The path to a sustainable and equitable future may have its hurdles, but it is one that Malta is more than capable of navigating.

As Malta continues to engage with European Union legislation, it’s essential to recognise that the concept of ‘one size fits all’ does not always align with the diverse needs and circumstances of all EU Member States, especially those on the periphery.

Our island nation does face distinct challenges that demand tailored solutions, especially when it comes to laws that have the potential to significantly impact our economy and our people.

At this point, it’s crucial to emphasise Malta’s support and commitment towards environmental initiatives and the imperative need to address climate change. We need to acknowledge the importance of reducing emissions and transitioning to a more sustainable economic model.

The recent local discussions surrounding EU regulations such as the Mobility Package and the Emissions Tax, are not about opposing environmental progress but about ensuring that the green transition does not become an unjust financial burden on our people and our industry. Sustainability and affordability need to co-exist, and European policies need to take into account the peculiarities of individual Member States.

Take for example, the EU’s Mobility Package. While this directive may seem equitable on the surface, it fails to consider Malta’s position as an island economy when it comes to trans-shipment. Logistical costs are a pivotal factor in our competitiveness as we import all our raw material and the vast majority of our consumables. Imposing such a rule without acknowledging our specific needs can put our businesses and consumers at a significant risk.

Similarly, the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme’s current implementation flaws may inadvertently clash with Europe’s core principles of achieving carbon neutrality. The potential cost disparity between EU and non-EU ports could amount to €34 million per year for each served route. Major carriers have confirmed this scenario, highlighting the competitive pressure that could lead some to bear the extra cost, while others opt to bypass the directive altogether. This significant variance poses challenges and may push major shipping lines to explore alternative solutions other than European ports such as Malta.

It is within the EU’s interest to ensure that the internal market is strengthened and EU companies and citizens living in border countries like Malta, are protected as much as those in the mainland. European ports should not suffer from a self-inflicted competitive disadvantage over African ports. This is why derogations should be in place for European island states such as ours.


Rather than one size fits all policies, small member states should be allowed flexibility to achieve the ultimate EU-wide objectives without putting at risk the competitive fabric of the economy. Unfortunately, many in Brussels wrongly assume that this reasoning is a call to resist change. Instead this is a plea to ensure that the transition to a greener future is achieved in a manner that safeguards our economy and the well-being of our citizens.

The same applies for the European Commission’s approach in calling for Malta to curtail the energy subsidy. This decision would totally derail Malta’s economic outlook and feed an increase in energy poverty which would in turn dilute the living standards of the most vulnerable in our society. This without mentioning the direct negative impact on the competitiveness of our industry against European peers which have the huge benefit of being connected to the mainland and a much wider access to raw materials.

In order to achieve our aim Malta must strengthen its lobbying efforts at the EU level. We must have a stronger and common voice involving a wide array of industry stakeholders that actively engage with EU institutions and decision-makers to ensure that laws and regulations are crafted with a full understanding of Malta’s challenges and needs.

Malta, as an EU Member State for two decades, possesses the experience and expertise to advocate for policies that consider our unique circumstances. We have a shared responsibility to protect our environment and contribute to global sustainability. However, we must do so in a way that respects the diversity of EU member states and ensures that the green transition benefits all, without placing undue financial burdens on any nation.

Doing this would allow us to stop viewing the challenges posed by EU regulations as insurmountable obstacles, but rather look at them as opportunities to shape a brighter future for our island nation. By strengthening our lobbying efforts and actively engaging with EU institutions, we can not only protect our interests but also lead the way in demonstrating how sustainability and economic vitality can coexist harmoniously.

The path to a sustainable and equitable future may have its hurdles, but it is one that Malta is more than capable of navigating. It’s a journey of innovation, adaptation, and collaboration—one that will not only safeguard our environment but also enhance our competitiveness and the well-being of our citizens.

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