Fabian Demicoli

Consumer Agenda and State Aid discussed in Brussels

GRTU's  Director General and EESC
Employers Representative Vincent Farrugia has this week attended the Single
Market, Production and Consumption Bureau and Section meeting. The European
Consumer Agenda was discussed. Mr Farrugia stated that customers are the
lifeblood of reputable, reliable businesses and meeting consumer needs is the
purpose of their business. For the most part, going well beyond the minimum
legal requirements is the key to retail success and plays an important role in
giving individual businesses a competitive edge in a highly competitive market
place.

Competition helps consumers get a good deal, and drives innovation and
productivity. Strong competition results in driving down prices and driving up
quality and choice. It must be stressed that ultimately consumers bear the cost
of burdensome regulation through higher prices.

GRTU's Director General and EESC
Employers Representative Vincent Farrugia has this week attended the Single
Market, Production and Consumption Bureau and Section meeting. The European
Consumer Agenda was discussed. Mr Farrugia stated that customers are the
lifeblood of reputable, reliable businesses and meeting consumer needs is the
purpose of their business. For the most 
part, going well beyond the minimum legal requirements is the key to
retail success and plays an important role in giving individual businesses a
competitive edge in a highly competitive market place. Competition helps
consumers get a good deal, and drives innovation and productivity. Strong
competition results in driving down prices and driving up quality and choice.
It must be stressed that ultimately consumers bear the cost of burdensome
regulation through higher prices.

As the closest link in the chain to
the consumer, any measure taken in the field of consumer protection/safety, has
an impact on businesses. Mr Farrugia highlighted the importance of a framework
within which businesses and consumers can work together and with the EU
institutions to meet the needs and address concern of both consumers and
businesses. Moreover, both consumers and businesses need to be educated and
informed so they are aware of their rights and duties, including providing
support for consumer groups and information programmes for businesses and
consumers.

An important point on the agenda was
State Aid. Some years ago Mr Farrugia had asked the then Commissioner for
Competition Neelie Kroes about the State Aid ratio between aid to SMEs and aid
to larger enterprises and she replied that SMEs only receive 1% of State Aid.
Mr Farrugia therefore welcomed the Commission recommendation that within 3
years the ratio is expected to improve to 90/10. Mr Farrugia congratulated the
EU Commission on introducing other elements in favour of SMEs such as the
simplification of procedures.

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