PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY, INVESTMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS: Maltese Presidency to strengthen consumers’ trust in Internal Market

At this important juncture, where European citizens and businesses need to be reassured in the European project and its benefits, the Maltese Presidency has recognized the Single Market as one of its overarching priorities. Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona earlier today presented the work programme of the Maltese Presidency in the areas of Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) during a Committee meeting.

Minister Cardona noted how the global context in which the Single Market now operates has fundamentally changed, as economies of scale and mass production have been replaced by a knowledge and service economy based on product differentiation. Although the new proposals focus heavily on opening up the Single Market in energy, digital, consumer and transport sectors, greater attention needs to be given to the remaining distortions to trade and innovation that affect business operations.

Minister Cardona called for the acknowledgment that restrictive practices are still rife and that implementation overall falls short of what is needed to open up markets fairly to competition. The functioning of the Single Market is especially important for businesses exposed to international trade, as market openness impacts investment and trade patterns.

The Internal Market is currently experiencing an active and dynamic moment with many reforms and legislative actions taking place. As the smallest EU Member State with an open service based economy, the Maltese Presidency firmly believes that boosting the Digital Single Market and removing barriers in the Single Market, are essential means for driving economic growth. To this end, the Presidency will strive to strengthen the Internal Market for the benefit of European businesses, particularly SMEs, as well as citizens and consumers.

At a Council level, the Maltese Presidency will continue to monitor the implementation of the Single Market Strategy and the Digital Single Market Strategy. The Maltese Presidency will give priority to the e-commerce package, which includes the geo-blocking package.

The Presidency aims to strengthen consumers’ trust in the Internal Market, as well as access thereto and choice. Minister Cardona said that the Presidency will also endeavour to make rapid progress on the proposal for the reform of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, with the goal of practicing proper enforcement to ensure that the welfare of consumers is protected in the digital age.

Another significant proposal that the Council will discuss with the Internal Market Committee is the Proposal regarding the Type Approval and Market Surveillance of Motor Vehicles. The widespread practices brought to light by car manufacturers of late, highlight the dire need for change of the present legal framework so as to deal with the present problems.

In terms of events, the Presidency will be organising the Single Market Forum in Malta on the 19th June of this year. This conference brings together the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency, in cooperation with the European Parliament, and a variety of stakeholders to generate momentum at the highest political and business level for ambitious action on the Single Market.

It is our duty to contribute towards a stronger and functioning Internal Market for the benefit of all European citizens and businesses. The planned work for the next six months of the Maltese Presidency will be instrumental to reach the set objective towards the strengthening of the Internal Market whilst concretely improving the competitiveness of the Union through a closer approach to the European citizens, concluded Minister Cardona.

Source: Government of Malta