MALTA: Government did nothing to avoid impact of EU emissions tax

As published on: timesofmalta.com, Thursday 4 January, 2024. 

The Nationalist Party on Wednesday hit out at the government for having done nothing to ease the impact of the European Union's Emissions Trading System, which came into force on January 1 and is expected to push up the cost of living.

Under the scheme, shipping companies will be obliged to purchase ‘allowances’ to offset their carbon emissions when travelling to EU ports.

The PN pointed out that since nearly all of Malta's imports come on cargo ships, the scheme will push up the price of food and all other goods.

While protecting the environment had its challenges, the PN said the government had done nothing about the impact of this scheme while it was still being negotiated.

Nor had it considered using EU funds for the necessary support to protect Maltese consumers.

According to public data, all Maltese MEPs bar European Parliament president Roberta Metsola voted in favour of the legislative package that included the provision to make maritime transport subject to emissions trading. Metsola, as EP president, did not cast a vote.

The PN said the government's failures further confirmed the validity of its suggestions that the cost of living adjustment announced in the budget should not be taxed, and a national fund should be created to cover high logistics costs, thus protecting consumers.

The government had ignored those proposals while still finding €400 million to fund Vitals and its hospitals deal, and other funds for propaganda adverts and parties, as a recent report by the Auditor-General confirmed.

It would be the most vulnerable sections of society who would now pay for the incompetence, arrogance and squandering of the government, the PN said.

The statement was signed by Albert Buttigieg, spokesman on the cost of living, and Ivan Castillo, spokesman on the maritime sector.

Reacting to PN's criticism, PL said the Nationalist Party was not credible when it spoke about the economy and the ETS directive.

In a statement, PL said it was the European Parliament president Roberta Metsola herself who described the directive as historical and crucial.

It claimed the Opposition was "time and time again choosing partisanship over national interest", and has always sided with austerity.


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