Member States’ competitiveness discussed at the Informal Council Meeting of Ministers responsible for competitiveness

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 July, 2022 at 11:07 am by Andre Camilleri

“Not every country is the same and not every country has the same challenges when it comes to inflation. We cannot have one size fits all for the whole of Europe.” This was stated by the Minister for the Economy, European Funds and Lands Silvio Schembri while speaking at the Informal Council meeting of Ministers responsible for competitiveness, which is being held in Prague.

Minister Schembri explained that for many European countries, the most challenging months in terms of inflation and access to energy are the winter months, for our country summer is the most challenging period due to a significant increase in energy consumption, not winter.

“Therefore, you cannot have a single Europe-wide model. This is also the case when it comes to a green economy, where you cannot have the same model adopted by the whole of Europe, when island states like Malta have to depend on sea transport when it comes to imports and exports, which is more polluting than ground transportation. That is why our country cannot end up paying a bigger price simply because it is an island,” Minister Schembri added.

Minister Schembri also spoke about the need to strengthen the European Union’s financial instruments to strengthen access to finance. “Small and medium-sized businesses, which make up 90% of our economic base, find it difficult to access European funds. We believe that if you have a minimum percentage for centralised funds, instead of geographical distribution, it will help. This would convey the message that these funds would also be accessible to those countries, such as Malta, that are on the periphery of the European Union.”

On the digital transition and green economy, Minister Schembri said that the necessary skills should be given to human resources, while it is vital to improve access to finance to small and medium-sized businesses.

“We believe that if there are rigid rules tied to digital innovation, it will stifle competitiveness. Our main goal should be to strike a balance between reducing the complexity of European legislation to so that we make foreign direct investment much more attractive, while continuing to protect European norms and values,” stated Minister Silvio Schembri.

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