European Commission wants broad-scale adoption of e-invoicing by 2020

 The European Commission wants to see e-invoicing become the predominant method of invoicing in Europe. In its Communication 'Reaping the benefits of electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) for Europe', the European Commission identifies a set of tangible actions to make the uptake of e-invoices in Europe easier.


Providing invoice data electronically and in a format could allow businesses to benefit from shorter payment delays, fewer errors, reduced printing and postage costs. Most importantly, structured e-invoices facilitate business process integration from purchase to payment, meaning that invoices could be sent, received and processed without manual intervention. Currently, exchanging e-invoices is often complex and costly, in particular across borders and for SMEs. The Communication by the Commission addresses these obstacles and is complemented by a Commission Decision to set-up a European multi-stakeholder forum on e-invoicing.

Existing rules governing e-invoicing in Europe are not uniform. As such the potential benefits of e-invoicing still remain to a large extent unexploited. As part of its flagship initiative, ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe', the European Commission is focusing its efforts on removing barriers to the broad-scale adoption of electronic invoicing in Europe. The four key priorities on e-invoicing are:

Ensuring a consistent legal environment for e-invoicing

Achieving mass market adoption by getting SMEs onboard

Stimulating an environment that creates maximum reach between trading partners exchanging invoices

Promoting a common e-invoicing standard

To facilitate the monitoring and implementation of these actions, the Commission invites Member States to establish national multi-stakeholder fora on e-invoicing by June 2011. The Commission will complement this by setting up a stakeholder forum on e-invoicing at EU level.


E-invoicing, short for electronic invoicing, is the electronic transfer of billing and payment information via the Internet or other electronic means between trading parties involved in commercial transactions. These include businesses, the public sector or consumers, for example. Compared to paper invoices, e-invoices may create substantial advantages for all trading partners. According to a study carried out on behalf of the Commission in 2008, replacing regular paper invoices by e-invoices across the EU could result in approximately EUR 240 billion in savings over a six-year period.

The mass uptake of interoperable e-invoicing solutions in the EU is currently being prevented by barriers such as technical ambiguity, legal uncertainty, and operational constraints. In order to address this situation the Commission established an independent e-Invoicing Expert Group, which came forward with a final report at the end of 2009. The Communication and Decision adopted today are based on a public consultation on the final report of the expert group (see MEX/09/1130).

More information:

SMEs in general process very few cross border invoices and payments and are mostly used to the national systems in place. Although they support in principle better cross border services and the possibility of harmonised European e-invoicing and payment systems, they are not particularly active in the field and are mainly afraid about higher costs and/or lower quality of the new European services compared to the existing national solutions. Competition and transparency for the new services are therefore of the utmost importance for small companies.


Exploring Europe’s cultural heritage online

 Europeana, Europe's gateway for internet users to search and get direct access to digitised books, maps, paintings, newspapers, photographs, film fragments and all sorts of audiovisual documents from Europe's cultural institutions, was launched as a prototype in November 2008.


The European Commission's initial target was of 10 million works for 2010 but, in fact, it is well above since more than 14 million of these items, along with music clips, are now accessible through

Digitised photographs, maps, paintings, museum objects and other images make up 64% of the Europeana collection. 34% of the collection is dedicated to digitised texts, including more than 1.2 million complete books that can be viewed online and/or downloaded. The texts cover thousands of rare manuscripts and the earliest books printed before 1501. Video and sound material represent less than 2% of the collections.

All EU Member States have contributed items to Europeana. However, input is still uneven. France is the largest contributor (18% of total items). Germany has increased its share to 17% whilst Malta contributed 0.01%.

To ensure Europeana represents a true cross-section of Europe's cultural heritage, it needs additional quality

material from all Member States.

Next year Europeana intends to experiment with user-generated content and will invite users to contribute material to Europeana around the theme of World War I.

Motor vehicles and their trailers


Directive 2007/46/EC establishes a harmonised framework containing the administrative provisions and general technical requirements for all new vehicles, systems, components and separate technical units.


As a result of the effects of globalisation on the automotive sector, the demand for vehicles built outside the Union is growing significantly. Member states have put in place administrative procedures and technical requirements under national law for the approval of vehicles imported from third countries. As the procedures and requirements differ from one Member state to another, this situation creates distortion in the functioning of the internal market. It is therefore necessary to lay down appropriate harmonised measures.

Harmonised administrative and technical provisions regarding individual approvals should be laid down in a first step with respect to vehicles produced in large series in or for third countries.

Article 24 of Directive 2007/46/EC allows Member States to waive certain provisions of this Directive as well as of the Regulatory Acts listed in Annex IV of that Directive for the purpose of approval of individual vehicles. The proper functioning of the internal market requires however that the same technical and administrative waivers be granted at European level. It is therefore necessary to lay down which provisions of European law may be waived.

Article 24 allows also Member States to impose alternative requirements to European law which aim to ensure a level of road safety and environmental protection which is equivalent to the greatest extent practicable to the level provided by European law. Assuming that vehicles produced in series for third countries with a view to being put into service into domestic markets are built in accordance with the technical legislation in force in the respective countries of origin or destination, it is therefore appropriate to take into account such requirements. The appropriate information and the necessary expertise is available in order to demonstrate that those requirements could ensure a level of road safety and environmental protection required in the Union. It is therefore appropriate to consider as equivalent a number of requirements in force in the third countries for the purpose of individual approval.

Member states have national individual approval schemes in place at the time of the adoption of this Regulation for vehicles produced in large series and originally intended for registration in third countries. Those approval schemes may continue to apply, however their validity is restricted to the territory of the Member state that granted the approval and other Member states may refuse such approvals.

It is appropriate with a view to ensuring the proper operation of the approval system to update the annexes to Directive 2007/46/EC in order to lay down technical requirements for vehicles to be approved under the individual approval procedure. Annexes IV and VI to Directive 2007/46/EC should therefore be amended accordingly.

For the purpose of individual approval, a vehicle is deemed to be new where: it has never been registered previously or it has been registered for less than six months at the time of application for individual approval. A vehicle shall be considered registered where it has obtained a permanent, temporary or short term administrative authorisation for entry  into service in road traffic, involving its identification and the issuing of a registration number.

Who and what products will be effected

Type Approval Authorities, Manufacturers, Authorised Representatives, and Importers, of motor vehicles.


Feedback by noon of Friday 7th January 2011. To:

Regulatory Affairs Directorate,


Second Floor, Evans Building, Merchants Street,

Valletta, VLT 1179,



Visa commitments: A long wait for very little

 GRTU is dismayed at the marginal progress being made to tackle the urgent issue of interchange fees. The decision last week from the European Commission to accept Visa's token commitments will do little to remove the burden of interchange fees from Europe's retailers and consumers.


The Commission announced that it will accept Visa's offer to cap its cross-border multilateral interchange fee (MIF) on consumer debit cards at a maximum weighted average of 0.2%. Unlike MasterCard, Visa has made no offer to reduce its MIFs on credit cards.

As the single euro payments area moves closer, the threat of a Europe-wide duopoly on the cards payment market looms ever larger. SEPA will put an end to cheap, efficient national debit card schemes, handing the market over to the well-established international brands. The profits for banks, currently assured by exorbitant interchange fees, mean that no issuing bank will do business with a new scheme operating on a lower fee model.

Without urgent action from the European authorities, MasterCard and Visa will keep the market to themselves, and SEPA will mean even higher costs for retailers and higher prices for consumers.

GRTU welcomes the Commission's continued investigation on Visa credit cards and related anti-competitive issues. However, the Commission may need to completely rethink its strategy on MIFs if it is to prevent the establishment of a SEPA card market permanently riddled with anti-competitive problems.

A further issue of concern is the failure of surcharging. Surcharges were intended to allow retailers to show the consumer the real costs of different payment means. In a competitive market, retailers would not be able to impose such charges without damaging their businesses. While several member states have decided not to allow the practice at all, where it is used, mainly for on-line transactions, some operators are imposing surcharges far in excess of real costs.

There are also a number of still outstanding issues:

There is still no progress on commercial cards: MIFs on such cards can be up to 8 times the MIFs on consumer cards.

The honour all cards rule still means that retailers cannot refuse overpriced cards

There is still little improvement on fees at national level in most member states.

The MIF commitments agreed still allow for percentages: there is no justification for this, when processing costs do not alter according to the value of the item bought.

Retailers still cannot benefit from single market savings by operating cross-border acquiring.

Eco Hampers

 This festive season…let's help reduce the carbon footprint!Genuine Maltese processed products. A selection of homemade jams, extra virgin olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, pickled onions, seasonal fresh fruit, local wine, carob syrup and pure honey and natural beauty products.










All in attractive recycled containers

Prices start from €20

Free Delivery 

We guarantee authenticity of all the agri-products and that your gift this season is certain to be noticed and appreciated.

Contact Merill Eco Tours 21411388 – 27411388 – 79411388 –

Workplace Accessibility Tax Deduction Scheme

Eligible Entities

The Scheme is open to employers and who have a staff member who is a disabled person registered with KNPD and in possession of a valid Special Identity Card.

An employer who has newly recruited such a disabled person is also eligible for this Scheme as long as the relative employment is bona fide.


Eligible Costs

Capital expenditure consisting of one or more of the following:

the installation or modification of physical structures, and/or equipment designed to increase workplace accessibility;

the removal of architectural and physical barriers;

the acquisition, installation or modification of equipment and devices for disabled persons.

Expenditure incurred in the training of disabled employees for the purpose of enabling them to perform their work.

The expenditure incurred must directly address the impairment-related needs of the disabled employee/s concerned.

Installations or modifications of physical structures, and the removal of architectural and physical barriers must be carried out in accordance with the Access for All Design Guidelines where these are applicable. These Guidelines can be downloaded from

The acquisition, installation or modification of equipment and devices for disabled persons must be carried out after seeking the advice of relevant professionals.

The training of disabled employees should be carried out together with their colleagues, as much as possible. Expenditure incurred in the provision of support during this training is eligible. In exceptional circumstances, expenditure incurred in the provision of training which is specific to the disabled employee will be considered. Support for training and/or the provision of specific training must be carried out after seeking the advice of relevant professionals.


The deduction is claimed in the year of assessment following the year in which the expenditure was incurred. The employer can claim a deduction equivalent to 100% of the cost incurred against income charged to tax for the relevant year of assessment.

The deduction is only allowed if the employer does not benefit from any form of assistance in relation to the same expenditure from the Government of Malta or from any other entity.

The following costs will not be approved:

costs incurred by persons who are not employers;

costs incurred by employers who do not employ a disabled person registered with KNPD and in possession of a valid Special Identity Card;

costs incurred which are not directly related to the impairment related needs of the disabled employee/s;

costs incurred which have already been refunded through another scheme or incentive from the Government of Malta or from any other entity.

Maximum Deduction

The total deduction claimed cannot exceed twenty thousand euros (€20,000).

If the deduction cannot be wholly set off against the income of the employer for the year during which the expenditure was incurred, it is carried forward and set off against the income for subsequent years in succession.

In the case of self-employed individuals, if the deduction cannot be wholly set off against the income of the individual or his/her spouse for the year during which the expenditure was incurred, it is carried forward and set off against the income of the subsequent years in succession.

For more information contact Carmen Borg @ GRTU



Empowerment through Art

 MEUSAC is searching for artists and musicians to actively involve themselves in a Social Inclusion-themed project, within the disciplines highlighted further below, thus contributing to the integration of those on the margins of society.














Interested individuals are to submit their expression of interest to MEUSAC by not later than Wednesday January 5, 2011 on

Suitable remuneration will be offered.