silvio schembri EU Council

During a meeting with the EU Competitiveness Council of Ministers, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri called for the elimination of additional transport-related barriers that still exist for businesses and on the periphery of the EU, such as Malta, which still face significant challenges and often render them uncompetitive.

Minister Schembri called on the EU Commission to study this phenomenon more closely at EU level and to come up with effective policy solutions.

He also expressed Malta’s overall support for the compromise text of ecodesign requirements for sustainable products regulation, but called for evidence-based legislation and an assessment of the its impact, particularly on SMEs.

The proposal seeks to make sustainable products the norm in the EU by addressing product design and setting new requirements to make products more durable, reliable, reusable, upgradable, reparable, easier to maintain, recyclable, and more energy and resource efficient.

silvio schembri EU Council

The long-term competitiveness of the EU was also discussed, whereby nine particular reinforcing drivers were proposed, namely: a better functioning Single Market, better access to private capital and investments, more public investment and infrastructure, more research and innovation, more energy investments and faster rollouts, circularity, digitalisation, better education and skills, improved trade and open strategic autonomy.

Minister Schembri expressed Malta’s overall support for this approach and methodology; however, he also called for refinement and reconsideration of certain KPIs and said that member states must be constructively assisted to achieve these targets without ending up burdened with additional costs and bureaucracy to attain them.

As the EU also celebrates 30 years since the inception of the Single Market, the meeting was attended by former Prime Minister of Italy and EU Commissioner, Professor Mario Monti.

Prof Monti was the architect of the new strategy for the Single Market in 2010, upon which the communication Towards a Single Market Act was eventually built.

He focused his intervention particularly on the EU patent system as an initiative to strengthen the Single Market and boost EU competitiveness, and gave his reflections on the state and future of the Single Market.

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