PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY, INVESTMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS – Minister Chris Cardona and Minister Owen Bonnici present the Maltese Presidency Priorities regarding competitiveness and justice before the European Parliament

The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona and the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici this evening presented the Maltese Presidency Priorities in the area of Competitiveness and Justice before the Legal Affairs Committee within the European Parliament.

This is the second presentation delivered by Maltese Ministers at Union level.

Minister Cardona highlighted that the Maltese Presidency fully appreciates the significance of the EU Digital Agenda and its important implications for the policies of the Union, most notably with respect to benefitting the lives of citizens.

This theme will be tackled in Council under important active legislative proposals such as that on the portability of digital content. On this proposal, the Maltese Presidency is confident that a balanced and workable compromise can be reached during its term.

Minister Cardona also noted how the Maltese Presidency hopes to be in a position to conclude, as soon as possible, the necessary work so that the Marrakesh Treaty can be ratified, given the strong political will of co-legislators. The Marrakesh Treaty aims to facilitate access to published works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.

The Maltese Presidency will also continue with a careful and detailed analysis of the European Commission’s proposals aimed at modernising the EU copyright legal framework in the digital environment, within the relevant Council preparatory bodies. Establishing the right balance between the free flow of information and the dissemination and preservation of cultural heritage on one side, and on the other, the rights of content creators, will be the ultimate goal.

The Minster concluded by saying that the Council is interested in resolving current issues so as to facilitate cross-border operations by SMEs and thus strengthen the Single Market. Minister Cardona appealed for collaboration between the Presidency and the European Parliament over the next few months in this regard. In particular, he stressed the need for the development and application of measures which aim to see more effective but less burdensome policy-making, whilst identifying regulatory barriers to limit innovation and therefore hinder the social and economic interests of citizens.

Minister Bonnici held that the topics falling within JURI Committee’s remit touch upon the core and most basic and fundamental values and principles in any democratic society.

Minister Bonnici stated that during the Maltese Presidency, Malta will be focusing on bridging the differences in positions held by different institutions, amongst which is the European Parliament. He maintained that the ultimate goal is that of enhancement and enforcement of citizen rights.

He stated that the Maltese Presidency will be giving priority to proposals regarding the Online Sale of Digital Content and that of Tangible Goods- proposals which are of great relevance to consumers as well as businesses.

Reference was also made to the recently adopted Proposal on Business Insolvency which should provide tools to allow viable businesses in distress to be rescued and honest entrepreneurs to be given a second chance.

Discussions will also take place on the revision of the Brussels IIA Regulation, which intends to reduce costs and simplify procedures related to cross-border disputes related to separation, divorce, annulment and other matters in relation to minors. This will in itself continue to enhance European Citizens rights.

In line with Malta’s aim to increase Social Inclusion, Minister Bonnici stated that importance will also be given to the fight against domestic violence and violence against women.

Minister Bonnici highlighted the importance to be given by the Maltese Presidency to any form of hate speech as manifested in its different forms such as that against homosexuality and racism.

The Minister concluded by thanking his counter parts at the European Parliament for offering him the opportunity to present the Maltese Presidency Priorities which will be working upon during these six months. Minister Bonnici held that despite being a challenging agenda he was convinced that important progress could be registered, to the benefit of European citizens, European businesses and society at large.

Source: Government of Malta