During the joint press conference in Valletta with Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, President Juncker said with regards to the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union:
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Maltese plans to pay Electrogas Malta, operator of the Delimara plant, for providing energy to Maltese electricity company Enemalta. The measure compensates Electrogas for the additional cost of fulfilling public service obligations.
The year that has just started is a very special one for Malta, as our country, for the first time since its accession in 2004, has assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. Malta will be presiding over the Council for six months, from January to June 2017.
The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union officially launches today in Valletta. The whole College of the Commissioners has flown over from Brussels on the occasion. We bring you Karmenu Vella’s, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, personal take on the Presidency.
On Thursday 5 January, the European Commission has published an evaluation report of investments under the European Social Fund (ESF) during the 2007-2013 period, with specific reports for each Member State. The report shows that by the end of 2014, at least 9.4 million European residents found a job with support from the Fund. 8.7 million gained a qualification or certificate. Other positive results, such as increased skills levels, were reported by 13.7 million participants.
After a year of discussions, the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional political agreement on the Firearms Directive. The Commission proposed a revision of the current EU rules on firearms on 18 November 2015 to make it harder to legally acquire high capacity weapons in the European Union, allow better tracking of legally held firearms thus reducing the risk of diversion into illegal markets, and strengthen cooperation between Member States.
Today, the European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the EU's capacity to fight the financing of terrorism and organised crime, delivering on the commitments made in the Action Plan against terrorist financing from February 2016. The proposals will complete and reinforce the EU's legal framework in the areas of money laundering, illicit cash flows and the freezing and confiscation of assets. Presented alongside the third Progress Report on the Security Union, today's proposals will ensure a strong and coordinated European response in the fight against terrorism financing and organised crime, bringing the EU one step closer towards an effective and genuine Security Union.
The Commission has today put forward a proposal which, if adopted, would enable EU Member States to apply a different VAT system to the rules currently in force across the EU.
The latest annual review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) published today shows encouraging results. Around 3 million jobs have been created and employment has risen, pushing back poverty. However, unemployment remains high, with huge disparities across Member States. Labour markets and societies will need to adapt to new forms of work.