"EU Governments should continue assisting businesses to operate not only in their own territories but also for them to reap the opportunities offered by the new digital environment" – Minister Cardona

A general approach on the establishment of a Single Digital Gateway (SDG) was reached during the Competitiveness Council held on the 30th November in Brussels and attended by Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Chris Cardona. 

The Council meeting featured constructive discussions on this dossier, as Ministers agreed that the establishment of the SDG would assist in streamlining the efforts already in place to remove obstacles that exist for both citizens and businesses exercising their rights in the internal market. Malta supports the objectives of this proposal as it is in line with the efforts the Government is working on in relation to digitizing public services therefore, creating a 24/7 public administration for the benefit of business in Malta and Maltese citizens. 

During today's European Council on Competitiveness, the establishment of an EU Industrial Policy Strategy that looked at a medium to long-term action plan, was also discussed. The Competitiveness Ministers took note of the significant ground work that the Maltese Presidency had done. Industrial Strategy has been placed at the top of the European Agenda, thus sending a clear message that the EU supports industry in concrete terms.  

Minister Cardona welcomed the progress that has been achieved; however, emphasised that the EU needs to focus on a long-term strategic approach. Minister Cardona drew parallels with the success that Malta is registering. Whilst Malta is registering record levels of GDP growth, low unemployment and significant inflows of foreign direct investment, it is important for the EU to create and focus on a long-term vision and related incentives to foster industrial investment, both from within and outside the EU. This is vital to create a certainty that fosters long-term industrial investment. 

Minister Cardona mentioned the importance of ensuring that more financial resources are allocated for industry and particularly for SMEs, in the upcoming programming period 2020 discussions. Minister Cardona mentioned that digitisation is another challenge that the industry is facing and that Malta would like to see a stronger successor of the COSME programme post-2020, particularly in the area of access to finance through financial instruments that cater for the needs of all Member States.


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