Fabian Demicoli

GRTU seeks closer collaboration with our current and future MEPS


GRTU strongly
believes that the role of the European Parliament is very important. The
European Parliament is a very strong decision making body that decides on
something that affects you as an EU citizen or an EU business on a daily basis.

The question is how will these individuals we have elected to represent our
interest decide? The reality is they can decide in favour of your interest but
they can also decide against when the decision they make might not be a very
informed one.

The
European Parliament elections are now approaching and GRTU has learned a lot
from past experience. We have learned that MEPs can be a very important tool to
get the views of our members across and mould EU law in a way that protects
their interests. We are therefore at this important stage leading to the
European Parliament Elections heavily emphasizing with all contesting
candidates that we expect them to stay close to us as SME representatives and
keep the communication channel active so that they can make informed decisions on
the interests of Maltese SMEs. 

GRTU meets MEP Metsola

During
an event organized by the European Parliament representation office in Malta in
view of the next upcoming EP elections on 24th May 2014, GRTU expressed its
disappointment with the level of communication with the current MEPs and GRTU
President Paul Abela invited current and future MEPs to start involving GRTU in
their work.

Following
this current MEP Roberta Metsola immediately made contact with GRTU in order to establish a
steady communication channel. GRTU met MEP Metsola and we explained the work we
do and discussed how we could start working together. Roberta Metsola also
explained the issues she is currently dealing with in the committees in which
she is a member.

GRTU expressed
to MEP Metsola its wish that the new elected candidates would coordinate
together to ensure they cover the committees that are most important especially
those that are more likely to impact SMEs. Malta's MEPs are only six which is
very little compared to the number of MEPs of other Member States and therefore
it is even more important for them to coordinate for the best of those they
represent.

MEP Metsola
said that she has taken due note of the interest of GRTU and will be
collaborating closely with the organization on the reports that fall within the
committees in which she is a member and do her best to lobby other MEPs in
order to gain support on issues of importance to SMEs.

 

MEP Mizzi supports SMEs in vote related to interchange fees for card-based
payment transactions

GRTU has this
week written to MEP Marlene Mizzi asking her to support our position in favour
of SMEs and consumers during a vote that was taken this week on the 20th
February at the ECON Committee where she is Vice Chair.

MEP Mizzi was
more than happy to support our position and contribute to the adoption of a
favourable report. She explained that as a business person as well as a
consumer, she is aware of the burdens of fees and expenses linked to card based
payments.

GRTU congratulates
the Parliament's ECON Committee on the adoption of a report which maintains and
improves most of the Commission's original proposals, setting caps on credit
and debit cards at a reasonable level across Europe but allowing member states
to set even lower caps.

This is a great
result. Once adopted, lower interchange fees would lead to better prices for
consumers across Europe. We are especially pleased at the Parliament's
inclusion of commercial cards in the caps and their acceptance that the ‘Honour
all cards rule' should be prohibited.

We very much
hope that the report from Mr Zalba Bidegain will be maintained at the Plenary
as it was voted today. We also call on the Council to follow the same line; the
reforms in this regulation, and in the revised Payment Services Directive, are
essential for more transparent and competitive payments in Europe.

Of course, this
is just the first step: we have a long way to go yet. But we trust this vote
will send a strong message to the Parliament as a whole and to the member
states in Council that Europe needs forward-looking legislation which will
bring great benefits to Europe's merchants and consumers.

 

Protection of undisclosed know-how and business information

GRTU has this week drafted a position paper on this Commission proposal
and circulated it also to our MEPs.

The proposal of
protection of trade secrets / business know how is welcomed as a step into the
right direction to protect companies and in particular SMEs from
misappropriation of trade secrets / business know how in cross border trade.
This however can only be done if the Directive is as precise as possible and if
a real harmonisation of rules is reached.

The protection
of trade secrets / confidential business information at EU level is very delicate
as it would be touching national labour and civil and criminal law. Such an
initiative must be taken in a way that ensures that the existing balance
between those areas of law at national level is well maintained.

Moreover,
raising awareness of the risk relating to non-protection of trade secrets /
confidential business information at national, European and international level
for companies – but especially for SMEs – is crucial for the acceptance of an
EU action by companies.

For any further
legislative steps at EU level, we urge policy makers to keep the Think Small
First principle in mind from the drafting phase of the procedure until its
implementation.

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