Reference Number: PR180444, Press Release Issue Date: Mar 01, 2018
“Let us work at promoting Malta as a peaceful place to do business.” This was stated by Minister For Finance Edward Scicluna whilst addressing a ‘Masterclass on the State of Hospitality and Investment across the Mediterranean Region’, organised by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation.

Minister Scicluna said that the Mediterranean community is close to his heart as in the past he has worked on the Mediterranean Action Plan which had embarked to change the Mediterranean sea from a polluted one dying a slow death to how it is today, a sea whose beaches are now awarded the European blue flag.

 Talking about the present situation, Minister Scicluna stated that the seven percent economic growth was much more than the Government expected when it embarked on the programme to resuscitate a lethargic economy and this creates its own challenges.

Minister Scicluna touched upon testing challenges in the Mediterranean and other European countries such as an unprecedented flow of refugees and Brexit together with a feeling of EU scepticism. He spoke about a lack of investment appetite where there are big companies with money but nowhere to invest.

 Here he mentioned a landscape where economic and financial regulations are being enacted by the European Union.

 The Minister said that it is important to remain optimistic and positive about the future but still keep our feet on the ground. He said that discussions at EU level are contemplating the enhanced role of the European Supervisory Authorities in terms of emerging and new technologies such as in the case of FinTech and cryptocurrencies. Minister Scicluna also remarked that one needs to ensure that there is a healthy mix of available sources of finance to support economic activity.

 Minister Scicluna also spoke about corporate taxation and said that countries in the Mediterranean which are using tax competition as a means to attract investment are being challenged and threatened with blacklisting. Here he emphasised on the difference between harmful tax competition and non-harmful tax competition. He stressed that one can never condone tax evasion or even tax avoidance but at the same time one should keep firm to the national competences especially in the case of young emerging economies to retain an element of competitiveness.

 Minister Scicluna spoke about the North African and Middle Eastern countries and the need for a development bank that understands these regions specifically and said that as Maltese, we are declaring our interest in supporting such initiatives in this region.