sohu.com: malta eyes on belt and road initiative
as chinese enterprises are engaged in investment and construction on the mediterranean island of malta, local government and businesses have also become increasingly interested in participating in the construction of belt and road initiative.
in 2013, when the malta labor party formed the new government, they were in positive pursuit of strategic partners, hoping to provide technological, management and capital support for the transformation of enemalta plc, malta's only state-owned energy company, in order to optimize the island country's energy structure and realize the promise of "reducing the power tariff" during the election.
"malta is located in the strategic hub of belt and road initiative and 'three networks and industrialization', linking europe, africa and middle east. besides, as an eu member state, schengen country and eurozone country simultaneously, malta possesses incomparable superiority in such areas as law, tax and capital settlement," sep chairman wang yundan said, "this unique advantage could make malta a regional platform for chinese companies to enter european market and even markets in africa and middle east."
in 2014, sep signed an official agreement with the maltese government, according to which the company invested a total of 320 million euros, including 100 million euros to acquire 33.3 percent shares of enemalta plc and 150 million euros for the acquisition of 90 percent stake of delimara 3, a major power plant in the country.
as agreed by both parties, enemalta, which used to suffer from losses for years, was transformed to a limited company in 2014, and sep, as a new shareholder, appointed two directors to participate in major operation matters. the new concepts and new technologies from sep injected new life into the enemalta, which turned around in 2015, posting a profit of 24.57 million euros.
due to active progress of energy sector reform including cooperation with sep, malta witnessed its power tariff reduced by 25 percent, with the stability, safety and reliability of power supply enhanced substantially, and as a result, local people's livelihood has been improved, and costs of local industrial and commercial enterprises lowered. konrad mizzi, minister of the office of the prime minister general of malta, told xinhua reporter, "the economic growth of malta is now among the top in europe, to which sep has made huge contributions."
from the viewpoint of maltese prime minister joseph muscat, sep managed to salvage enemalta from the verge of bankruptcy, and helped the government fulfill the promise of reducing the power tariff for the people. he emphasized that the successful transformation and turning around of enemalta would establish a good example for other soes in the country. such a demonstration effect has made maltese government and enterprises look to china and the belt and road initiative more than ever.
in september 2016, maltese government expressed that the country was greatly honored to become a founding member of the asian infrastructure investment bank, and was willing to take the opportunity of participating in the belt and road initiative to improve all-round cooperation between malta and china, draw on the experience of china's development based on leveraging its own advantages, positively join in the construction of belt and road initiative and continue to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
maltese government also expressed its willingness to build the 21st century maritime silk road together with china, and hoped to become a springboard and hub for chinese enterprises to expand to european market.