PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE: Minister Edward Scicluna visits the European Court of Auditors

Minister for Finance Prof Edward Scicluna visited the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in Luxembourg, at the invitation of its President, Mr Klaus-Heiner Lehne. He had meetings with the President and Members of the Court including Maltese member Leo Brincat. He also delivered a presentation to the Court’s staff on Malta’s EU programme and list of priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Minister Scicluna was given a presentation on a number of ECA special thematic reports. Following a discussion he remarked on the relevance and importance of these reports and called on Governments to take note of their findings in order to ensure discipline and transparency in their financial affairs.

Prof Scicluna gave an extensive explanation of the priorities of the Maltese Presidency during the ECOFIN, including the legislative files under the Capital Markets Union agenda in view of the need for the EU to be more business friendly. He stressed on the importance of access to markets on the grounds of stringent regulations and high fees which act as a barrier for small business to access capital markets. This, coupled with banks which are de-risking, is badly affecting EU investments with third countries. Minister Scicluna also referred to securitisation which is to be discussed with the European Parliament, as well as the matters such as FinTech and Digital Finance.

He also remarked on the current global developments on both sides of the Atlantic, with the US challenging accepted European standards as far as trade, globalisation and taxation is concerned, while the UK has just formally asked to leave the EU. “This is not a coincidence,” he stated.

Furthermore, the Minister also described the current situation regarding taxation and tax avoidance, and remarked that Malta has managed to clinch a deal on the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive 2. The EU now wants non-EU jurisdictions to enact at least the minimum standards, which now apply in the EU. He also spoke about tax certainty, which was also discussed in the recent G-20 meeting, which took place in Baden-Baden, where Minister Scicluna represented the EU Finance Ministers.

“This was indeed a very fruitful visit, which was also a first of its kind where it concerns the EU Council Presidency. I believe it should become a fixture on the EU Council Presidency’s calendar,” commented Minister Scicluna after the meeting.

Source: Government of Malta