Source: Times of Malta
By: Ivan Martin
Abela to join EU leaders to discuss common strategy on Russian invasion
Malta is facing a problem sourcing LPG, the type of gas used to light heaters and run ovens, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Tuesday.
The shortage is the result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Abela said the government is working on identifying solutions to this and other issues stemming from the war.
“Just this morning I was told by an importer of difficulties they are facing in sourcing gas,” Abela said.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas is sold in Malta in green and yellow tanks and is widely used to run gas heaters and domestic and commercial ovens.
Abela was taking reporters’ questions on the campaign trail following a visit to the General Workers’ Union.
Earlier on Tuesday, Times of Malta quoted the island’s largest importer of grain warning of a looming crisis in the supply of wheat and other cereals.
Asked about this, Abela said the government is studying the situation.
He said that on Monday the government had approved €4.5 million in assistance for the agricultural sector and more aid will likely be needed. Local chicken farms are also expected to struggle due to the rising cost of feed as a result of the Ukraine war.
“This is a new reality that they are facing,” he said.
Abela will on Thursday travel to France for an informal meeting of EU leaders. Hashing out a common solution to these issues is on the discussion agenda for the meeting.
On Friday, the prime minister will be meeting social partners and briefing them on developments.
Passports put money in country’s coffers
Abela was also asked about growing international pressure to scrap the controversial cash for passports scheme completely.
In Brussels, MEPs are set to vote on gradually scrapping such schemes by 2025.
Abela however defended the island’s scheme saying it had generated huge sums which had been invested back into the community.
From medical spending, to sports facilities, and social assistance for those most in need, the scheme had helped countless people, he said.
“That is why we defended it and why we will continue to do so.”
Last week Malta suspended sales of passports to Russians and Belarusians in a dramatic change of stance.
The sale of citizenship to non-EU nationals allows such investors to become EU citizens, obtaining freedom of movement and access to EU financial markets.
Both the European Commission and the United States said this past weekend that they would be taking measures to stop such ‘golden passport’ sales to wealthy Russians, as part of a raft of sanctions against that country following its invasion of Ukraine.