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MALTATODAY 19 September 2021

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7 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 19 SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWS PUBLIC CONSULTATION Submit your opinion or suggestions on the published document proposing an investment of €971 million. COHESION FUND JUST TRANSITION FUND EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND 1. Fostering competitiveness and an innovative and smart economic transformation; 2. Promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy and sustainable urban mobility; 3. Enhancing transport connectivity; 4. A more social and inclusive society; 5. Fostering sustainable urban development in Gozo; 6. Facilitating a just transition. Consultation document may be downloaded from: Send your submissions to: by the 8th October, 2021. CF - JTF - ERDF for Malta 2021-2027 is a programme co-financed by the European Union Fond Ewropew għall-Iżvliupp Reġjonali 2014-2020 Rata ta' ko-finanzjament: 80% Fondi mill-Unjoni Ewropea; 20% Fondi Nazzjonali ministration only lasted 22 months and the 2013 govern- ment was truncated by then prime minister Joseph Muscat who called an election a full year before the five-year term was up. Whatever date Abela choos- es for the election, Monday 20 September 2021 will mark the start of intense politicking that will test the resilience of the two leaders. The next election will be a first for both and a chance for them to assert their authori- ty on the parties they lead. Abela and Grech will use Mon- day's events to drum up support and lay out their visions for the future. But they will not get into much detail bar a hint or two to make the headlines. They will tell different stories but both will focus part of their speeches to address internal par- ty issues – Grech will emphasise the need for unity and inclusion after years of infighting, while Abela will emphasise the need for political correctness and humility after the turmoil that ended his predecessor's career. The two stories The Prime Minister will wax lyrical about the upcoming budget, which is the adminis- tration's last, and Grech will un- derline how the PN is prepared to lead. There will be no mention of the respective parties' tax woes – the media companies the PL and PN own have overdue tax bills running into millions. Abela will emphasise his par- ty's social credentials by talking about measures to support peo- ple with low incomes. Grech will insist the PN can do better. Both leaders will court busi- ness and choose their words carefully when championing the environment so as not to give the impression they will stifle growth in the construction in- dustry. The biggest and possibly safest environmental cause both will champion is emphasis on public open spaces to be enjoyed by all. The Prime Minister will posit the PL as the natural home for those who cherish civil liberties. He will give a glimpse of the next frontier the PL will go for in IVF and cannabis use but he will steer clear from touching the abortion issue. The PN leader will insist his party will not take away any of the civil liberties gained over the past seven years. But Grech will walk a tight rope by harping on inclusion while reaffirming the conservative values enshrined in the party statute. Abela will remind supporters that his government will remain committed to the mantra of not raising taxes or introducing new ones and recall the govern- ment-induced costs of previous Nationalist administrations. Grech will criticise govern- ment for running a massive deficit but will still propose measures that require more government spending, not less. The PL leader will underscore his government's achievements in restoring good governance and the rule of law, emphasising the legal changes to the way the police commissioner is selected and members of the judiciary are appointed. Grech will insist only a new PN government can improve Mal- ta's international reputation by ensuring good governance pre- vails. He will repeat the state- ment that a PN government will get Malta off the greylist in three months and call for prosecu- tions of people close to power. The scene will be set for what promises to be the backdrop for the election campaign, where bread and butter issues will pre- vail. And yet, both leaders may go off on completely unpredictable tangents with the only certainty being the start of a new, more intense political season. "The Prime Minister will wax lyrical about the upcoming budget, which is the administration's last, and Grech will underline how the PN is prepared to lead" LUKE VELLA MALTA recorded 25 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, figures published by the Health Ministry show. There were also 51 recoveries, bringing the num- ber of active cases down to 617. No deaths were recorded, leaving the death toll since the start of the pandemic at 453. The figures show that until yesterday there were 21 coronavirus patients being cared for at Mater Dei Hospital, of whom three were in ITU. Malta's drive to inoculate with booster doses con- tinued with 4,821 third vaccine jabs having been ad- ministered until yesterday. So far, more than 90% of those aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated with two doses. Meanwhile, Valletta yesterday saw yet another pro- test by a group of people calling for measures such as mask mandates and vaccine certificates to be re- pealed. The protest on Saturday also saw some in the crowd describing the COVID-19 pandemic "a hoax". Tension was however evident between the organ- isers, as the message of the different speakers lacked congruency, leaving the attendees perplexed. A faction was stressing that they care about the fu- ture and personal freedom and that they are not nec- essarily anti-vaccine. This group called for non-vac- cinated travellers not to be forcibly quarantined. But another faction took a more aggressive ap- proach, calling the pandemic a hoax and an excuse to vaccinate the population. They stressed on the right to life and that everyone should be treated on the same level, irrespective of citizenship and class. They called on the authorities to respect everyone's liberties and rights. The tension climaxed when the former group dis- banded from the main protest and continued their march around Valletta independently. COVID-19: 617 active cases; protest in Valletta against restrictions

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