Malta to host next round of Ukraine peace discussions / Malta News Briefing – Friday 20 October 2023

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Malta to host next round of Ukraine peace discussions: Malta has agreed to host the upcoming round of discussions within the Ukraine Peace Formula Initiative, as per the request of war-torn country’s President Zelensky. Scheduled for October 28 and 29, the talks will bring together high-level government advisors specializing in foreign policy and national security to address the conflict in Ukraine. Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg emphasized that this reflects Malta’s tangible support for keeping the Ukrainian crisis in the global spotlight. He also highlighted the nation’s principled stance at multilateral forums and its efforts to provide humanitarian aid and assistance in support of Ukraine.

PM calls for high-quality, sustainable tourism: During a discussion regarding the 2024 Budget, Prime Minister Robert Abela emphasized the importance of establishing sustainable and high-quality tourism in Malta, stressing the need for courageous and ambitious decisions. In a meeting with representatives from the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), Abela highlighted the shift toward quality tourism in Malta in the wake of the pandemic. He also mentioned the government’s initiative to maintain stable fuel prices, a critical factor in supporting the operations of hotels and restaurants. Furthermore, the Prime Minister touched upon investments in enhancing the skills of the workforce, emphasizing that this would contribute to the delivery of high-quality service within the industry.

Morning Briefing

PN unveils Vision of Excellence for Malta

The Nationalist Party (PN) has unveiled its “Vision of Excellence for Malta,” featuring eight proposals aimed at transforming the country’s economic framework. PN Leader Bernard Grech emphasized the need to rebuild trust in institutions and reduce reliance on foreign workers. Jerome Caruana Cilia, the PN’s finance spokesperson, highlighted the significance of the Budget as a political declaration and urged the government to consider the nation’s long-term economic vision. Ivan J Bartolo, the PN’s economy spokesperson, stressed the consensus on the necessity to change Malta’s economic model, citing the country’s remarkable population growth over the past decade. (Maltatoday)

Malta to ban rental e-scooters
Ministry of Transport has revealed plans to prohibit the use of rental electric scooters starting from March 1. The decision stems from the “disturbances” experienced by the community due to these vehicles. However, private e-scooters will still be permitted, and incentives will be introduced to encourage individuals to purchase their own. The Ministry stated that the initiative’s objective is to promote responsible e-kick scooter usage while minimizing inconveniences for communities and residents. Despite increased enforcement measures and penalties, communities have continued to be disrupted by rented e-kick scooters. As a result, resources allocated for enforcement will be redirected to enhance road safety initiatives. (Times of Malta)

EP calls for prosecution officials embroiled in corruption and vote-buying

The European Parliament has approved a resolution regarding Malta in the EU Parliament on Thursday. They ‘took stock of the situation in Malta and threats to journalists, paying tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s “essential work” in exposing corruption and organised crime. MEPs called for thorough, swift and independent investigations and prosecutions of all public officials allegedly embroiled in corruption, extortion and trading in influence – including in the vote-buying scheme and driving licence racket,” the statement read. In a resolution adopted with 437 votes in favour, 14 against, and 66 abstentions, Parliament highlighted the limited progress in judicial proceedings for Caruana Galizia’s murder, noting that there have only been three low-level convictions, and that the mastermind behind the assassination has not been convicted. Investigations into core motives and corresponding judicial proceedings should be concluded without further delay, with the ‘full and continuous involvement of Europol'”, says the text. (The Malta Independent)

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