Fiscal flexibility dominates MCESD meeting

Small EU economies like Malta need flexibility in fiscal policy, European Economic and Social Committee president tells MCESD members

EESC president Henri Malosse alongside minister Helena Dalli (Photo: Ray Attard)
EESC president Henri Malosse alongside minister Helena Dalli (Photo: Ray Attard)

Fiscal policy and access to financing dominated the meeting held today between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD).

Addressing a press conference at the end of the meeting, EESC president Henri Malosse said that “small economies like Malta need flexibility in fiscal policy,”adding that he understood Malta’s concerns over the proposed Financial Transaction Tax.

Explaining that EU member states can opt out of the tax harmonisation legislation, Molasse said “we completely understand Malta’s concerns.”

EESC member Stefano Mallia explained that Malta’s economy stands to lose if a financial tax is introduced and said that the committee acknowledged that fiscal policy should remain a matter of national competence.

The EESC is a consultative body of the European Union and is composed of employers trade unions and representatives of civil society.

Malosse also underlined the importance of facilitating access to financing for SMEs across Europe and EESC member Anna Maria Darmanin said that MCESD members had highlighted the issue during the meeting.

“SMEs in all European Union countries face the same probkems in gaining access to financing because there is no alternative to traditional bank financing,” she said, adding that while bank financing should be facilitated, other alternatives such as crowd funding, venture funding and community banks should also be explored.

Other issues discussed in today’s meeting were tourism and migration, which Molasse described as a “big challenge for all European countries.”

He added that the EU must pursue a common foreign policy and make more money available for border control programmes such as Mare Nostrum and Frontex.

Highlighting the surge in migrants seeking asylum in Europe because of instability in Mediterranean countries, the EESC president said “as long as the EU is unable to push for stability in the region migration will continue.”