President calls for wider EU role on Med issues / Malta News Briefing – Friday 13 January 2023

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Updated 1630

The Times of Malta reveals that the government has concluded negotiations to purchase the building occupied by the De Paule band club in Paola. The figure that will be paid has not been disclosed.

Maltatoday reports that a National Spatial Policy aimed at guiding development away from environmentally-sensitive areas, could come with a generic loophole enabling government to override it when pushing forward projects deemed to be of “national importance” and whose benefits outweigh non-compliance with the new strategy.

Newsbook says that the Curia is set to embark on a reform aimed at moving the Church closer to the marginalised and the poor.

TVM shares the worrying story of a young girl who was reportedly sold” for €5,000 and forced to get married.

Updated 1230

Debt levels reach €8.73bn – NSO: General Government debt has reached €8.73 billion, or 53.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), NSO data shows. In the third quarter of 2022, the government has also recorded a deficit of €127.0 million. During the period July to September 2022, total revenue stood at €1,474.5 million, an increase of €151.1 million when compared to the corresponding quarter in 2021.

Local dentists worry on recruitment of TCNs without exams: Maltese dentists have raised concerns about a “highly unsafe” practice that sees non-EU professionals being hired at Mater Dei Hospital without having to go through exam formalities. The Dental Association of Malta argued that this “fast-tracking” is being done to fill gaps in the public sector, where there is a shortage of dentists. It said that skipping these exam is a “highly unsafe” practice and, if Maltese and EU dentists are required to be of a certain professional standard to treat a patient, non-EU nationals should be similarly vetted. (Times of Malta)

High increase in Christmas Malta-Gozo crossings: Some 340,000 people crossed between Malta and Gozo between 18th December and 8th January, the company said. During the same period, Gozo Channel also carried 122,000 vehicles. Compared with the same period last year, the four ships carried almost 104,000 more passengers or an increase of almost 44%. At the same time, there was an increase of 24,800 or almost 26% in the number of vehicles carried. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

President calls for wider EU role on Med issues

President George Vella called for a stronger EU role in the Mediterranean to address common challenges such as irrgular migration and the proliferation of armaments, adding that instability in the Mediterranean is also of relevance to our country. Dr Vella said he believes the European Union, as a group of countries with the same opinion despite internal differences, has the potential to establish both the tone and substance on the challenges in its region, thus giving direction and influencing the results. Dr Vella was addressing the diplomatic corps during the traditional New Year greetings. (TVM)

Malta generates €50 million for residency programmes
Residency Malta has generated over €50 million from its programmes in 2022, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri revealed. These programmes include the Nomad Residence permit and the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP). The former attracted 500 applications in 2022, taking the total number of applications that have been submitted since the start of the programme in June of 2021 up to 668. In 2022 there were 780 applications for the MPRP, whereas previously in 2021 there were 259 applicants and in 2020 there were 342 applicants. The Minister argued that these schemes generally attract wealthy people to the country, contributing significantly to the economy. (The Malta Independent)

Fire breaks at MCAST, no injuries reported

A fire developed at the ICT Institute MCAST in Corradino on Thursday. The incident was reported to have been provoked by a malfunction of the electrical switchboard. MCAST said staff quickly reported on the scene and helped in limiting the spread of the fire. The civil protection department was called to the site of the accident, and the fire was put out shortly after. No injuries were reported. (Maltatoday)

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