Fabian Demicoli

Europe Direct Page – GRTU is the host of the Europe direct office in Valletta

 Europe Direct Valletta is one of many Europe Direct
Information Centres (EDIC), almost 500, around the EU. EDICs are one of the
Commission's main tools to offer information to citizens at local level and to
gather citizens` feedback for the European Institutions.

Europe Direct Valletta provides any one with general
information about EU and answers to questions on any European Union policy. It
provides practical and easy to understand information on dozens of subjects:
for example, how to get your qualifications recognized, what are my health
rights when travelling within the EU, how to complain about unsafe products,
etc… We also give advice to help the citizen overcome practical problems with
exercising their rights in Europe. Where required we provide also contact
details of relevant organisations the citizen may need to deal with.

Europe in 12 lessons               Lesson 1: Why the
European Union?

 

The beginning

During the 20th century, the European continent was ravaged
by several wars. However, a new kind of hope emerged from the rubble of the
Second World War; people were determined to put an end to international hatred
and rivalry in Europe and create lasting peace.

Between 1945 and 1950, a handful of courageous statesman,
Robert Shuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi and Winston Churchill, began
to lay the foundations for a new Europe, based on shared interests and founded
upon treaties guaranteeing the rule of law and equality between all countries.

On 9th May 1950 Shuman proposed establishing a European Coal
and Steel Community. Whereby raw materials of war were being turned into
instruments of reconciliation and peace.

The European Union encouraged German unification after the
fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Afterwards, when the Soviet empire crumbled in
1991, the countries of central and Eastern Europe, were released from the ‘iron
curtain' and freed to choose their own destiny. Eight of them joined the EU in
2004, the same year in which Malta joined, and two more followed in 2007. The
process of EU enlargement is still going on. Croatia, for example, will be the
28th member state of the EU in May 2013.

Security, Economic and Social
Solidarity

Europe in the 21st century still faces security issues and
has to work constructively with the regions just beyond its borders, like the
Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. The fight against terrorism and
organised crime requires the police forces of all EU countries to work together
closely. Making the EU an ‘area of freedom, security and justice' where
everyone has equal access to justice and is equally protected by the law is a
new challenge that requires close cooperation between governments. Bodies like
Europol, the European Police Office and Eurojust also have to play an active
and effective role.
From an economic point of view, European countries must continue pulling
together if they are to ensure economic growth. No individual EU country is
strong enough to fare alone in world trade. To achieve economies of scale and
find new customers, European companies need a broader base than just their
national home market, and the European single market provides it, a market of
500 million consumers.

Another important pillar is Europe-wide solidarity. This has
clear tangible benefits for European citizens. The "Structural Funds" encourage
and supplement the efforts of National Authorities to reduce inequalities
between different parts of Europe. Such funds are used to improve the transport
infrastructure, invest in renewable energy sources, education and training,
etc… The global financial crises in 2008 required for the EU to provide
financial assistance to the hardest-hit countries. In 2010 the EU led Member
States to make a concerted effort to reduce their public debt. The big
challenge of the EU countries is that in the years ahead together they will
stand to face the global crises and find a way out of the recession into
sustainable growth.

According to its values, the EU seeks to ensure that
humankind is the beneficiary, rather than the victim, of the greater global
changes that are taking place. The EU stands for a model of society that the
great majority of its citizens support. Europeans cherish their rich heritage
of values, which includes a belief in human rights, social solidarity, free
enterprise, a fair distribution of fruits of economic growth, the right to a
protected environment, respect for cultural, linguistic and religious diversity
and a harmonious blend of tradition and progress.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union sets
out all rights recognised today by the EU's Member States and their citizens.
Shared rights and values create a feeling of kinship between Europeans. To take
just one example, all EU countries have abolished the death penalty.

In the long run however, all EU countries benefit. Sixty
years of European integration has shown that the EU as a whole is greater than
the sum of its parts and this is an added value in acting together and speaking
with a single voice. Working together does not mean erasing the distinct
cultural and linguistic identity of individual countries. On the contrary, many
EU activities help promote regional specialities and the rich diversity of Europe's
traditions and cultures.

      21 228 843

GRTU, Exchange Building,
Republic Street, Valletta

What we can do for you

INFORMATION POINT

BUSINESS SERVICES

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

LOCAL ISSUES & LEGISLATION

B2B NETWORKING EVENTS

LEGAL ADVICE

FUNDING ASSISTANCE

COURSES

BECOME A MEMBER

The Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7,000 members from over 90 different sectors which in their majority are either small or medium sized companies, and such issues like the one we're experiencing right now, it's important to be united. Malta Chamber of SMEs offers a number of different services tailored to its members' individual requirements' and necessities. These range from general services offered to all members to more individual & bespoke services catered for specific requirements.

A membership with Malta Chamber of SMEs will guarantee that you are constantly updated and informed with different opportunities which will directly benefit your business and help you grow. It also entails you to a number of services which in their majority are free of charge and offered exclusively to its members (in their majority all free of charge).