In his address during the Competitiveness Council in Brussels, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri welcomed the Commission’s proposal for better single market coordination, especially in times of crisis. However, he also called for a more sensitive and flexible approach, in particular to island periphery states such as Malta which are more fragile and susceptible to supply chain disruptions.
Minister Schembri stated that the Commission’s proposal, whilst still being examined in detail, is in principle a step in the right direction, in order to avoid a repetition of the unprecedented disruptions in the freedom of movement of services, goods and people, and which saw member states resorting to individualistic and at times chaotic measures.
Minister Schembri’s intervention called for more joint and collaborative initiatives, similar to the joint COVID vaccine procurement system. “We should learn lessons from the pandemic, both positive and negative, and to start putting them to practice with immediate effect since, whilst it is good to plan ahead for future crises, we must not forget that we are living in a crisis right now, in particular in vital sectors such as energy.”
Malta also called for the adoption of a more integrated approach to food supply which recognises the interdependencies, with the meaningful input of producers and transport and logistics companies. As an island state, Malta welcomes all efforts to remove barriers and reiterated that ‘green lanes’ must remain uninterrupted both at member states’ and EU level, to ensure a multi-modal supply chain of essential products such as medicines, medical equipment, food, and other critical products.
Finally, Minister Schembri called on the Commission for important reforms in other interlinked sectors such as state aid rules, particularly the De Minimis regulations, of which reforms are crucial to safeguard our enterprises’ competitiveness, particularly the small and medium enterprises, not only in times of crisis, but continuously through effective and minimal bureaucratic means.
Source: Office of the Prime Minister