Almost 1000 Gozitan young people are pursuing their studies at the University of Malta, one fifth of University’s population, Gozo University Group (GUG) officials told former Prime Minister Alfred Sant. The Gozitan students shared their concerns and ambitions during an informal meeting with the Maltese MEP, namely connectivity problems between Gozo and Malta, job opportunities in Gozo, higher costs for accomodation in the University area and public transport between Ċirkewwa and the University of Malta.
GUG students noted there are limited job opportunities in the financial service in Gozo and noted that fibre optic upgrading may encourage more companies to establish base in Gozo. GUG students said a fast ferry service between Gozo and Malta would be the best solution to ease and save time crossing from Gozo to Malta. Giving their views on the proposed tunnel between Gozo and Malta, they said that even if it was a success, by the time it is completed, their studies would surely have come to an end. They also complained of overcrowed buses from Cirkewwa to University .
Alfred Sant said EU islands like Gozo need state aid. Such aid will not effect the EU’s single market, but the EU still doesn’t accept this. He said that if he is elected, he will continue to focus on matters that relate to Gozitan interests.
“I will continue to focus on matters related to Gozitan interests such as EU funding for Gozo but beyond that too, matters related to project financing for farmers, smes and artisanal initiatives in Gozo. One major aim would be to ensure that as much as possible, EU policies for the single market, do not end as one size fits all exercise.”
The EU needs new structures that are more favourable for communities like those living in Gozo, thus allowing for their survival and flourishing. Depopulation in small EU islands like Gozo will become irreversible unless exceptional measures are allowed which do not necessarily comply with wider EU rules and policies. Even now, with economic growth running at over 4 per cent per annum in the Maltese islands, young people in Gozo tell me they have no future in their island.
Alfred Sant argued in favour of a deeper economic intervention of the public sector in partnership with private business to create new enterprises, new jobs especially for young people. Digital ventures, financial services, artisanal and farming enterprises, health services could all be targeted to reverse depopulation in Gozo, both when the national economy is performing healthily and when it is weak.

GUG members Nicole Debrincat, Mark Farrugia, Sean Grech, Elaine Haber, Charlene Scerri, Samuel Buttigieg and Christoph Caruana attended the meeting.

Maltese Version – WIEĦED MINN KULL ĦAMES STUDENTI UNIVERSITARJI HUMA GĦAWDXIN

Mal-1,000 student u studenta minn Għawdex qed ikomplu l-istudji fl-Università ta’ Malta, kważi wieħed minn kull ħames studenti Universitarji, qalu studenti Għawdxin lil-ex Prim Ministru Alfred Sant. Rappreżentanti tal-Grupp Universitarji Għawdxin (GUG) qasmu l-ambizzjonijiet u d-dwejjaq tagħhom mal-MEP f’laqgħa informali li matulha semmew il-problemi ta’ konnettività bejn Għawdex u Malta, opportunitajiet ta’ xogħol f’Għawdex, spejjeż ogħla għal akkomodazzjoni u t-trasport pubbliku bejn iċ-Ċirkewwa u Malta.
L-istudenti Għawdxin innotaw li hemm opportunitajiet ta’ xogħol fil-qasam tas-servizzi finanzjarji f’Għawdex. Tisħiħ fis-sistema tal-fibre optic jista’ jinkoraġġixxi presenza akbar ta’ dan is-settur f’Għawdex. Dwar il-mina proposta bejn Malta u Għawdex, qalu li anke jekk din tkun suċċess sa ma ssir ikunu spiċċaw l-istudji universitarji tagħhom. Ilmentaw minn karozzi tal-linja iffullati bejn iċ-Ċirkewwa u l-Università.
Alfred Sant qal li gżejjer żgħar bħal Għawdex għandhom bżonn l-għajnuna tal-istat. Din l-għajnuna ma taffettwax is-suq komuni Ewropew imma l-UE għadha ma tridx taqbel ma’ dan. Sant qal li jekk ikun elett fl-elezzjonijiet ta’ Mejju ikompli jiffoka fuq l-interessi ta’ Għawdex fl-Ewropa.
“Inkompli niffoka fuq Għawdex, fuq il-fondi li jista’ jgawdi minnhom Għawdex imma aktar minn hekk fuq proġetti li jgħinu lill-bdiewa, industriji żgħar u inizzjattivi favur l-artiġġjanat Għawdxi. Għan ewlieni jkun li kemm hu possibbli, il-politika Ewropea tas-Suq wieħed ma tlibbisx l-istess żarbun lil kulħadd.”
L-Unjoni Ewropea għandha bżonn strutturi li jagħtu nifs ġdid biex komunitajiet żgħar bħal Għawdex ikomplu jiżviluppaw fuq il-gżira tagħhom. Id-depopulazzjoni fi gżejjer żgħar tkun irreversibbli jekk l-UE ma tippermettix miżuri eċċezzjonali li mhux bilfors jaqblu mar-regoli tal-UE.
“Anke illum bit-tkabbir kbir ta’ aktar minn 4% f’Malta, iż-żgħażagħ Għawdxin jgħiduli li m’għandhomx futur f’Għawdex.”
Sant tkellem favur intervent akbar tas-settur pubbliku mas-settur privat biex jinħolqu impjiegi ġodda fil-qasam diġitali, servizzi finanzjarji, intrapriżi tal-bdiewa u artiġġjani, servizzi tas-saħħa. Dan jista’ jreġġa’ lura d-depopolazzjoni f’Għawdex, kemm meta l-ekonomija tkun b’saħħitha u anke meta tkun anqas b’saħħitha.
Il-membri tal-GUG Nicole Debrincat, Mark Farrugia, Sean Grech, Elaine Haber, Charlene Scerri, Samuel Buttigieg u Christoph Caruana attendew il-laqgħa.