In the Press

A Budget centred around a sustainable future

Listening to the budget speech last Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the environmental measures which the Government will be embarking on as from the next year. As a Member of the Committee on the Environment in the European Parliament, I have done my fair share of reading, listening, debating and writing up proposals which will hopefully contribute to having a greener continent which is climate neutral by the year 2050. Truth be told, as an environmentalist who seeks refuge from the stress of daily life by being surrounded by nature, there have been many times where I have felt that more could be done to protect Malta’s environment, all while nurturing the growth of new environmental policies which will benefit us all. This is why hearing the Economy Minister read out the Government's proposals for the environment during the budget speech felt like, quite frankly, a breath of fresh air. First things first, I cannot but applaud the groundbreaking proposal to make the use of public transportation free for all, as for next year. This has social and environmental implications of great proportions, which are worth discussing. From a social perspective, this guarantees that public transport is a a good which is accessible for all, therefore eliminating any form of social exclusion. At the same time, it reduces employment costs for both employers and employees, as their costs related to commuting have now been slashed to nothing. This brings us to the environmental impact of this proposal - as this would hopefully lure more commuters to shift towards using public transport to go to work every day, or to go around and do their daily errands.This would certainly alleviate from the number of cars on our roads at any given time - and efficiency as guaranteed as the buses would now be stuck in traffic for far less time, as there are now less cars in the road. This, in turn, would lead to less emissions being released into our air, so that we can breathe cleaner air. This must be coupled by increased investment in the public transport system, however, to ensure that the heightened demand for using buses would be met, with minimal waiting and travelling time for commuting. Everything here is interconnected, really. I was also intrigued by the proposal to the establish Malta’s largest national park in tal-Inwadar, limits of Marsaskala, by means of a €20 million investment on an area deemed to be larger than the size of Buskett. Again, this is a welcome breath of fresh air, particularly in the south of Malta, which had been neglected for decades by previous administrations. We cannot exclude the importance that trees have in our fight against global warming, due to their absorption of carbon dioxide. Similarly, the plans to continue regenerating Ta’ Qali national park over the next year is worth mentioning, as the park is set to grow by a size of around 60 football pitches, and include open spaces for jogging as well as cycling tracks, a great incentive to lure people outdoors and to be at one with nature, and to get active! Having read about the success that green walls and rooftops have had in beautifying the surroundings and ameliorating the quality of life of inhabitants in Singapore, I welcome the proposal to continue investing in them, as well as the plans to launch a study to finally pedestrianise Saint Anne street in Floriana, and give it a green twist. This would not doubt add value to the locality and inject new life in an area which has long been a bottleneck for Maltese motorists. Going off on a tangent here, it’s worth mentioning the need to preserve the built environment, and this was tackled brilliantly with the Government’s proposal to eliminate Capital gains tax on the buying and selling of properties which are either vacant, located in a UCA, or else built in traditional style. A wonderful measure which incentivises property buyers to invest in a house of character which may be in need of a refurbishment - and duly shifting the added burden of refurbishment away from themselves. All this while contributing to the regeneration of our village cores and turning them into a potential tourist attraction in their own right, as I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind having more of the pretty Maltese balconies and doors around! I could go on and on and list the other measures which have been announced in order to contribute to a new green wave around Malta, such as the planned regeneration of San Anton Gardens, the restoration of ‘hitan tas-sejjieh’ in Gozo worth €10million from EU funds, and the higher contribution given when scrapping a car with a highly polluting engine. The bottom line remains that this budget, proposed by a Labour Government, has started to do justice towards our environment, with the aim of securing a sustainable future for all. We cannot forget that we are in the midst of a climate crisis. We’ve experienced record high summer temperatures and our winters seem to get drier every year. We cannot abandon our environment. It is essential for our survival and for humanity as we know it. That is why I am positive that these measures will start paving the way towards our climate goals, and the European Commission’s goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. The road is long, and this is just the start, but with a long-term vision centred around sustainable living, from transportation to urban planning to energy generation, we will make it.

MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.

In the Press

Listening to the budget speech last Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the environmental measures which the Government will be embarking on as from the next year. As a Member of the Committee on the Environment in the European Parliament, I have done my fair share of reading, listening, debating and writing up proposals which will hopefully contribute to having a greener continent which is climate neutral by the year 2050. Truth be told, as an environmentalist who seeks refuge from the stress of daily life by being surrounded by nature, there have been many times where I have felt that more could be done to protect Malta’s environment, all while nurturing the growth of new environmental policies which will benefit us all. This is why hearing the Economy Minister read out the Government's proposals for the environment during the budget speech felt like, quite frankly, a breath of fresh air. First things first, I cannot but applaud the groundbreaking proposal to make the use of public transportation free for all, as for next year. This has social and environmental implications of great proportions, which are worth discussing. From a social perspective, this guarantees that public transport is a a good which is accessible for all, therefore eliminating any form of social exclusion. At the same time, it reduces employment costs for both employers and employees, as their costs related to commuting have now been slashed to nothing. This brings us to the environmental impact of this proposal - as this would hopefully lure more commuters to shift towards using public transport to go to work every day, or to go around and do their daily errands.This would certainly alleviate from the number of cars on our roads at any given time - and efficiency as guaranteed as the buses would now be stuck in traffic for far less time, as there are now less cars in the road. This, in turn, would lead to less emissions being released into our air, so that we can breathe cleaner air. This must be coupled by increased investment in the public transport system, however, to ensure that the heightened demand for using buses would be met, with minimal waiting and travelling time for commuting. Everything here is interconnected, really. I was also intrigued by the proposal to the establish Malta’s largest national park in tal-Inwadar, limits of Marsaskala, by means of a €20 million investment on an area deemed to be larger than the size of Buskett. Again, this is a welcome breath of fresh air, particularly in the south of Malta, which had been neglected for decades by previous administrations. We cannot exclude the importance that trees have in our fight against global warming, due to their absorption of carbon dioxide. Similarly, the plans to continue regenerating Ta’ Qali national park over the next year is worth mentioning, as the park is set to grow by a size of around 60 football pitches, and include open spaces for jogging as well as cycling tracks, a great incentive to lure people outdoors and to be at one with nature, and to get active! Having read about the success that green walls and rooftops have had in beautifying the surroundings and ameliorating the quality of life of inhabitants in Singapore, I welcome the proposal to continue investing in them, as well as the plans to launch a study to finally pedestrianise Saint Anne street in Floriana, and give it a green twist. This would not doubt add value to the locality and inject new life in an area which has long been a bottleneck for Maltese motorists. Going off on a tangent here, it’s worth mentioning the need to preserve the built environment, and this was tackled brilliantly with the Government’s proposal to eliminate Capital gains tax on the buying and selling of properties which are either vacant, located in a UCA, or else built in traditional style. A wonderful measure which incentivises property buyers to invest in a house of character which may be in need of a refurbishment - and duly shifting the added burden of refurbishment away from themselves. All this while contributing to the regeneration of our village cores and turning them into a potential tourist attraction in their own right, as I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind having more of the pretty Maltese balconies and doors around! I could go on and on and list the other measures which have been announced in order to contribute to a new green wave around Malta, such as the planned regeneration of San Anton Gardens, the restoration of ‘hitan tas-sejjieh’ in Gozo worth €10million from EU funds, and the higher contribution given when scrapping a car with a highly polluting engine. The bottom line remains that this budget, proposed by a Labour Government, has started to do justice towards our environment, with the aim of securing a sustainable future for all. We cannot forget that we are in the midst of a climate crisis. We’ve experienced record high summer temperatures and our winters seem to get drier every year. We cannot abandon our environment. It is essential for our survival and for humanity as we know it. That is why I am positive that these measures will start paving the way towards our climate goals, and the European Commission’s goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. The road is long, and this is just the start, but with a long-term vision centred around sustainable living, from transportation to urban planning to energy generation, we will make it.

MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

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My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.