Stronger EU focus needed on tourism, aviation and SMEs post-Covid-19 – Miriam Dalli

Last Updated on Friday, 28 May, 2021 at 11:03 am by Andre Camilleri

The European Union must strengthen its focus on SMEs, micro-enterprises and economic sectors such as tourism and aviation if it is to propoerly address the impact of COVID-19, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli told the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on Thursday.

Minister Dalli said that particular attention should be given to start-ups and scale-ups.

The Competitiveness Council discussed among others, the update of the EU industrial strategy, which was published this year, the digital services package and the future of European tourism.

Minister Dalli highlighted the realities of a small island-state at the periphery of the EU, and the effects of the constantly increasing transportation costs on Maltese companies that mostly are comprised of SMEs. Dalli called for Malta’s realities to be taken on board in the updated Industrial Strategy, as Malta’s peculiarities are specific to our island. While underscoring the importance of transitioning to a green economy, she emphasised the importance of not allowing anyone to fall behind.

Funding and access to funding are equally important particularly if the EU Single Market is to offer a level playing field for all. Dalli urged the European Commission to align its financial instruments to target these specific realities and to consequently assist SMEs in becoming more competitive and resilient through diversification. Furthermore, Malta expressed its support to the Commission’s strategy to have diversified sources of raw materials, the importance of which has been amplified by the COVID19 pandemic.

Welcoming the Digital Markets Act proposal as a step forward, Dalli said that further discussion was needed on the extent of leverage platform services companies have on businesses particularly issues pertaining to market predictability, seasonality and other pertinent issues of paramount importance to our tourism related businesses. 

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