04 June 2003

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Malta’s alignment to acquis still experiencing delays

- competition law, ‘yards restructuring amongst areas of delay

By Matthew Vella
Malta’s alignment to the EU’s acquis communautaire has fallen behind schedule in certain areas, an EU preliminary monitoring report confirms.
Earlier this week in Parliament, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo was told by Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami the government was not yet aware of the preliminary report into Malta’s status in terms of its alignment with the EU’s acquis communautaire.
The monitoring charts, indicating Malta’s progress within the acquis policy chapters, have highlighted agriculture, shipyard workers’ retirement schemes, and piracy amongst the areas in which alignment has yet to be achieved.
Malta’s own deadline commitment has been set at 1 January, 2003. Despite having yet to complete full alignment, the preliminary monitoring report has decreed Malta already meets the majority of the acquis commitments and requirements.
However, delays have occurred in the transposition of aspects of the first chapter of the acquis on pharmaceuticals, public procurement and in the non-harmonised areas and removal of import and export licences.
In competition law, delays have occurred in the introduction of provisions on public undertakings and the implementation of commitments relating to the Business Promotion Act:
"Urgent attention must be paid to ensure the necessary modifications to the Business Promotion Act will be adopted," the report reads. This involves the phasing-out of operating aid under the Business Promotion Act by the end of 2008. Further subsidiary legislation remains to be adopted.
The monitoring charts indicate the Maltese government has not yet submitted information on the planned release of Malta’s shipyard employees. There has also been a delay in the submission of the first yearly report on the implementation of the shipyards’ restructuring plan, which includes the stoppage of government subsidies by 2008. The information was due to be sent to the Commission by 31 March 2003.
In fiscal legislation, attention must be paid to the modification of fiscal aide granted on the basis of old legislation into compatible aid. Legislation on the fiscal benefits under the Industrial Development Act and Malta Freeport Act remain to be adopted by accession at the very latest.
Within the area of free movement of capital, Malta is meeting the majority of its commitments but it has not fully liberalised capital movements for secondary residences. Malta’s initial target date was set for 1 January 2003. The full EU monitoring report, the second of its kind, is expected to be released by the end of the month.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
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