Fabian Demicoli

Discussing Utility tariffs and asking for action

 

GRTU's Director General, Vincent Farrugia, addressed the European Conference for Crafts and Small Enterprises, organized by the French Presidency of the European Council and led by the French Minister for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet. 

Mr Farrugia emphasized the importance of the European Commission coming up urgently with an assistance programme for small enterprises so that they are not rendered helpless under the problems faced when Europe goes into an economic recession. 

He mentioned what happened in the recession at the beginning of the eighties and nineties, where not only where small businesses not given any support but were left to carry most of the load because the governments where only interested in safeguarding financial institutions and large industries.

The European SME Envoy, Madame Francois La Bail Commission, revealed that in 2 weeks the European Commission should publish a programme that will deal with most of the points discussed by Vince Farrugia.

The Director General referred to Malta's current situation, where the Government has killed off communication with social partners recognized by law and imposed, by means of state monopolies, tariffs for water and electricity which effectively chastise small enterprises and make them subsidize large industries from their own income. 

Vince Farrugia appealed to the UEAPME, the European federation for SMEs and Crafts, of which GRTU is a member and which has held its Annual Conference together with this European Conference for SMEs, to insist with the European Commission to condemn actions similar to those happening in Malta. 

He explained that the Commission has to act not only on proposals but also ensure that the member governments act in a way that does not worsen the situation for small enterprises. 

UEAPME promised to discuss the issue directly with the European Commission even in the contest in which GRTU has already discussed when the capping was imposed and Government denied GRTU statement, when today in 2008, the Government publicly admitted that small enterprises are truly subsidizing large industries.

In his closing speech the French minister for the SME's and self-employed, Mr. Herve' Novelli, assured all the delegates that the French presidency will conclude its presence with a decisive programme that is advantageous not only for European economies in general but which assures that small enterprises are not affected by the negative economic trends.

Vince Farrugia and President Paul Abela are attending the European Conference for Self Employed and Small Enterprises and UEAPME's Annual General Assembly in Tours in France.

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