompetizzjoni u l-ħidma tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea fil-qasam. Sant enfasizza li r-rapport għandu jagħti attenzjoni qawwija l-impatt dirett li l-politika tal-kompetizzjoni tal-Unjoni Ewropea għandha fuq iċ-ċittadini Ewropej. Huwa nnota li r-rapport jipprovdi opportunità għal xi tip ta’ skrutinju demokratiku fuq l-azzjoni tal-Unjoni Ewropea fil-qasam tal-kompetizzjoni.

Il-MPE Laburista u l-Kap tad-Delegazzjoni Laburista fil-Grupp tas-S&D sostna li l-konnessjonijiet tat-trasport bejn il-gżejjer u r-reġjuni periferiċi u ċ-ċentri ewlenin tat-trasport Ewropej jibqgħu fraġli u suġġetti għal tfixkil. B’riżultat t’hekk, dan ħoloq għaċ-ċittadini u n-negozji tagħhom żvantaġġ ekonomiku u soċjali permanenti, b’mod partikolari inkwantu tal-attrazzjoni tal-investiment u t-turiżmu.

Ir-regoli ġenerali dwar l-għajnuna mill-istat jistgħu joħolqu aktar żvantaġġi peress li l-linji tal-ajru u tat-tbaħħir li jservu l-gżejjer Ewropej u r-reġjuni periferali jeħtieġ li jiġu inċentivati sabiex jiġu żgurati konnessjonijiet tat-trasport kostanti u affidabbli. Għal dan il-għan, Sant appella għall-appoġġ għall-emenda tas-S&D.

L-emenda plenarja ġiet adottata b’492 vot favur, 101 kontra u 10 astensjonijiet.


State aid rules should take into account the connectivity needs of Europe’s islands and remote regions

On MEP Alfred Sant’s initiative, the Socialist and Democratic (S&D) Group at the European Parliament put forward a plenary amendment calling on the European Commission to pay due attention to the impact of state aid decisions on the connectivity of island and peripheral regions of the European Union.

Addressing the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the Annual Competition Report, former Prime Minister Alfred Sant stressed that the citizens of insular, peripheral, and remote regions need to feel they are not a forgotten part of Europe. European state aid rules should allow margins for proper transport connectivity among the block’s insular, peripheral, and remote regions. 

The Annual Competition Report is one of the annual European Parliament reports that is finalised through the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). It covers European policy on competition and the European Commission’s work on the area. Sant emphasized that the report should retain a strong focus on the direct impact European Union competition policy has on European citizens. He noted that the report provides an opportunity for some kind of democratic scrutiny over European Union action in the competition area.

The Labour MEP and Head of the Labour Delegation in the S&D Group claimed that transport connections between islands and peripheral regions and major European transportation hubs remain brittle and subject to disruption. As a result, this created for their citizens and businesses a permanent economic and social disadvantage, in particular when it comes to investment attractiveness and tourism. 

General state aid rules can create further handicaps as air and shipping lines serving European islands and peripheral regions need to be incentivised so that constant and reliable transport connections are ensured. To this end, Sant called for support to the S&D amendment.

The plenary amendment was adopted with 492 votes in favour, 101 against and 10 abstentions.

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