Just 11 days away from E-Day Nationalist leader Lawrence Gonzi revealed that the European Commission has approved a €700,000 (Lm300, 510) financial aid package to train Maltese workers who recently lost their job.
During his fourth press conference in this electoral campaign, Gonzi stated that he received the news of this windfall last Wednesday.
The PN leader said: “The proposal of the European Commission has now reached the Council of Ministers’ and the European Parliament’s stage and I hope that as soon as possible Malta would be able to start using these funds.”
The whole financial package amounts to €1,362,207. Lawrence Gonzi said that 675 redundant workers from VF and Bortex will eventually benefit from these funds, and they will be getting professional training enabling them to find alternative jobs in different sectors.
Themed “employment”, Gonzi’s press conference in Bulebel’s industrial estate was geared up on “More work, and better work.”
He lined up a list of his achievements, stating that “if there is one thing that people should put their minds at rest about, it is employment under a PN government.”
Highlighting the fact that in the past four years his government created more than 20,000 new jobs, Lawrence Gonzi scoffed at the Labour Party’s employment policies describing Sant’s recent statements as a “comedy of errors.”
The Prime Minister said that when Alfred Sant says that a budget surplus by 2010 would not be a Labour priority, this means that a Labour Government would create a “tremor” in the country’s stability.
“This is a dèjà vu,” insisted the PN leader.
Lawrence Gonzi invited voters to compare the two main parties’ proposals. “We want to strengthen the financial services and increase the number of pharmaceutical factories and call centres, whilst the Labour Party is proposing to set up a salt factory, another one to produce nails and another factory to produce leather shoes.”
Then Gonzi reiterated that under a Sant Government, unemployment will shoot up to 15,000.
“To keep unemployment down our economy needs to create 5,000 new jobs yearly. Alfred Sant is promising to generate 2,000 jobs a year. This will increase unemployment by 3,000 a year,” Lawrence Gonzi said.
The Prime Minister pointed towards more differences between the two parties.
“During the 16-year MLP government there were only 3,200 new graduates from University whilst during our 19 years in Government, the figure is up to 31,000.”
Lawrence Gonzi ruled out the possibility of overturning his decision about public holidays, whereby holidays which fall on a weekend are no longer added to annual leave. He insisted that he will rely on the advice given to him by experts from the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Industry.