SME Chamber

Malta EU Steering and Action Committee Core Group Meeting

GRTU officials have this morning
attended the Malta EU Steering and Action Committee Core Group meeting as
members. On the agenda was the Single Market Act II and EU enlargement. The
aims of the Single Market (SM) were explained as an area without borders for
persons, goods, services and capital, based on free movement.

We witness this
on an everyday basis when we travel within the EU without border controls, no
charges when changing money abroad, duties, etc… This year marks the 20th
Anniversary of the SM and some of its successes can be see from the 2.77M extra
jobs created in Europe and Eur 600B contribution to GDP yearly generated.

The SMA II has 4 drivers:

Developing fully integrated networks
in the SM

Maritime Transport falls under this
driver. 40% of all merchandise transported occurs through sea shipment.
Maritime does not have the same SM benefits as compared to merchandise
transport on land as it still undergoes controls even if it is coming from
another MS. This is a problem mainly due to uncertainty however this will now
be addressed through tracking devices. This priority also includes the
acceleration of the implementation of the Single European Sky.

Fostering Mobility of Citizens and
Businesses Across Borders

Development of EURES and facilitation
for citizens' job mobility is a priority for this driver. Access to Finance
through investment Funds, and investment for SMEs. This will include venture
capital solutions in 2013. Modernising of insolvency rules and second chance.

Supporting the digital economy across

Making electronic payment more secure
and card payments more efficient. Making e-Invoicing standard for public

Strengthening social
entrepreneurship, cohesion and consumer confidence

Improve product safety and market surveillance.
Access of basic bank account, transparency of bank fees and make account
switching easier.

During the discussion GRTU's Director
General Vincent Farrugia stated that "for Malta the Single Market Act is vey
important as before we entered the EU we had reached a stand still as we
fulfilled the limitations of our market and required a much larger market. I am
very active on this subject also at EU level as member of the EESC and have
today 5 publicised reports which fall under this very important subject. Malta
is the kind of country because of our smallness and limitation for which the
Single Market is most important because that is what we depend on. GRTU is for
instance against protectionism in the form of anti-dumping to protect European
manufacturers. Weare however in favour of state aid to EU Industry to make up
for the enormous amounts of legislation which other countries outside the EU do
not have to comply with such as employment and environmental standards, which
constitute such a big cost and is translated in increased cost to the
consumer." Particular emphasis was made on the fact that we have nothing
against opening our market to foreigners as long as they comply also with the
national criteria our members have to comply with. Illegal importation and
competition is still a problem that hurts our business and on which effective
action is not evident.

On Enlargement it was explained that
everything is in place and in line for Croatia to become the 28th EU Member
State. The other candidate countries are:

Iceland (country population smaller
than Malta), member of Schengen. and EEA.

Turkey is very strategic and
important for Europe, the process is however taking very long as there are a
lot of issues of contention

The Balkan regions , which are facing
a lot of economic problems and the biggest problems relate to ethnicity and

Malta is in favour of accession as
long as the criteria are respected.

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