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Malta needs better lobbying strategy to ward off negative EU laws, says Farsons CEO

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The CEO of Farsons has called for a more coordinated strategy by Malta to avoid being caught out by one-size-fits-call rules carved out by more influential European Union member states.

Reacting to Malta’s challenge in the EU Court to rules on long-haul trucks, Norman Aquilina said Malta was in need of a strategy to engage on EU laws that affect its national interest at the outset.

Malta ‘dead in the water’ without united front that can influence costly EU laws

He was referring to an opinion by the European Court of Justice’s AG on the EU’s Mobility Package law that forces long-haul trucks to return to their place of registration, as a mandatory reprieve for drivers. The law would harm peripheral economies like Malta, an island economy where logistical costs are a key factor in competitiveness.

“With the EU not known for its speedy decision-making and subsequent law enactment, why do we seem to have been caught somewhat off guard?” Norman Aquilina said in a post on social media.

“We badly need a more coordinated and active strategy which ensures we are constantly informed and well placed to fully engage on matters of national interest right from the start, and avoid adopting a reactive approach. Our timeliness is critical, along with ensuring effective communication amongst all stakeholders both at European and local levels.”

Aquilina said that it was high time for Malta, now a member state for 20 years, build a more resourceful, synergised focus and active engagement in lobbying and formulation of EU rules.

“Despite the legitimate concerns widely expressed on the upcoming EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), one can at best hope for some eventual mitigating measures given the significant impact this will have on Malta, both from a cost and connectivity point of view,” Aquilina said, referring to the vehicle return rule in the EU’s Mobility Package. The ETS, which concerns maritime transport emissions, and the Mobility Package, both have significant implications on Malta’s logistical costs and overall competitiveness.

“Considering we are an island economy, our logistical costs will always be a key factor impacting our competitiveness. It is also pertinent to underline that the cost of logistics has often been a make-or-break consideration when negotiating export business,” Aquilina said.

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