silvio schembri marton nagy hungary

Speaking in a European Union forum, Malta’s Minister for the Economy, Enterprise and Strategic Projects Silvio Schembri emphasised the “unique challenges” faced by the small Mediterranean island nation, when compared to larger countries on the continent.

Therefore, “recognising the diverse realities faced by businesses, varying by size and geographical location, is crucial to ensuring a balanced, fair, and targeted approach to our shared goals.”

During an Informal Competitiveness Council held in Budapest, Minister Schembri welcomed the European Council’s acknowledgment of connectivity issues, emphasising the critical importance of aviation, maritime, and road connectivity for peripheral island member states like Malta.

“Policy initiatives such as the green deal and digital transition should be proportionate to the objectives being sought without creating unnecessary burdens on member states,” he said.

Building on the Letta Report [on the future of the Single Market, by former Italian PM Enrico Letta] and subsequent Council Conclusions, Malta proposed that the European Competitiveness Deal should focus on ensuring a level-playing field and removing obstacles to cross-border business in all areas, particularly those in relation to services.

Vehicle electrification

During the council, the Minister also highlighted Malta’s proactive measures in transitioning towards electric vehicles (EVs), including the recent launch of the Green Mobility Scheme.

“In recent years, Malta has embarked on facilitating the transition towards Electric Vehicles. Our Green Mobility Scheme supports businesses transitioning to environmentally friendly transportation by encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles for business purposes and aiding enterprises in procuring, installing and activating private charging infrastructure with smart charging capabilities,” he said.

He emphasised the need for regulatory initiatives that allow ample time for businesses to transition smoothly without compromising their competitiveness and growth.

With the 2035 deadline for zero-emission vehicles approaching, the Minister called for the European Union’s commitment to strategic foresight and meticulous planning, particularly in addressing the imbalance in charger deployment.

Digital transition

“The European Commission’s AI innovation package is a crucial step forward. We support actions addressing critical needs for computing power, data, and talent, fostering innovation and competitiveness while ensuring that AI development is secure, ethical, and transparent,” continued Minister Schembri

He drew attention to the “significant strides” made by Malta in this area – “as confirmed by the Digital Decade Country Report 2024.”

The Minister highlighted Malta’s achievements in the digital economy and the establishment of the AI Competent Authority in 2018, which has been pivotal in developing the National AI Strategy.

Minister Silvio Schembri concluded by reaffirming Malta’s commitment to collaborating with European Digital Innovation Hubs and ensuring that micro businesses can benefit from digital investments.

The transformative power of AI and innovative technologies is recognised as a key driver of economic growth, necessitating further investments in AI infrastructure, skills development, and supportive regulatory frameworks.

Featured Image:

Hungary’s Minister for the National Economy Márton Nagy shaking hands with Malta’s Minister for the Economy, Enterprise and Strategic Projects Silvio Schembri

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