European Parliament Election candidates visit the MEUSAC offices
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The candidates who are contesting the European Parliament Elections on May 24 were invited to visit MEUSAC offices on Friday, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the work being carried out by MEUSAC in order to bring the European Union (EU) closer to the citizen. During the visit, the candidates met MEUSAC officials.
They also had a meeting with the Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, Dr Helena Dalli and MEUSAC officials led by the Head of MEUSAC Dr Vanni Xuereb. They had the opportunity to discuss how MEUSAC and the six members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who will be elected on May 24 can collaborate better in the next Parliamentary Legislature.
In a brief address, Minister Helena Dalli spoke about the roles of MEUSAC and explained how this provides the necessary structure for national consultation processes on EU legislative proposals or policies.
The Minister also referred to the newly refurbished entrance to the MEUSAC building which now houses an info point where there is access to publications and online information about the EU. She emphasised that MEUSAC is the first main point of contact for citizens on EU policies, laws, programmes and EU funds.
It was also mentioned how MEUSAC offers specialised support and assistance to NGOs and local councils to identify opportunities for EU funding and to submit applications for EU funded projects. Through such assistance, these entities have benefited from €30 million.
The Minister spoke about the two national entities that offer a framework for social dialogue in Malta – MEUSAC and the MCESD. Although complementary to each other, they have distinct – MEUSAC focuses on European issues whilst MCESD deals with national issues.
Dr Dalli also invited the six members of the European Parliament who will be elected next week to take part in the Core Group meeting to be held on Friday 30th May, so that they can meet and discuss their work in the coming five years with the social partners and representatives of civil society.
MEUSAC Head, Dr. Vanni Xuereb, gave an overview of the work being done by MEUSAC and presented MEUSAC’s annual report for 2013. He talked about the existing collaboration between MEUSAC and MEPs as well as with the European Parliament Office in Malta.
Dr Xuereb said that the election campaign has brought out the need to strengthen this collaboration as although Maltese citizens are among the most knowledgeable about the EU, more needs to be done to ensure that we avail ourselves of the many opportunities that exist.
The candidates raised several points, including the need for more communication of the services provided by MEUSAC, regular meetings with the social partners and civil society at MEUSAC and MCESD level, participation by MEPs in the Foreign and European Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, the need to bridge the gap between the EU institutions and citizens and how the MEPs may be more and better involved in MEUSAC
Also present for this meeting was the Head of the European Parliament Office in Malta, Dr Peter Agius.