Norman Aquilina

Norman Aquilina, CEO at Farsons Group, has stated that it is time for Malta to reflect on its position and level of participation in the EU, particularly given the limited resources the country has available when compared to other nations.

His reflections came on Sunday, as he was recalling a recent visit to the European Commission, where he represented The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry as part of a Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) delegation. The visit served as an opportunity for the MCESD to discuss a number of subjects of interest with European Commission officials, including competitivity, inflation, and the digital transition, among others.

Mr Aquilina said that aside from being a “positive and productive experience,” the visit reaffirmed his belief that it is time for Malta to take stock of its post-EU accession positioning and participation, while also gauging its “administrative capacity and capabilities, both from a local and European perspective.”

“Our limited resources cannot be seen as a justification to lower our guard; indeed, they should be recognised as a reason for us to punch above our weight,” he emphasised.

Mr Aquilina remarked that in this respect, there is merit in forming an umbrella structure that ensures greater alignment and more mobilisation of Malta’s resources.

He acknowledged that progress has been made in this regard, however, he called upon greater coordination at a nationwide level in order to “build on the improved synergies that this will undoubtedly bring.”

He proposed potentially holding a national convention that aside from marking Malta’s 20th anniversary since joining the EU back in 2004, it will act as a way to bring together stakeholders with a view to identifying potential “vacuums and bottlenecks.” This will “springboard the necessary strategic and structural changes, irrespective where they need to come from,” Mr Aquilina continued.

“We all have our territorial interests, be it Government or any of the social partners, but ultimately, we need to place our national interest at the forefront,” he stressed. In this regard, Mr Aquilina encouraged social partners to work together so that Malta is “better placed and more effectively engaged” in EU policy direction and decisions.

Mr Aquilina is CEO at beverage and FMCG company Farsons Group, and has also held a number of roles within The Malta Chamber. He was Chairman of The Malta Chamber’s EU Steering Committee for the years leading up to Malta’s accession into the EU in 2004.

Featured Image:

Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina

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