Interview with Umana Medical CEO,

Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan p.06

Former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton

tells why watchdog journalism is integral

to democracy and justice p.10

Exclusive interview with Dr Enrico Tezza,

the co-author of Evaluating Corruption p.12

Deepak Chopra, Rudolph E. Tanzi, and P.

Murali Doraiswamy p.24


ISSUE 47 | 2019

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Malta Business Review


Issue 45



Deepak Chopra, Rudolph E. Tanzi, and P. Murali

Doraiswamy explain why we should see ourselves

as free agents capable of conscious change rather

than a robot machine







President Luca Jahier’s agenda for change based on three

priorities: sustainable development, peace and culture



Interview with Chief Executive Officer of Umana Medical, Dr

Adrian Attard Trevisan



Former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, a veteran of 34

years in the House of Representatives

on why watchdog journalism is integral to democracy and




Presentation of the conclusions of the EC’s high-level

debate on Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030,

with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the

European Commission




Andre’ Camilleri’s exclusive interview with Dr Enrico Tezza,

the co-author of a new book entitled Evaluating






Discover more about Saviour Camilleri Interior Design &

architecture Ltd. & Camilleri Burlo- architects & designers




MBR talks with Darren Zarb, Managing Director of Dacoby

Chauffeur Service




Kurt Camillieri, Managing Director, O & S Shipping,

shares his vision with MBR readers


A Playbook Quiz and roundup of the top 10 moments of



New feature double-page spread on most topical

issues being discussed







A Breaking Barriers series courtesy of Virgin exploring the

barriers to fair work opportunities and employment



Connecting Malta for a better


Interview Sonia Hernandez, Vodafone

Malta’s new CEO p.06

Newspaper Post


Artificial Intelligence and Customer

Service – Here to help?

Interview with Pierre Mallia, Managing

Director, iMovo p.12


Organizational Standard, Excellence

& Outstanding Achievement

Interview with Mark Farrugia, Regional

Director at Lidl Malta Ltd p.16


Delivering Financial Stability

Exclusive Interview with (SRB) Chair, Elke

Könige p.28




ISSUE 46 | 2018


Malta Business Review

BIRKIRKARA, MALTA – About two-thirds of the way through creating and writing special

features for this month’s issue of MBR, and running through one of my vast projects for 2019, I

emailed a few colleagues: “Help. My feature is so sublime. Do you know anyone hopeful I can

interview?” My feature remained mostly sublime.


MBR Publications Limited


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Birkirkara, BKR 9042

+356 2149 7814


Martin Vella


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Margaret Brincat


MBR Design


Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163/4/6;

Email: margaret@mbrpublications.net

or admin@mbrpublications.net


Andre Camilleri; George Carol; Baptiste

Chatain; Deepak Chopra; Chip Cutter; P. Murali

Doraiswamy; Thomas Haahr; Lee Hamilton;

Solvig Kielveland; Jack Preston; Rudolph E.



DOI; European Parliament Information Office in

Malta; European Parliament, Directorate- General

for Communication/Press Office; European

Research Council; FIMBank; HSBC; LinkedIn;

Edwards Lowell & Co.; MORGEN EUROPA; OPR;

POLITICO SPRL; Politico Playbook; PTV Group;

Taylor & Francis Group.


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"There are no secrets to success. It is the result

of preparation, hard work, and learning from


-- Colin Powell


All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by copyright may

be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly

prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content

material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese

and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or

online web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon

any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information

is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without

first obtaining the publisher’s consent. The opinions expressed in the

Malta Business Review are those of the authors or contributors, and

are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

We live in an anxious age; there is no writing around it. It’s been hard even for me, as glass-halffull

as they come, to not succumb to the tide. An unevenly shared personal injury recovery has

done little to assuage the fury and despair that comes from knowing hard work isn’t enough.

Business feels harsher than ever and AI is coming for our jobs. Politics, the process by which

we come together to administer our shared destiny, is dividing us instead, as we are led by

trumpeters, musketeers and fakes. We once disagreed on objectives and methods; we now

tear into one another’s motives, even our very right to exist. We battle for the power we are

losing and the right to know which we have been denied. We are outraged and tired of our outrage. We distrust most institutions, from

our government to our politicians and the tech companies woven into our daily lives. We retreat into our cellulars and desert the places

that once connected us. And all of that seems insignificant next to climate change, a crisis we built of our own hands yet feel powerless

to stop.

And so we are exhausted. When the problems seem so much larger than our power to solve them, tuning out becomes a means of

self-preservation. Let us tend our gardens, as Voltaire’s Candide said, and let the world go quiet. For a while I, professional journalist and

lifelong news junkie, switched my alarm clock to the sounds of birds chirping because the endless drone of BBC Radio 4’s Today show –

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit – guaranteed I woke up every day with a panic attack. But white noise only covers the tumult, it does not end it. The

temptation to bow out of public discourse, to hunker down into the private sphere where you are safe and understood while the winds

rage outside, is as real as it is dangerous. I suspect those who feel the greatest strain are those we most need in the public sphere – people

with enough care and empathy to burn out in the first place. What then is a responsible citizen of Europe to do? Stare into the hollow

faces of our two main political leaders and you will discover no leadership at all!

They should do, precisely. Anger bottled up leads to anxiety, argues feminist author Rebecca Traister in Good and Mad (an imperfect

book but if nothing else, read the conclusion). But harnessed as fuel for action, it is a remedy, she adds. The problems I described are

not new to 2019 – and we won’t fix them all in 2019. “That it should take a long time shouldn’t scare us. It should fortify us,” Traister

writes. There is solace in doing, with a healthy detachment from ends we may never see. I remember the motto handed down by one of

my idols in this profession, French journalist Bernard Guetta, who borrowed it from Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European

Union: “I am not optimistic, I am determined.” The tempest will rage on outside and all we can do is what is right. The fight is only lost

when we give it up. But where do we find the strength not to?

The holidays we celebrated before the New Year offer an answer. The British, bless them, do Christmas right, even if they got Brexit

wrong. Celebrations start as early as November in an endless whirl of occasions: there’s Christmas with friends at the pub and Christmas

with colleagues at the pub. The big office party and the smaller team lunch. The school nativity play with the kids and the choir service

at the cathedral. I was caught out without Christmas cards, before I learned that the English trade them by the dozen with every friend,

colleague, neighbour or vendor who has touched their lives. By the time December 25th rolls around, your liver has already given out

but your heart is full.

The small communities we have recently reconnected– families of every shape, childhood friends, tight-knit teams – are the perfect

antidote to this anxious age. The private sphere, if you don’t hide there too long, can be a salutary retreat, a springboard from which you

return to public action, a charging station for the year ahead. From community comes solace, and the strength to continue to engage.

That is if you have caring, engaging family members and not detached, self-obsessed ones mired in the Ghost of Christmas Past! The

ghost is surreal and strange. It flickers like a candle and seems to reflect the fact that Scrooge's past behaviour can be redeemed. Alas, the

disintegrated, estranged and disenchanting family members do not realise that life can be redeemed.

Go ahead, tend your gardens then. The enigmatic last sentence of Candide has had as many interpretations as readers. It is not, to me,

a call to selfish escapism. It is an injunction to cultivate our talents and calmly and resolutely do what we can, at our level, to better

ourselves and the world. So I will see you in February, as I’m off to tend my garden.

Martin Vella


Talk to us:

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

Malta Business Review’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editor, and besides reflecting the Editor’s

opinion, are written to represent a fair and impartial representation of facts, events and provide a correct

analysis of local and international news.

Agents for:



Malta Business Review


Providing Innovative Care

By Martin Vella

In an exclusive interview, Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan, discusses his insights into

the transformation of Umana Medical, an award winning company with a market leading healthcare

management service that bridges accessibility gaps for clients in the ever-evolving world of quality


MBR: What makes Umana Medical and its

solutions stand out in the market?

AT: The market at the moment is full of Metoo

products, whereby every organization

checks what the competition is doing and

work on enhancing the product for better

results. In our case we revamped the whole

process and came with a new concept built

around Artificial Intelligence taking into

consideration the economic difficulties and

making it reachable to all who need it.

I feel one of the biggest trends, especially

in terms of potential, is big-data driven

Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are seeing

AI being used across a range of industries,

but healthcare is such a perfect area for it

to make a huge impact. One of the biggest

difficulties we see in healthcare, especially

in the public sector, is one of efficiency and

limited resources. AI’s ability to sift through

vast amounts of data to find patterns,

associations and insights is invaluable to not

only addressing these problems, but creating

superior healthcare all round. Umana

"Umana Medical

and specifically

AI will help fill

gaps in this global


Medical and specifically AI will help fill gaps

in this global industry where there are a lack

of experienced doctors, nurses, radiologists,

pathologists, etc.

MBR: What makes a good year for Umana

Medical? Is it the new hit products? The

stock price?

AT: A good year would be a mix of all. We

are definitely working to have great products

available in the market that will surely

provide decent return on investment to the

people who believe in us and made our work


MBR: Do you look back at some years and

say, ‘Oh, that was a good year, that year

wasn’t as good’? Which would you define

as your best year so far?

AT: I believe that the best year was 2018

so far as we got the regulatory/patent

approvals. However, this year we are

growing very fast, so I believe this will be the

best ever year so far.

MBR: Given the relentless pace of change

in the world, how do you prioritize what

Umana Medical is going to spend its time

on, which things deserve attention and

which things are distractions?

AT: It is true everything is moving at a fast

pace, yet our priorities never drift. We stick

Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan and the Umana Medical team celebrating at the Malta Best In Business Awards 2018



Malta Business Review

AT: People forget that greatness never

happened over night and that you should

never under estimate the power of a small

number of dedicated people to change the

world. MBR

Umana Medical Tattoo Sensor

Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan

"You should have

the right product

to approach the

right investor.

to the main pillars that govern our work and

everything that we do must be related to

the main three pillars of the organization,

otherwise they are put on the side for later.

MBR: Do the investment markets make

innovation harder? Or are your partners

who motivate change?

AT: Everyday new companies enter the

markets and at the same time everyday

companies exit for various reasons. You

should have the right product to approach

the right investor. When your investors

believe in your capabilities and technologies

you end up innovating and providing

products at a reasonable pace that will have

a place in the global market and not be

considered a Fad.

MBR: How can Umana Medical help to

improve the Maltese healthcare system

and to focus on the global patient more


AT: Umana provides innovative products

with minimal effort to use and provide

excellent analytics.

MBR: So what compels you to wow your

clients and patients, year after year with

new products?

AT: When you have the best interest of

patients at heart you constantly work to

innovate and come up with technologies

that would ease their pain and speed up

diagnosis of tough diseases for better cure


MBR: There’s a lot of talk right now at big

tech companies about the unintended

consequences of technological advances.

How do you keep your ear open to those

potential things without slowing down the

machinery of change?

AT: The presence of technology does not

mean you must use it. It is important to

choose wisely what can and cannot use.

MBR: What do people misunderstand or

underappreciate about Umana Medical?

Editor’s Note

Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan is co-founder

and Chief Executive Officer of Umana

Medical Technologies, which offers

innovative clinical-grade solutions for

long-term monitoring of physiological

parameters complemented with an

ecosystem of clinical grade software,

hardware and artificial neural

algorithms that ensures the highest

quality and reliability of data gathered

and analysed He holds a Doctorate

in the field of Human Physiology and

Neurophysiology and is a research fellow

at the Bedfordshire Center for Mental

Health Research in association with

the University of Cambridge. He is also

an entrepreneur, and before Umana

Medical, he founded and acted as Chief

Executive Officer and Chief Scientific

Officer of AAT Research (now Neurotech

International) a publicly listed company

on the Australian Securities Exchange


All rights reserved - Copyright 2019



Malta Business Review EU ELECTIONS 2019

EU elections: Support for EU and the lead

candidates process continues to rise

By Jaume Duch Guillot

& Neil Corlett

A new flash survey of EU citizens has

underscored the increasing support for the

European Union and growing awareness of

next year’s elections.

• 68% of citizens see EU membership as

a good thing

47% of respondents have already heard

about the European elections in May


• 77% of citizens want a real debate

about the future of the EU between the

lead candidates for the next European


• 68% of European citizens believe their

country’s EU membership to be a good


A fresh Eurobarometer survey commissioned

by the European Parliament reveals.

The first results of the telephone survey

conducted with 26,071 respondents in

the EU-27 show a continuous increase in

support for the European Union. While

60% of respondents interviewed in the

April 2018 Eurobarometer survey found EU

membership to be a good thing, this result

rose to 62% in September 2018 and again

to 68% in the Flash Eurobarometer survey

released today. The current legislature of

the European Parliament has thus witnessed

almost continuously increasing support for

the European Union, including encouraging

positive developments in many member


As the 2019 European elections are

getting closer, 47% of respondents recall

having heard recently about the European

elections in the media. Conversely, 52% of

respondents cannot recall having heard

anything about the European elections in

the news lately.

Parliament’s Flash Eurobarometer also

explores citizens’ views on the renewed

lead candidates’ process for the European

elections. Being able to take part in the

process of electing the next President of

the European Commission for the second

time is clearly perceived as an encouraging

factor by citizens. 57% of respondents

overall say this would make them more likely

to vote, including 24% who say it would

“definitely” make them more likely to vote

than at present. On the contrary, 36% of

respondents would not find themselves

more likely to vote.

Asked about their attitudes towards the

lead candidates’ process, the present Flash

Eurobarometer shows that those surveyed

are continuously positive. Compared with

results from April 2018, 67% of respondents

say that this process both represents

significant progress for democracy within

the EU (61% in April 2018) and makes the

process of electing the President of the

European Commission more transparent

(63%). Yet the most important result is that

EU citizens reiterate their strong call for a

‘real debate about European issues and

the future of the EU’, in order for the lead

candidate process to make any real sense, an

increase of 7 percentage points compared to

April 2018.

The Flash Eurobarometer further dedicated

a section to media recall questions, showing

that six out of ten of those interviewed

Europeans (60%) recall having recently

read in the press, seen on the internet or

on television or heard on the radio about

the European Parliament’s activities. This

result is the highest in Poland, with 75% of

respondents recalling that they have heard

recently about the European Parliament in

the news, followed by Finland and Sweden

(both 73%), Germany (72%) as well as

Hungary and Austrian, both with 70%. Asked

about the concrete topics they could recall,

immigration comes top with 77%, cited first

in 20 member states, followed by climate

change (70%), and the issue of economy and

growth (63%).

Editor’s Note:

The Flash Eurobarometer was conducted by

Kantar Public for the European Parliament

with 26,071 telephone interviews in the

EU-27 countries among citizens aged 15

or more. The fieldwork was conducted

between 26 November and 3 December

2018. A graphical presentation of the first

results presented in this press release can be

found here. Full data tables and countryspecific

factsheets will be published later

this week.

Jaume Duch Guillot is the EP Spokesperson

and Director General for Communication

Neil Corlett is the Head of the Press Unit EP


Credits: EP Press Office/Valletta & Brussels


Castello Dei Baroni





Email: info@delicia-malta.com I Mobile: 99429678 / 99747714

Malta Business Review


Why Good Journalism Matters

By Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton

I have been involved in politics and policymaking

for over 50 years, and as you

can imagine I hold strong feelings about

reporters and the media. They’re not what

you might think, however.

Far from considering journalists to be

irritating pains in the neck — though I have

known a few who qualified — I believe them

to be indispensable to our democracy. Our

system rests on citizens’ ability to make

discriminating judgments about policies and

politicians. Without the news, information

and analysis that the media provides, this

would be impossible.

We depend on journalists and the outlets

they work for to be our surrogates in

holding government accountable; they can

serve as a formidable institutional check on

the government’s abuse of power. So I am

uneasy about some of the directions I see

journalism taking these days. I admire the

role that the press has played throughout

our history, and fervently hope that it can

right itself to play such a role again.

Let me note at the outset that I can find

exceptions to everything I am about to say.

There are journalists doing reporting that

is clear-eyed, fearless, and grounded in

an honest evaluation of the facts — I am

thinking, for instance, of some of the work

in recent years on the NSA — and this work

has moved the national debate forward.

But far too often, journalism falls short.

Reporters often seem to take what

politicians and their handlers say at face

value, writing what they hear without

ensuring that the facts bear it out. They look

for winners and losers at the expense of

nuance. They strive to give the appearance

of even-handedness by creating a false

balance between two sides that do not

deserve equal weight. They elevate politics,

polls and personality over substance and

measured analysis.

Too often, on Fox or MSNBC or any of a

plethora of broadcast, print and online

outlets, they slant the news. They engage

in pack journalism, reminding me of

blackbirds on a telephone line — one

comes and others follow. And they delight

in spotlighting the screw-up, the mistake,

or the gaffe, which might be entertaining to

readers but sheds no light on the underlying

issues that could make government better if


I also worry about the increasingly

sophisticated efforts by the government

and powerful interests to tell us only what

they want us to know. Reporters want to

be part of the media elite, and the White

House in particular — under presidents of

both parties — has become quite skillful at

manipulating them. Reporters have to keep

policy makers at arms length, and not be

intimidated by them.

I believe that much contemporary

journalism has come untethered from a set

of traditional values that served the country

well over many years:

• Journalism needs to be in the service of

justice, asking questions, telling stories, and

inspiring those in power and those who vote

for them to do the right thing.

• It should be a check on power, ferreting

out the stories that those who hold public

office don’t want revealed, and reporting

the truths that we, as Americans, have the

right to hear.

• It must hold tight to accuracy, intellectual

honesty, rigorous reporting, and fairness —

values that ought never to go out of style.

• And journalists have a profound

responsibility to serve as lie detectors.

A couple of years ago, the notable

investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

gave a speech in London in which he

said of the U.S. government in particular,

“The Republic’s in trouble. We lie about

everything. Lying has become the staple.”

You don’t have to go to that extreme to

agree that journalists have to be curious and

skeptical, and not buy into the conventional

wisdom of the establishment.

A robust, inquisitive congressional oversight

process should be capable of revealing what

is too often hidden, but it’s not. We need

journalists to do it.

In the end, my concern is that skeptical

reporting and deeply informed investigative

journalism are fading. We need more of

them, not less. I want to see journalists

digging deep into the activities of

government, politics, business, finance,

education, welfare, culture, and sports.

Our Republic depends on it.

Photo: pranavbhatt in Flickr (CC License)

Editor’s Note:

Embattled by criminals, corrupt politicians,

and lawsuit-wielding oligarchs, it’s easy

to think that investigative journalists have

few friends in this world. But the truth is

that we have wide support from those

who believe in truth and accountability.

Here’s one of those important voices —

former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton,

a veteran of 34 years in the House of

Representatives. Hamilton served as chair

of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

and the Permanent Select Committee

on Intelligence. With a lifetime of public

service, he is worth listening to on

why watchdog journalism is integral to

democracy and justice, and why we need to

dig even deeper and push harder. MBR

Creditline: Tweet; Taylor & Francis


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Malta Business Review


Evaluating corruption:

something rotten around the world

By Andre’ Camilleri

The universality of corruption hurts everyone whose life depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority. Corruption increases

poverty and inequality, prevents a free market and exploits marginalized groups. It increases the cost of doing business, leads to the

inefficient use of resources, excludes people from public services, perpetuating their social degradation, undermines the rule of law and

its is a major threat to human rights. This is why we need to combat corruption. DR ENRICO TEZZA is the co-author of a new book entitled

Evaluating Corruption: Something Rotten Around the World. Andre Camilleri met Dott Tezza when he participated in a conference on

professional ethics and how to safeguard the services to the consumer, which was organised by The Malta Federation of Professional


MBR: What made you want to write on


ET: I have been studying evaluation of public

policy for 20 years within different public

authorities such as the Veneto Region or the

Italian Ministry of Labour. The focus of my

evaluation effort has been the logical link

between Output and Result, which leads to

the impact and related change in population

in needs. Even during my career at the

International Labour Organisation Turin

Centre, I developed an evaluation model

addressing to the effectiveness dimension of

programmes and projects.

In 2017, during the Green Economics

Conference in Oxford organised by the

Green Economics Institute, I was involved

in a discussion on corruption and I realised

how underestimated the evaluation

issue in dealing with corruption is. This

awareness leads to a study on a tentative

evaluation framework, subsequently

described in Evaluating Corruption, edited

in collaboration with the Green Economics


MBR: Do you think that we can overcome

poverty by fighting corruption?

ET: Literature highlights that corruption

exacerbates conditions of poverty such as

low income, poor health and education

status, vulnerability to shocks and other


It is acknowledged that corruption increases

poverty and inequalities, prevents a free

market and exploits marginal groups.

Countries experiencing chronic poverty

are seen as natural breeding grounds for

systemic corruption due to social and

income inequalities and perverse economic

incentives. The casual relationship between

corruption and poverty has been proven

by several studies. Hence, corruption is

the main obstacle to fight poverty, since

corruption feeds itself from antipoverty

funds. Peter Eigen and Michael Wiehen,

former World Bank officials, founded

Transparency International, whose pressure

urged the international organisation to

recognise that corruption was the key

problem in poor countries. As a result,

considering the correlation between the

increase of poverty rate and the increase

of corruption in poor countries, the fight

against corruption has been ineffective.

However, fighting corruption remains the

priority for a development strategy. Needless

to say, anticorruption policies should be

accompanied by an ethical perspective able

to overcome private interests and public

office bias.

MBR: Which institutions do people

perceive as most corrupt?

ET: Alina Mungiu-Pippidi studied the

perception on Governmental institutions

and showed that all Members States have

regressed in controlling corruption since

Dr Enrico Tezza



Malta Business Review

"State capture

is a situation

where powerful



companies or

groups within or

outside a country

use corruption to

influence a nation's

policies to benefit

their own private


they joined EU. She defines control of

corruption as the capacity of governments

to constrain corrupt behaviour in order to

enforce individual integrity in public service

and uphold a state free from the capture of

particular interests.

According to the "state capture" hypothesis,

public institutions at large are perceived as

most corrupt. State capture is a situation

where powerful individuals, institutions,

companies or groups within or outside

a country use corruption to influence

a nation's policies to benefit their own

private interests. It is worth recalling the

parliamentary speech of Italian Prime

Minister Bettino Craxi since it provide

evidence of what is called "systematic

corruption": "What needs to say and which

in any case everyone knows, is that the

greater part of political funding is irregular

or illegal. If the greater part of this is to be

considered criminal pure and simple, then

the greater part of the political system is

a criminal system". The United Nations'

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, pointed out

that gauging perception is like measuring

smoke rather than seeing the fire.

The Oil-for-food scandal is a further example

confirming the involvement of public

institution even at international level. In

addition, Deutsche Bank scandal on money

laundering shows that financial institutions

are not immune from corruption.

MBR: Do you think that technology and

artificial intelligence can find out which

politicians are corrupt?

ET: The new generation of anti-corruption

policies are based on digital technologies

and big data.

In particular, Blockchain is the most potent

tool against corruption by providing

transparency through a decentralised system

that records the sequence of transactions.

It allows the full traceability of every

transaction. According to Carlos Santiso,

Blockchain is particularly suited to fight

corruption in the registry of assets and the

tracking of transactions such as procurement

processes. By leveraging a shared and

distributed database of ledgers, it eliminates

the need for intermediaries, cutting red-tape

and reducing discretionality.

In 2015, Mark Walport, chief scientific

adviser to the UK Government, presented a

report on "Distributed Ledger Technology:

beyond block chain" which highlights the

application of block chain technology in

government policy toward transparency

and integrity. In the same line, an official

of the Veneto Region, Marcello Zanovello,

is studying the applicability of Blockchain

against the misuse of public office.

In conclusion, academic world and

practitioners confirm that mainstreaming

this technology will improve anti-corruption


MBR: Malta is the 46th least corrupt nation

out of 175 countries, according to the 2017

Corruption Perceptions Index reported by

Transparency International. What are your


ET: European Northern Countries are

perceived free from corruption when dealing

with bribery, but when conflict of interest

is considered, they result the most corrupt

countries. Despite its prominence, the

Corruption Perception Index has become

increasingly controversial in recent years.

Definition problems, perception bias, false

accuracy, a flawed statistical model are

prevalent weak factors. The mismatch

between perception and experience

undermines the credibility of survey on

corruption based on perception. However,

when the Maltese media highlights that

corruption is the country's biggest challenge,

one can conclude that corruption is "real"

even in Malta. At the same time, the

initiative of the Malta Federation of Liberal

Profession on Professional ethics confirms

the presence of economic actors moving

toward a corruption free culture. MBR

This was first published in The Malta


Dr Enrico Tezza co-author of a new book entitled Evaluating Corruption: Something Rotten Around the World

André Camilleri, Production Manager, TMI

Credits: The Malta Independent



Malta Business Review


Laureato Perpetual Calendar GP

exuding a strong, architectural presence.

Its blue dial adorned with a Clous de Paris

hobnail pattern, against which the white

indications stand out in striking contrast,

sets the final touch to this resolutely

modern timepiece.

its octagonal polished bezel inscribed in a

circle: everything about this model reveals

a quest for pleasing proportions and


This approach to watch design has given

rise to an intense ‘envelope’ with its own

unique style, which both protects and

contains functional components. This

vision is identical to that of an architect.

Here, the challenge is concentrated within

the few cubic centimetres of the Laureato

Perpetual Calendar, which one observes

and experiences close up, directly on

the skin. The stakes are all the higher

given the numerous indications involved

in a perpetual calendar, which raises

the question of their readability, their

adjustment as well as their ability to fit into

the daily life of the watch wearer. MBR

The Laureato collection, which remains as

successful as ever, reinterprets the great

watchmaking classics while remaining

faithful to its contemporary spirit and sporty

chic. To tackle the masterful complication

represented by the perpetual calendar,

Girard-Perregaux has designed a Laureato

that is all about subtle positional shifts

arranged in a dynamic equilibrium. Driven

by a purpose-built automatic movement,

and unique in its kind, the Laureato

Perpetual Calendar combines intensity of

style with the pleasure of daily wear. Simple

to read and easy to adjust, it is the result of

an ergonomic approach to operation and

wearability pushed to its uttermost limits.

Carved from a 42 mm diameter steel block,

alternately polished and satin-finished with

the characteristic care demonstrated by the

Manufacture Girard-Perregaux, it is attached

to the wrist with a bracelet of the same

nature, finish and quality. Thus appearing

in this unique, all-steel and asymmetrical

configuration, the Laureato Perpetual

Calendar asserts its status as a watch

Nobly born

Laureato was born under the finest

auspices. Designed by a Milanese architect

in the 1970s, it immediately established

itself as an object of art, history and form, a

watchmaking icon. The spirit of this creation

is intact and continues to progress in the

latest generation of Laureato, launched

in 2016 and further enriched in 2018. Its

metallic bracelet with alternating polished

and satin-finish surfaces; its case featuring

lugs seamlessly integrated into its design;

Courtesy: Edwards Lowell Co. Ltd.


Malta Business Review


Leading with innovation

By George Carol

Founded in 2006, Saviour Camilleri Interior Design & architecture Ltd. & Camilleri Burlo- architects & designers is an Architecture

and Interior Design firm. Saviour Camilleri, Managing Director and Kurt Camiller Burlo’, Architect and Civil Engineer, have

designed many commercial and residential projects in Malta. MBR talks to them about their firm and some of their projects.

mechanical and electrical and structural

engineering. We also take care of design

and build for our clients. We cover all types

of projects ranging from hospitality, retail,

commercial, residential, and entertainment,

both in Malta and overseas. We have over

45 years of experience in the field and we

have been commissioned with about 1600

projects to date.

MBR: Have there been any recent

achievements you would like mention?

Saviour Camilleri and Kurt Camilleri Burlo' receiving their award from Dr Adrian Trevisan, CEO, Umana Medical

MBR: Why did you decide to pursue a

career in Interior design? What inspired


SC: It was a natural progression really. It

started when I discovered my artistic talent

at a very young age and studied at the

school of fine arts for seven years. My strong

artistic capabilities just led me from one

creative job to another such as carpentry,

graphic design, film set design and others.

The vast artistic experience gained backed

up by a good knowledge of the trades, were

a strong foundation to become a successful

interior designer.

MBR: How did you decide to establish your

own firm? Could you tell us about Saviour

Camilleri Interior Design Ltd.& Camilleri

Burlo’ Architects?

SC: My first interior design job consisted

of designing a shop for a friend in 1978.

The word just spread around the business

community and I just moved on from one

job to another until I was entrusted to design

the Holiday Inn in the mid 80’s. That is when

I decided to set up my own practice Saviour

Camilleri Interior Design & Architecture

Ltd. From then on I was entrusted to design

numerous other international hotels such

as the Maritim Hotel, Golden Tulip Vivaldi,

Intercontinental Hotel as well as many

commercial and residential projects like Go

Mobile, Vodafone, Tony & Guy, Nicholson’s

Supermarkets, Falzon Group Offices etc.

While I managed the business, my son,

Architect Kurt Camilleri Burlo’ followed

my steps and graduated with a First Class

Degree in Architecture & Civil Engineering

from the University of Malta. He founded

the architectural studio ‘Camilleri Burlo –

architects’ merging my experience and my

portfolio with his fresh and innovative ideas

and resources.

MBR: How could you define your design


KCB: Architecture is a profession that

combines great amounts of passion and

knowledge, fused with technology and

arts. The Company’s philosophy is of ‘Total

Design’, whereby nothing is left to chance;

a good understanding of the client’s taste,

"The Company’s

philosophy is of

‘Total Design’,

whereby nothing is

left to chance.

creative designs, importance to the

smallest of details, personal involvement,

we create a completely unique project

which ultimately satisfies the clients brief

and budget. We go into a lot of detail

on paper to avoid problems during the

implementation phase.

MBR: What type of projects does

‘Saviour Camilleri Interior Design &

architecture Ltd’ and ‘Camilleri Burlo’

Architects’ specialize in? What type of

services do you offer to your clients?

KCB: Our company offers a one-stop

shop, according to the projects’ need

for completion, successfully providing

the client with services in the field of

architecture, interior design, surveying,

SC: The most recent achievement is

receiving two great awards at the Malta’s

Best in Business Awards gala evening

last November, Best Creative Award,

and also a Best Architecture and Interior

Design Company. It’s of great satisfaction

to be recognized. Other very important

achievements to mention are: The design for

the MITA data centre which was nominated

among the World’s 15 most beautiful data

centres in 2017, The Malta stand for the

Shanghai Expo 2010, Din L-art Helwa Award

for The restoration of the customs house in


MBR: What is coming up next for you?

SC: We are proud to be commissioned to

design the headquarters of a renowned

telephony company, after already

completing the rebrand of their retail

outlets, an international supermarket, a

factory, a 3-star hotel and various residential

and commercial projects. MBR

Editor’s Note

Saviour Camilleri Interior Design & architecture

Ltd. & Camilleri Burlo- architects & designers

Saviour Camilleri has been at the leading edge

in the field of interior design & architecture for

the past 40 years and has been commissioned

with about 1600 projects to date, satisfying

clients’ requirements at lead timeframes. His son,

architect Kurt Camilleri Burlo’ added innovation to

the company when he introduced Camilleri Burlo’

architects & Designers, all under the same roof,

and this merger, over the past years has given

birth to a one-stop shop, successfully providing

the client with years of experience in design and

innovative cutting edge architectural, structural

engineering & interior design. The buildings

we produce go beyond the basic, incorporating

extensive detail and functional aspects at the very

early stages of design. The company’s philosophy

is of ‘Total Design’ whereby nothing is left to


All rights reserved - Copyright 2019



Malta Business Review

Putting EU law into practice: The European

Commission’s oversight responsibilities under

Article 17(1) of the Treaty on European Union

By Leo Brincat


The success of many European Union

policies depends on Member States putting

EU law into practice in their jurisdiction. The

European Commission has an obligation

under Article 17(1) of the Treaty on

European Union to oversee that Member

States apply EU law. This role of “guardian

of the Treaties” is essential for ensuring the

EU’s overall performance and accountability.

The Commission’s oversight activities focus

on managing the risk of potential breaches

of EU law by Member States that may lead

to formal infringement proceedings under

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning

of the European Union (TFEU).


As the EU audit institution, our audits check

whether Member States comply with EU law

for the most part only where compliance

with EU law is a condition for Member States

receiving payments from the EU budget.

We may also examine how the Commission

performs and accounts for its oversight

activities. In response to a request of the

European Parliament, we decided to conduct

a landscape review covering:

• the main features of the EU’s legal

landscape that make overseeing

Member States’ application of EU law


• the Commission’s objectives, priorities

and resources related to its oversight


• the main processes the Commission

uses to prevent, detect and correct

Member States’ potential infringements

of EU law;

• the Commission’s arrangements

for ensuring transparency about its

oversight activities and their results;


• the contribution of public audit at

national and EU level with respect to

ensuring the application and oversight

of EU law in Member States.

Putting EU law into practice

Putting EU law into practice is essential for

delivering results for citizens and protecting

their rights and freedoms. Member States

must fulfil their obligations under EU law,

including incorporating relevant EU legal

acts into national law (“implementation”)

as well as applying them in their jurisdiction

(“application”)1. EU legal instruments are

a key means by which the EU achieves its

objectives and the rule of law is a key value

of the EU2 that all Member States and EU

institutions must uphold.

EU laws apply directly or indirectly

depending on the type of law. The Treaties,

regulations and decisions become binding

automatically throughout the EU on the date

they enter into force, while Member States

must incorporate EU directives into their

national legislation by a fixed date before

they are applied. In effect, Member States

enjoy considerable discretion over how they

implement and apply EU law. The European

Commission (Commission) is responsible

for overseeing the implementation and

application of EU law by Member States

(“compliance”), in accordance with Article

17(1) of the Treaty on European Union



The Commission aims to prevent, detect and

correct Member States’ non-compliance

with EU law. It does so by monitoring

Member States’ application of EU law

and taking action to promote and enforce

compliance (“oversight activities”). The

Commission’s oversight activities focus

specifically on identifying and acting on

cases of non-compliance that may lead to

enforcement through the infringement

procedure under Articles 258 and 260 of the

Treaty on the Functioning of the European

Union (TFEU) (“potential infringements”).

A landscape review is not an audit. It

presents descriptions and analyses based

on publicly available information. This

landscape review also includes information

that participants in the study agreed to

make publicly available for the purpose of

the review. Our review involved analysis

of data provided by the Commission on its

oversight activities, a survey of the DGs, a

survey of the Member States, interviews

with key institutional stakeholders, and an

examination of relevant audit reports of the

ECA and Member States’ SAIs

Landscape review team

This landscape review was produced by

Audit Chamber V – headed by ECA Member

Lazaros S. Lazarou - which has a focus in the

areas of financing and administering the


The review was led by ECA Member Leo

Brincat, supported by Neil Kerr, Head of

Private Office and Annette Farrugia, Private

Office Attaché; Alberto Gasperoni, Principal

Manager; James McQuade, Head of Task;

Michael Spang, Attila Horvay-Kovacs and

Jitka Benesova, Auditors. MBR

From left to right: Annette Farrugia, Alberto Gasperoni, Leo Brincat, Neil Kerr, Jitka Benesova,

James McQuade, Attila Horvay-Kovacs.



Malta Business Review



By Martin Vella


MBR talks with Darren Zarb, Managing Director of Dacoby Chauffeur Service, who

dreamt of creating a company that stands out from the rest. Not because it’s loud and

intrusive, but for the pleasant and hassle-free experience given to customer.

Darren Zarb

MBR: In a competitive industry, how do

you maintain an edge over other luxury

chauffeur drive services so you can fill

seats while maintaining costs?

DZ: The chauffeur industry has been growing

and developing in the last few years and

today, even more than ever before, it is

very difficult to compete with competitors

on a price basis. Moreover, our exclusive

chauffeur service goes far beyond the

normal cab services but is an experience

in itself. We perceive our costs as an

investment in our company - in fact our aim

is not to drive costs down as most often

than not it will have a negative impact on

the quality delivered to our clients, but to

have a return on the investments we make.

If you wish to offer the best service, you

need to source the best tools to do so - we

continuously challenge ourselves to find the

best technology in the industry in order to

maximise the usage of our vehicles and offer

the best just-in-time chauffeur service. By

doing so, we have created our own unique

competitive edge within the industry, which

up until today have proved us to be an

excellent recipe for success.

MBR: Why is it so important for you to

have the ‘wow factor’ in premium luxury

driven vehicles?

DZ: It is very simple. Why do you choose

to buy a branded item over the next one?

Our business is focused on providing an

experience to clients who know what is the

best, very often they have an impeccable

eye for detail, so as explained before, you

want to give your clients what they need,

want and if possible even exceed their

expectations. Sometimes a “Wow Factor” is

not the car itself but the little details, which

we have realised over the years make a huge

difference such as; the bottle of premium

water, the opening of the door with a smile

on the chauffeur’s face, and many other

things which have become a habit in our

daily routines. We manage to achieve the

wow factor, as you have put it, by offering

a tailored service to each and every client

hence, rather than catering for each client in

the same way, we strive to get to know our

clients and give them what they need and

want before they even ask or point it out.

That’s what makes Dacoby at the top of the

chauffeur drive business in Malta, and what

make us unique from other chauffeur driven


"we strive to get to know

our clients and give

them what they need

and want before they

even ask or point it out.

MBR: Is it possible you might focus on

offering discounted business class seats


DZ: Rather than discounted business class

seats, we focus our energy on creating

relationships with our clients. For example,

all our clients get free upgrades, especially

our corporate clients who we work with on a

daily basis. Instead of discounting, we always

strive to enhance the experience of our

clients. Sometimes someone might book and

E-Class but we go with our S-Class instead

at no extra cost, just because it is simply

available. Till now no one ever complained!

MBR: Dacoby Chauffeur Services won the

Malta’s Best in Business Best Customer

Focus Award 2019, with the judges writing

Dacoby as ’Best Ground Transportation

Provider’. How did it feel when you found

out you won, and what did it mean to your


DZ: The feeling was surreal, there are times

in your life when you just stop to look back

at how far you have come, and that was one

of those moments. After ten years in the

business my team and I have never thought

that we would have come so far and grew

at the rate that we did, so it meant a lot for

us. It gave us the extra motivation that we

sometimes need to keep going. Honestly, it’s

a big achievement not only for me but for

the entire team to have been awarded such

an achievement.

MBR: What are you seeing as your biggest

challenge in the next 12 months?

DZ: As in every other business, the biggest

challenge is to keep improving on the

standard and service you have already

achieved. Year after year we have always

strived to keep on improving from the

previous one, and to cautiously make the

right step at the right time. This industry

is very competitive and if you sprint rather

than briskly walk you can find yourself in the

deep end of the water without realising.

At this point in time our main focus is to

maintain consistency in providing the due

attention to detail to all our clients just

like when our fleet was made up of only

two cars. The more you grow, the easier

it is to lose track of consistent quality and

maintaining a high standard expected by

clients, so I think that, that is what we need

to keep working hard for throughout this

year. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2019

Dacoby Chauffeur Service










+356 2738 3631/2

Level 1, Casal Naxaro, Labour Avenue, Naxxar Malta



Malta Business Review


Constant Reinvention

By George Carol

Kurt Camillieri, Managing Director, O & S Shipping,

shares his vision with MBR, explaining the importance to

continue doing what we his Company knows and does

best- transport, logistics and agency services, and being

capable to come up with new innovative product or

services to meet new market demands.

MBR: How would you describe O&S

Shipping Ltd.’s vision and mission? Can you

talk about the services provided by the


KC: We are a relatively young organisation

with our objectives and priorities right.

In a very short time, the company has

establishing itself as a local leader in yacht

transport and as a logistics and maritime

agency service provider in Malta. No matter

if a client requires customs clearance,

insurance, sea assistance or innovative

marine products, our objective is to be their

supplier of choice each and every time.

We are committed to deliver solutions

based on industry knowledge, experience,

including a real understanding the needs and

wants of our customers and principals, as

well as providing an informal yet professional

working environment that encourages and

rewards creativity, insight team work and


MBR: Give us a few examples of cargoes

that you have handled either with your

base being in Malta or via Malta to other


KC: We have handled over 51 yachts in 2018,

but most notable were the Super Servant

4 work in January and Eemslift Hendrika

operation in May 2018. The Super Servant 4

is no stranger to our seas, having last called

Malta in 2016 to float out a Sunseeker 116.

This time it was tasked with transporting an

MCY 96 Flybridge Cruiser from Valletta to

the Caribbean. In order to accomplish this,

the Esmeralda of the Seas first had to be

floated in the vessel to reach its ultimate

"our objective is to

be their supplier

of choice each and

every time.

destination. O&S Shipping were once again

asked to handle this very delicate task. We

began by unlashing other yachts which were

present on the deck of the Super Servant

4 to prevent yachts from getting damaged

once the vessel is submerged. This process

was followed by the submerging of the

deck and the stowing of the Esmeralda. A

group of 12 Commercial divers followed

the yacht and tied it securely in place,

before the Super Servant 4 could emerge

from water and come dry once again. A

group of 18 riggers took over 12 hours to

position additional sea fastening stands and

lashings to secure the yachts on safely on

deck to reach their final destinations in the


The other job concerned the delivery of a 35

meter, 150 ton princess motor yacht to our

shores. Two of our principals joined forces

and made this ambitious transport load

happen. A 35-meter yacht weighing 150 tons

was loaded from water in Southampton,

UK, and discharged in Malta by the small

and mighty Eemslift Hendrika. This ship

has an overall length of 110 metres and a

lifting capacity of two 150-ton deck cranes.

It utilises a complex ballasting system to

act as a counterweight during loading and

discharging. The counterweight system

works simultaneously with the ship's

ballasting system. A professional loadmaster

from Peters and May, with some of the best

crew of Starclass yacht transport including

ship’s master and chief were onboard with

us to perform a textbook discharge. This

delicate and complex task took 12 hours to


MBR: What distinguishes O&S Shipping

from other freight forwarding and logistics

company in Malta?

I believe that we have a young but yet

talented team with the right attitude and

determination to make things happen.

We take it personally and we attend each

and every job we have. irrelevant whether

it’s during day, night, weekends or public

holiday we are always out there for our

customers. We can also guarantee the

same level of service and treatment to

each and every customer as we operate

under a strict code of conduct and quality

management procedures. In fact, in our

yearly independent survey performed by

Step Enterprises 87% of our customers

where satisfied with our services whilst 94.7

% gave us excellent result when it came to

customer experience. MBR

Kurt Camillieri, Managing Director, O & S Shipping receiving award

All rights reserved - Copyright 2019



Malta Business Review

Experience & Innovation By George Carol

Interview with Antoine Bonello, Managing Director of The Resin & Membrance Centre,

Malta's premier waterproofing center

MBR: What are the challenges faced

when offering a complete waterproofing

materials and solution in Malta?

AB: Waterproofing is of utmost importance

on our island, over 80% of the building

problems are related in one way or another

to water. Our Mediterranean climate is very

harsh and subjects buildings to constant

movements due to the sudden temperature

changes. We always examine carefully

each an every building prior to any type

of waterproofing solution and this also

includes its location and the elements it is

subjected to. We put all the possibilities

into our equations. This to ensure that

the proposed waterproofing system is

tailor made according to the needs to the

building in question and to the benefit of our

customers. We constantly dedicate a good

share of our time in an ongoing research and

combine our experience with innovation.

This had made us leaders in our field of

works and gave us the ability to adapt

to the constant changes and challenges

of the building Industry. We have been

commissioned to waterproof what seemed

to be the impossible and where many others

have failed before. We have been able to

waterproof important historic places and

church domes, successfully protecting

important paintings valued at millions of

Euros. This included paintings by Guseppi

Cali and Mattia Preti. Our determination

to excel and the pride we put in our works

has helped us to identify all the problems

related to waterproofing and now we can

easily overcome all challenges thanks to

our professionalism and our NAICI range of

professional Waterproofing materials.

MBR: How do you view the market for

resin membrane flooring and has there

been any evaluation in production with

rise in costs of input?

AB: In today's world were the aesthetic

factor is evermore playing an important

role in our life, the concept of beauty has

become the normality, therefore the need

to impress and the benefits of a product

must be at pair with each other. Gone are

the days when something ugly is kept or

applied, even if it is useful or playing an

important part in protecting our house from

the elements. Resin membranes are subject

to constant developments, some of which

came to life due to the need to replace old

materials which nowadays are considered

bad for health and the environment, like

lead and asbestos. The need to replace

these materials gave way to an infinite other

materials to be studied and developed more.

Resin and other materials like Polyurea and

Polyurethane, which we at the Resin and

Membrane Centre immediately identified

their astonishing waterproofing properties

and their ability to solve all the unthinkable

problems, have made them a reality here

in Malta. Quality has never been cheap

and needless to say that there are costs

involved to develop a product, but thanks

to our policy not to wholesale our products

to third parties, we have reduced the costs

by far and this goes directly to the benefit

of our customers. Our products can only

be found at our exclusive showroom in

Psaila Str - St Venera, where one can also

get a professional advise and the best

waterproofing material for his needs.

MBR: The infrastructure construction

segment, particularly waterproofing, has

been witnessing an entry of a number of

domestic and foreign individual players,

resulting in severe and perhaps unfair

competition. Please comment.

AB: In the recent years we have experienced

quite a flow of migration, with many of

them employed in the construction Industry.

Emigration is a reality whether we like it or

not. Many of these foreigners think they

can do as they please regardless of the law,

resulting in unfair trading and low quality

works. We as a company have been called

many times to make good for badly carried

out works. Their prices are so low that we

think many of these people do not issue a

VAT receipt or pay taxes. Unfortunately many

people fall for the low price trap, resulting

many times in unfair competition and

badly carried out works. We as a company

offer a minimum of ten years guarantee

on all our products and works, and we are

also affiliated with the Malta Professional

Waterproofing and Resin Flooring

Association, this to ensure all our customers

of that each and every job is carried out at

its best, plus guaranteed after sales service.

We are always praised by our customers for

the high quality work we do. Quality and

expertise is our secret.

MBR: There will be a huge EXPO being

launched in Gozo end May. Why is it

significant to participate and how has your

recent award in Malta’s Best-in-Business

Awards contributing to your presence in

such a major trade fair?

AB: Progress is nothing if it cant be shared.

New technologies, ideas and application

methods are only successful as long as the

general public is informed about them. The

EXPO is where both ends meet and business

is created. We at the Resin and Membrane

Centre firmly believe in these types of

events, they give us the right exposure

and the opportunity to give professional

advice to all visitors on how to protect at

best their homes. It is the place where ideas

and innovations are discussed and brought

to life for the benefit of the customer. Our

ability in giving the right advice combined

with pristine execution works made us the

best on the islands. Now this opportunity

will also be a reality for those living in Gozo,

who will be able to visit our stand at the

EXPO and meet us without the need of

doing the journey to Malta. This hard work

and dedication elevated us from the rest and

made us winners for the third time in a row

as best waterproofing company and product

service and customer care at the Malta's

Best in Business Awards. No matter how big

or small the job is or if you wish to do-ityourself

or applied by us at our showroom

you will always find dedication and the right

advice to succeed in protecting your home

at its best. We are not just roofers we are

the Resin and Membrane Centre. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2019

Antoine Bonello, Managing Director of The Resin & Membrance Centre



Malta Business Review


A business Imperative

By George Carol

Oceanus Marine never believed rapid growth. Having restructured the company toward of 2018, Elio Desira, Managing

Director, tells us that the Company is not planning to increase the number of employees in 2019, nevertheless this may

change according to the demand, and having engaged two trainee surveyors, who hopefully will graduate by the end of

2019, keeping the company ready for any future eventuality and increase in demand.

MBR: Please talk to us about your role and

responsibilities as MD for Oceanus Marine?

ED: I direct and control the work and

resources of the company and ensure the

recruitment and retention of the required

numbers of well-motivated, certified, and

trained staff to ensure that it achieves

its mission and objectives. I also conduct

corporate and annual business planning,

monitor progress against the plans to ensure

that the company attains its objectives as

cost-effectively and efficiently as possible.

Besides providing guidance to the surveyors,

to keep them aware of developments

within the industry and ensure that the

appropriate policies are developed to meet

the company’s mission and objectives, I

must ensure these comply with all relevant

statutory and other regulations. Today, I also

establish and maintain effective formal and

informal links with major customers, and

agencies, and to ensure that the company is

providing the appropriate range and quality

of services, monitor the implementation

of the annual budget to ensure that

budget targets are met, that revenue flows

are maximised and that fixed costs are

minimised. Finally, I maintain an effective

marketing and public relations strategy to

promote services and image of the company

in the wider community, overseeing survey

reports and certificates randomly, and direct

attendance and reporting of marine claims.

Oceanus Marine is a Member Of

MBR: What are the key objectives of

Oceanus Marine for 2019?

ED: Our main focus in these past years was

mainly the pleasure and commercial yachts

and superyachts.

Our main focus in 2019 will be the shipping

sector – the main objective is to increase

the number of surveys on vessels by at

least 25%. This does not mean that we

shall reduce the surveys and services to the

yachting sector, not at all, throughout the

past years we have trained surveyors and

thus today we have dedicated surveyors for

the yachting sector. Our plans are also to

continue increasing the amount of surveys

in this sector as well. Oceanus Marine has

in 2018 restructured and implemented

new company policies. New qualified and

experienced surveyors have been engaged

for both the yachting and shipping sector.

MBR: What role does digitisation have in

marine and yacht surveys?

ED: Oceanus Marine Ltd is leading surveying

company. The digital future innovation and

applying advanced inspection technologies is

one of the new challenges for 2019. The aim

is to cut down the paperwork and the huge

amount of filing which is actually creating a

storage problem. The company is investing

in tablets for each surveyor enabling

them to conduct the surveyors digitally

immediately on site, without having to use

any hard copies. This technology can deliver

significant enhancements in the efficacy

of surveys while being less intrusive to the

asset, decreasing asset operational down

time and operational expenses.

MBR: What are the main actions the

maritime sector should implement

to improve in the boats and yachting


ED: Pleasure yachts: We have seen a

substantial increase in pleasure yachts in

these last years, locally. Although we have

surveyed several pleasure yachts which were

found to be maintained as per builder’s

requirements and recommendations, a large

number of pleasure yachts were not found

to be in conformity.

However more than the above, the issue of

having a black water tank and a sludge tank

should now be a must. Pumping out sewage

and contaminated bilge water is illegal, and

installation of retention tanks should be

encouraged for all boats and yachts which

are over 6 meters LOA and are fitted with a

marine toilet and with inboard engines.

Garbage retention and waste disposing is

another serious matter. Environment, our

beautiful seas, and bays should be well taken

care of immediately before it is too late. MBR

Credit: George Carol

Oceanus Marine are Appointed Surveyors / Inspectors for:


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Malta Business Review


You Are Not a Robotic Machine, and Here’s Why

By Deepak Chopra, MD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD, and P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS

Deepak Chopra MD (official) Influencer

There's a disturbing trend in science to try

and prove that human beings are machines,

and where this was once a metaphor, it is

being taken more and more literally. We are

told that a brain hormone is responsible

for falling in love or a mother's affection for

her newborn baby. Brain areas that light up

on an fMRI scan supposedly indicate that

a person is depressed or prone to criminal

behavior and much else. Besides being brain

puppets, we are supposed to believe that

our genes program us in powerful ways, to

the point that "bad" genes doom a person

to a host of problems from schizophrenia to


There needs to be a clear rebuff of this

notion that human beings are mechanisms,

and the fact that science has a wealth of

findings about both genes and the brain

doesn't make the notion any more valid. The

general public isn't aware, for example, that

only 5% of disease-related genetic mutations

are fully penetrant, which means that having

the mutation will definitely cause a given

problem. The other 95% of genes raise risk

factors and in complex ways interact with

other genes.

The public is still stuck on a misconception

that a single gene like "the gay gene" or

"the selfishness gene" exists and creates an

irresistible tendency. This misconception

was obliterated in genetics when the human

genome was mapped. The current picture

of DNA is almost the opposite of the public's

wrong image. DNA isn't fixed; it is fluid and

dynamic, interacting with the outside world,

a person's thoughts, and behavior, and

various mechanisms in the cell that regulate

how much activity a gene will express.

The notion that your genes run your life is

ingrained even among educated people,

so it is eye-opening to review a recent

experiment just published in the Dec. 10

issue of Nature: Human Behavior (the

abstract can be read here ). Experimenters at

the psychology department of Stanford took

two groups of subjects and tested them for

two genes, one associated with higher risk of

becoming obese, the other with higher risk

of performing badly in physical exercise.

To keep the story brief, I'll focus on the

obesity gene. The subjects ate a meal and

afterwards were asked how full they felt; in

addition, their blood was tested for levels

of leptin, the hormone associated with

feeling full after a meal. The results were

about the same for people genetically prone

to obesity as those who weren't. The next

week the same group returned and ate

the same meal, but with a difference. Half

the group was told that they had the gene

that protects someone from risk for obesity

while the other group was told they had the

higher risk version of the gene.

To the surprise of researchers there was an

immediate and dramatic effect. Simply by

being told that they had the protective gene,

subjects showed a blood level of leptin two

and a half times higher than before. The

group that was told they didn't have the

protective gene didn't change from their

earlier results. What this result indicated

is that simply being told of a genetic risk

causes people to exhibit the physiology

associated with the risk. What they believed

to be true overrode their actual genetic

predisposition, because in some cases the

people who thought they were genetically

protected, or vice versa, actually weren't.

The same dramatic results occurred in the

exercise experiment. People who were

told that they had a gene that produced

poor results from exercise displayed the

cardiovascular and respiratory signs that

such a gene is supposed to produce, even

though they didn't have the gene.

If your physiology produces genetic effects

simply by hearing that you have a certain

gene, the myth of genes controlling our lives

is seriously challenged. It’s not that genetic

programming is irrelevant (for the full

picture, refer to the book Super Genes that

Deepak co-wrote with Harvard geneticist

Rudy Tanzi), the reality is as complex as

human life itself. Genes belong to the host

of causes and influences that affect us. How

strongly they affect any given person is

impossible to predict (leaving aside the small

percentage of fully penetrant genes), and in

every area of behavior and health there is

wwide latitude for personal choice.

Given a simple either/or choice, see yourself

as a free agent capable of conscious change

rather than a robot machine run by genes

and brain cells. Life is rarely as simple as

either/or, which is true here as well. But

despite the public image fostered by popular

science articles, it's not true that a human

being is a machine run by fixed mechanical

processes beyond our control. Far closer to

the truth is the view that we are conscious

agents whose potential for creativity and

change is unlimited.

Editor’s Notes

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra

Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center

for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in

integrative medicine and personal transformation,

and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine,

Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow

of the American College of Physicians and a

member of the American Association of Clinical

Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more

than 85 books translated into over 43 languages,

including numerous New York Times bestsellers.

His latest books are The Healing Self co-authored

with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing

(Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of

Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. is the Joseph P. and Rose

F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard

University and Vice Chair of Neurology at Mass.

General Hospital. Dr. Tanzi is the co-author with

Deepak Chopra of the New York Times bestseller,

Super Brain, and an internationally acclaimed

expert on Alzheimer disease. He was included

in TIME Magazine's "TIME 100 Most Influential

People in the World"

P. Murali Doraiswamy MBBS, FRCP is a leading

physician and brain scientist at Duke University

Health System where he is a Professor of

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, as well as a

member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

Murali is also a member of the Duke Center for

the Study of Aging and Human Development

and an affiliate of the Duke Center for Applied

Genomics and Precision Medicine. He is an

advisor to leading businesses, advocacy groups

and government agencies, and serves as the

Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global

Future Council on Neurotechnology. MBR

Credit: LinkedIn


Malta Business Review




Malta Business Review


rEUnaissance – Dare a sustainable Europe

Special Feature

By Martin Vella

Taking office in April 2018, President

Luca Jahier has launched an agenda

for change based on three priorities:

sustainable development, peace and

culture. Articulating his workprogramme

on those priorities, Jahier called for a new

Renaissance, a vast and powerful humanistic

movement that would allow the EU to

bring to fruition the new transformative

revolutions of the 21st century.

The philosopher Aristotle once declared

that ‘Hope is a waking dream’. Europe

was built on hope, and it should continue

to reinvent itself on that premise. During

my term in office, I will strive to mobilise

organised civil society to take on a strong

civic engagement for our sustainable

European future. We have no time to waste:

We need to unleash the energy of this

common dream and work for a re-energised

European Union. I would not presume to

provide an exhaustive answer over the

next two and a half years, but I will work

relentlessly to forge unity, dynamism and a

new direction in the EU. I will fight against

the polarisation of our societies, against the

increasing nationalist and populist trends

and against a shrinking civic space, which

are threatening our own democratic values.

Since the 1950s, European integration has

been pursued with great success. After

centuries of discord, war and constantly

shifting frontiers displacing populations,

the European project has made it possible

to establish peace, security, prosperity and

solidarity, though much still remains to be

done. In recent years, consensus has been

reached on key joint initiatives such as the

European Pillar of Social Rights and the EU

Defence Cooperation Pact. That is not to say

that we should be complacent. There is a lot

of uncertainty on the horizon, both within

the EU and externally.

The role of the EESC in this positive

rEUnaissance Centralisation of power in

the executive, politicisation of the judiciary,

attacks on media independence and lack

of trust in the traditional political parties

are just some of the symptoms of the

current widespread crisis of democracy.

It is no exaggeration to say that European

democracy is experiencing its biggest

setback since the 1930s and that traditional

models of participation seem ill-equipped

to cope with the acceleration of change.

Traditionally regarded as the backbone

of participatory democracy, civil society

organisations are also changing and need

to look for innovative ways to improve civil

dialogue so as to ensure it is better suited

to the conditions of the 21st century.

This is essential if they wish to continue

to influence decision-making processes

in a meaningful manner, both at national

and European level. Our committee has

recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Our achievements over the past 60 years

are the foundation for the future of a strong

EESC – and thus a strong EU. We must

not rest comfortably on our laurels. We

can only be true to ourselves if we try our

very best to fulfil the duty inherited from

our founders: to be the voice of organised

civil society and to assist EU institutions in

their crucial work to create a sustainable

Europe. We will be able to fulfil our

responsibilities if we cooperate and stand

strong and united: EESC Groups, Sections

and the Administration together. We must

improve our avenues of communication

and reinforce ‘competition’ in the original

sense of the word – petere cum – to be

more focused and deliver strategic actions,

always adapting our methods and internal

instruments accordingly. Our actions must

be decisive and visionary. Let us be inspired

by the spirit of ’58, and create a new

narrative of hope. Let us drive a second

European renaissance together, in which

we once again trust that we are indeed the

protagonists of our present and future. We

have the opportunity to give a new impulse

to European civil society engagement. Let’s

do it!

our Europe, Your Say! (YEYS) is the annual

youth event of the EESC. It started in 2010

with the goal of connecting very young

people with the European Union. Every year,

16-18 year old pupils from all EU Member

States and from the candidate countries

come to Brussels for two days and work

together in order to draw up resolutions

which will then be passed to the EU

institutions. These resolutions contain their

ideas, proposals and hopes for their future

as European citizens. All secondary schools

in Europe can apply and send three pupils

to participate in YEYS: next year it could be

your school! MBR



2018 EESC Civil Society

Prize - winners announced

Rewarding excellence in civil society initiatives

Malta Business Review

About the Prize

The EESC is pleased to announce the five

winners of the 10th edition of the Civil

Society Prize, which rewards initiatives

aimed at raising awareness of the multiple

layers and richness of European identities,

exploiting the full potential of Europe's

cultural wealth, facilitating access to

European cultural heritage and promoting

European values.

An evaluation panel composed of ten

experts chose the winners among the 150

applications received from 27 Member

States. The work of the panel was very

challenging and rewarding, considering the

high level and quality of the applications.

The prize awards ceremony took place on

13 December 2018 during the EESC plenary

session and MBR Publications Editor Martin

Vella was invited to attend this ceremony.

The first prize, of a value of 14.000 EUR,

went to Tastes of Danube – Bread Connects

(Germany), a project which uses the topic

of bread as intangible cultural heritage that

unites European people in their diversity.

The other prizes, of a value of 9.000 EUR

each, went to:

Vice President Isabel Cano announcing the awards

2nd prize: SWANS initiative (Germany),

which organises career and leadership

seminars for top female university students

from immigrant families and for women of

colour, thus contributing to empowering

this group of women who are often

discriminated against.

3rd prize: Eco-Museum by the social

cooperative Aria Nuova (Italy), an initiative

which helps mental health patients from

residential units to gain new insights into

art and culture, thus asserting the universal

right to culture.

4th prize: Safe Passage (UK), which opens

up safe and legal routes for refugee children

to places where they can start a new life and

builds public support for child refugees.

5th prize: Balkans Beyond Borders short

film festival (Greece), which uses art as

an empowering force for overcoming

differences embedded in the Balkan region's


The EESC warmly congratulates the winners.

The 2018 prize will reward innovative

initiatives carried out by civil society

organisations and/or individuals on the

territory of the EU and aimed at raising

awareness of the multiple layers and

richness of European identities, exploiting

the full potential of Europe's cultural

wealth, facilitating access to European

cultural heritage and promoting European

values (respect for human dignity and

human rights, freedom, democracy,

equality and the rule of law). The aim of

the Civil Society Prize, which is awarded

annually, is to reward and encourage

tangible initiatives and achievements by

civil society organisations and/or individuals

that have made a significant contribution

to promoting European identity and

integration. Its overall objective is to raise

awareness of the contribution that civil

society organisations and/or individuals can

make to the creation of a European identity

and citizenship in a way that underpins the

common values that shore up European


The European Economic and Social

Committee (EESC) is the voice of organised

civil society in Europe.

Find out more about its role and structure at

http://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/about MBR


Winners Swans Initiative from Germany

Greek Winner Balkans Beyond Borders



Malta Business Review


Member states jeopardising the

rule of law will risk losing EU funds

By Martin Vella

Frans Timmermans

Presentation of the conclusions of the

European Commission's high-level multistakeholder

platform and debate on

Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030,

with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President

of the European Commission

• New tool to protect EU budget and

uphold EU values

• Suspension or reduction of payments

• Parliament and EU ministers may lock

or unlock funding

• Protection of final beneficiaries

like researchers or civil society


Governments interfering with courts or

going easy on fraud and corruption will

risk being stripped of EU funds, according

to a draft law endorsed in committee on


Assisted by a panel of independent experts,

the EU Commission would be tasked with

establishing “generalised deficiencies as

regards the rule of law” and decide on

measures that could include suspending EU

budget payments or reducing pre-financing.

The decision would ultimately only be

implemented once approved by Parliament

and Council. Once the member state

remedies the deficits identified by the EU

Commission, Parliament and EU ministers

could unlock the funds.

Independent experts to assist the


The European Commission may establish

that the rule of law is under threat if one or

more of the following are undermined:

• proper functioning of the authorities

of the member state implementing the

EU budget;

• proper functioning of the authorities

carrying out financial control;

• proper investigation of fraud - including

tax fraud -, corruption or other

breaches affecting the implementation

of the EU budget;

• effective judicial review by

independent courts;

• recovery of funds unduly paid;

• preventing and penalising tax evasion

and tax competition;

• cooperation with the European Anti-

Fraud Office and, if applicable, the

European Public Prosecutors Office.

To assist the Commission, a panel of

independent experts in constitutional law

and financial matters, comprising one expert

appointed by the national parliament of

each member state and five named by the

European Parliament, would annually assess

the situation in all member states and make

a public summary of its findings.

Protecting final beneficiaries

Depending on the scope of the

shortcomings and the budget management

procedure, the Commission can decide on

one or several measures, including:

• suspending commitments,

• interrupting payment deadlines,

• reducing pre-financing and

• suspending payments.

Unless stated otherwise in the decision, the

government would still have to implement

the respective programme or fund and

make payments to final beneficiaries, like

researchers or civil society organisations.

The Commission would have to assist the

beneficiaries and strive to make sure they

receive the due amounts.

Along with deciding on the measures, the

Commission would submit a proposal to the

Parliament and the Council to transfer an

amount matching the value of the proposed

measures to the budgetary reserve. The

decision would take effect after four weeks,

unless Parliament, acting by majority of

votes cast, or Council, acting by qualified

majority, amend or reject it. Once the

Commission establishes that the deficits

have been lifted, the locked amount would

be unfrozen using the same procedure.


Committee on Budgets rapporteur Eider

Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ESP) said: “The

respect of rule of law and all European

Union values are core principles upon

which we built the European project.

No government can violate those values

without suffering the consequences.”

Budgetary Control Committee rapporteur

Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FIN) said: “"Proper

implementation of sound financial

management can only be expected from

governance and judicial systems that

respect the rule of law. A government

inflicting this principle should not be

allowed to implement the EU budget – the

European taxpayers' money – as they wish.

If the judicial and governance systems of

a Member State cannot be trusted, why

should we entrust them with the common

EU budget?”

“The most important aspect of this

mechanism is protecting the final

beneficiaries – in our model, this is

strengthened as compared to the original

Commission proposal. We have also

included the European Parliament in

the decision-making procedure, thus

strengthening the democratic accountability

of any measures taken," he added.

Next Steps

The Budgetary Control Committee and the

Budgets Committee MEPs endorsed the

rules by 43 votes to 9 with 3 abstentions.

Once the full House has voted, MEPs will

be ready to enter negotiations on the final

wording of the regulation with the EU

ministers, which have not adopted their

position yet. MBR


The proposal for the regulation “On the

protection of the Union’s budget in case

of generalised deficiencies as regards the

rule of law in the Member States” is an

integral part of the EU’s long-term budget

package, the 2021-2027 Multiannual

Financial Framework. Concerns have also

been raised as regards the new media law.

The rule of law, as defined in our Rule of

Law Framework, requires the respect for

democracy and fundamental rights. Media

freedom and pluralism are also closely

connected with fundamental rights, in

particular the freedom of expression. This is

why the Commission considers it necessary

to assess this law in the light of the rule of

law. The European Union is founded on a

common set of values enshrined in Article

2 of the Treaty on European Union, which

include in particular the respect for the rule

of law. Mutual trust among EU Member

States and their respective legal systems

depends on the confidence that the rule of

law is observed in all Member States. When

national rule of law safeguards seems to

come under threat, the EU needs to act.

Credit: Janis Krastins/EP/PO



"The past is a good teacher but

not a destination for the future"

Malta Business Review

companies pay their taxes where they make

their profits. This must become a principle,

together with the creation of a tax base that

we can all agree upon - then tax havens will

disappear," the Commissioner argued.

The EU has limited competences on social

issues but huge political scope to urge the

Member States to work on the social pillar

and explain, for instance, that collective

bargaining was an essential element of the

European social model and for safeguarding

the rights of all employers and employees.

"Unfortunately, with growing inequality, too

many people are following the backwardlooking

path, but while the past is a good

teacher it cannot be the destination for the

future," he concluded, ending with a Jean

Jaurès quote "It is by flowing to the sea that

a river stays true to its source."

First EC Vice-President Frans Timmermans

speaks on the rule of law and a sustainable

Europe at the EESC's last plenary in 2018

"We need a swift change to a sustainable

Europe, and to achieve it the support of

local and regional authorities and civil

societies is crucial," said EESC president

Luca Jahier at the outset of a debate with

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on

sustainability and the rule of law during the

EESC's December plenary. "We need to dare

a new future for Europe, or as we call it a

rEUnaissance. In order to have the support

of our citizens, it is crucial that we focus on

opportunities rather than new liabilities for

our citizens," Mr Jahier added.

The EU is based on the rule of law

In his speech, Mr Timmermans noted that

the rule of law was not "a sort of luxury"

but the very foundation for the existence

of the European Union. He warned against

setbacks not only outside Europe, but also

within the European Union. "We can see

autocratic tendencies where democracy

is used against the rule of law, where

governments who achieved a majority in the

last elections use this majority for instance

in order to go against an independent

justice", Mr Timmerman said, stressing that

democracy was a "day-to-day-thing" and

could not be reduced to the issue of voting.

He condemned Hungary's recent decision

to let employees work 400 hours overtime

a year, without having involved trade unions

in this decision, and was also worried about

Poland's attempt to forbid its lawyers to

seek guidance from the European Court of

Justice when there was doubt.

Involvement of civil society in the

transition to a sustainable Europe

With regard to sustainability, Mr

Timmermans referred to the Commission's

reflection paper which would be ready in

mid-January, underlining that there was

only one way forward - which was the way

towards a sustainable society. He thanked

the Committee for its remarkable role in the

multi-stakeholder platform, where the EESC

acted as a bridge builder and which could be

an example for future involvement of civil

society, for instance in platforms on energy

transition, plastic, taxation, social protection

inequalities – where the dialogue needs

to be strengthened. "We have reached

success and good consensus; however the

work is not done yet," Mr Timmermans


"We can see autocratic tendencies

where democracy is used against

the rule of law, where governments

who achieved a majority in the

last elections use this majority for

instance in order to go against an

independent justice.

Taxation and the social pillar – the main

instruments for social sustainability

"We also need to include social

sustainability", Mr Timmermans added.

The gilets jaunes protests were the voice of

people who felt they were being squeezed.

"Inequality has increased in nearly all

Member States. We must care about the

people and this can only be done with the

active participation of civil society." Taxation

and the social pillar were two important

instruments. "We must make taxation policy

a highly political issue. It cannot be that

every little shop, every pub pays its taxes

and the big enterprises don't. The next

Commission will need to have a precise

programme that ensures that these big

In his statement, Arno Metzler, president

of the Diversity Europe group, urged the

Vice-president to ensure closer cooperation:

"Let us, the EC and EESC, work more

closely together. The European institutions

in general need much more structured

collaboration. We should definitely

cooperate more closely on fighting the

upsurge of populism and promoting the

rule of law and fundamental rights in our

Member States."

Gabi Bischoff, president of the EESC's

workers' group, referred in her statement

to SDG No 10 whose implementation was

crucial. She argued that "For us as the

workers' group, the fight against inequality

has priority, but what we are seeing now

is growing inequality within and between

countries", blaming the Commission

for having failed to address this issue


For group I, Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala

emphasised that "sustainable development

is not a zero-sum game. We need to seek

measures that create economic prosperity,

social welfare and environmental benefits

simultaneously. The EU needs to be a

forerunner, and champion for a favourable

business environment to innovate, invest

and trade in sustainable solutions."

In their statements, members called for an

overarching strategy for the implementation

of the Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs) which was still missing, and

stressed that it must be inclusive, involving

businesses, civil society organisations and

citizens. Social and environmental justice

must go hand in hand. With regard to

obvious set-backs concerning the rule

of law, they called for a more proactive

approach and better support from the

Commission where civil society's rights were

under threat. MBR




Malta Business Review



Here are 10 questions off the news of 2018. Scroll all the

way down for the answers.

7. In his first phone conversation with reelected Russian

leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump was reportedly

handed a handwritten note in all caps saying “DO NOT

CONGRATULATE.” What was the first thing Trump did?

a) Congratulate Putin b) Do a comedy Russian accent c)

Thank Putin for all the election help


1. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the new leader of the

German Christian Democrats, but how many points is her

name worth in Scrabble? (The German version, no double

or triple scores.)

a) 34 b) 38 c) 40

2. According to U.K. government figures, how many hours

did former Brexit Secretary David Davis spend in talks

with his opposite number Michel Barnier in the first half

of 2018?

a) 4 b) 7 c) 11

3. How tall is the spire of Salisbury Cathedral? (No cheating

and asking a Russian tourist.)

a) 99m b) 112m c) 123m

4. Viktor Orbán is famously hostile to outsiders, but which

animal did the Hungarian prime minister adopt this year?

a) Hippopotamus b) Giraffe c) Rhinoceros

5. In June, Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand,

had a daughter. What’s her name?

a) Olivia Whai b) Neve Te Aroha c) Isla Ngawari

6. Emmanuel Macron is about as popular in France as a

poorly made orange sauce. But by how many percentage

points did his popularity fall in 2018? (Using figures from

pollsters BVA.)

a) 20 b) 25 c) 29

8. How many of the 28 heads of state or government

who attended the EU summit in March were still there at

the December summit (even if clinging on in charge of a

caretaker government)?

a) 22 b) 25 c) 27

9. What should be closed by 9 p.m., according to Italy’s

Matteo Salvini?

a) Migrant detention centers b) Little ethnic shops c) Train


10. Theresa May danced her way on to the stage of the

Conservative Party conference to which song?

a) “Dancing Queen” b) “Dance The Night Away” c)





is technically well-prepared for the presidency of the

Council starting in January — thanks also to the active

support of the European Commission,” Jean-Claude

Juncker, the latter institution’s president, declared in a

Welt am Sonntag interview over the weekend. “I believe,

however, that the government in Bucharest has not yet

fully understood what it means to take chair over the EU

member states. For prudent negotiations, you also need a

readiness to listen to others and the firm will to put your

own wishes aside. I have some doubts there.”

It was almost as if he was also talking about the outgoing

Austrian presidency. “The Austrian EU presidency’s

priorities include of course moves to prevent migration

happening at all,” Playbook wrote last month, referring to

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s decision to pull his country out

of the U.N. global migration compact in order to “defend

national sovereignty.” We continued: “But, as a rather

small — no offense intended — country, agreeing with

the rest of the world, including countries where people

migrating to Europe

come from, on common goal posts to tackle the issue? Or

even pursuing ‘evidence-based policies’? … Heavens, no.”

Bottom line: Juncker promised a “political Commission.”

Following his lead, Austria delivered a political Council

presidency — as in it pursued its own agenda, whether that

was on behalf of the EU … or not.

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Brussels this February. Register for free online today.**

2. MAY’S MOMENT OF RECKONING: At a press conference

in Brussels on December 14, Theresa May told reporters

that EU leaders had promised to hold further discussions

on how to resolve the impasse over her Brexit deal in the

coming days and weeks. Earlier that Friday, “May gathered

a small group of EU super-influencers,” Playbook reported.


European Council resident Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude

Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French

President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister

Mark Rutte “quizzed May on the one question she hadn’t

been able to answer before: How exactly would she

use the outcome of the summit to get the Withdrawal

Agreement through parliament back home?”

‘There was no plan,’ said one diplomat. The EU’s most

powerful people learned something anyway: May told

them her parliament “doesn’t trust the EU.”

That was perhaps the moment EU leaders decided there

was little reason for them to trust that if they gave May

the assurances she wanted, she wouldn’t just come

back asking for more in January. Tusk said in his own

final presser: “I have no mandate to organize any further


3. MACRON’S HUMBLEST MOMENT: In what came close

to an apology, Emmanuel Macron, in a televised speech to

la Nation, acknowledged he had “offended some of you,”

didn’t react “quickly enough” to the Yellow Jackets protests

and “sometimes I may have given you the impression that I

had other priorities.”

That was on December 10, weeks after the Gilets Jaunes

started camping out on roundabouts across the country,

marching through France’s bigger cities, and a few days

after the movement got violent, assaulting a national

symbol — Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.

Social or green? Macron, the counterweight to U.S.

President Donald Trump on global climate policies, gave

in to the powerful social movement and at the end of this

rollercoaster year, now finds himself stuck between a rock

and a hard place. (The past few months, though, having

been nothing but a speedy downhill ride in the polls.)

At stake: His European credibility as a reformer, his

credentials as a green champion, his swagger as the fresh

force in French politics — and all just months ahead of the

EU election, his first electoral test since his 2017 triumph.

Bottom line: Don’t encroach on people’s social sensitivities.

It was petrol prices that sparked protests in France; in

Hungary, it was less Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s illiberal

turn than a new law that would force employees to put in

free overtime.

4. WHEN THE GREEN WAVE AROSE: “Glance casually at

the election results in Bavaria, in Luxembourg, in Belgium’s

communes, and you’ll find a Green wave engulfing the

center-left of the political spectrum. Look a bit closer, and

you’ll see the traditional political camps — the EPP and

Social Democracy — fighting for survival as Volksparteien.

Mark this day in your calendars as a potential turning

point for Europe,” Playbook wrote from Munich, where

the Green party had just celebrated its first harvest in

German polls, finishing as the second-largest force after the

conservative CSU, and relegating the Social Democrats

to fifth place.



Malta Business Review


The power game: The Greens may not have won a golden

ticket into government in Munich (they did in Luxembourg,

and for the record they doubled their ministerial posts after

another German regional election, in Hesse). But the big

questions facing them in 2019 are how to make an impact

in those parts of Europe where green issues are still widely

considered a luxury — and how to transform votes into

power. (That’s something the EPP is particularly good at.).


Movement and the League have reached an agreement on

a political government headed by Giuseppe Conte as prime

minister,” the party’s two leaders, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo

Salvini, said in a joint statement on May 30, Playbook

wrote at the time. What followed was a demonstration of

power — by the League, which was rising in the polls and

ergo compromising far less on its promises to voters. Case

in point: The number of irregular migrants arriving in Italy

in 2018 went down by some 80 percent compared to 2017.

The key question, for the League, for the Italian political

landscape and for the EU, is whether Matteo Salvini

is heading towards an alliance of Europe’s right-wing

populists, or whether he’ll be seduced by the siren call of

Italy’s center right, changing course and returning to its


6. FACEBOOK’S TURBULENT YEAR: Where to start? With

the Cambridge Analytica scandal? With Vestager weighing

up whether there are grounds to open a probe into

Facebook’s European tax arrangements, as she deepens

her multinational investigation into sweetheart tax deals?

Perhaps the competition commissioner’s (and her fellow

regulators’) new cause célèbre: Big Tech’s use of data? Or

the various calls across the Continent for Facebook to deal

with Russian trolls? Facebook lurched from one problem to

another in 2018. And 2019 isn’t looking cruisier.

7. JEAN-CLAUDE, A BRUTAL KILLER: A strategy that might

work: ignoring him. Where were Jean-Claude Juncker

and Donald Tusk in that photo of world leaders trying

to talk Trump into signing their joint statement? Sitting

behind everyone else, watching on. In July, Trump finally

appeared to have understood why four European countries

are represented by six people, as he seemed to develop

a grudging frenemy relationship with Juncker. Top quote,

according to diplomats who followed discussions, from this

July 26 Playbook: “Jean-Claude is so brutal, a killer.”

Juncker’s version of events: “We negotiated for three and

a half hours. It’s good what we’ve managed to agree on,”

Juncker told Playbook over the phone on the way to the

airport after his meeting with Trump. What was the big win

for the EU? “He has agreed to not increase tariffs on cars as

long as we are on negotiating terms.”

How did it go, Mr. President? “Talks were alleviated by

the fact that we get along well, surprisingly,” Juncker said.

Trump “appreciates that I challenged him twice at G7

meetings, hard at it but polite in tone. He doesn’t like those

who beat about the bush.” And as of this morning, Trump

and Juncker were still on negotiating terms — despite

many open threats by the U.S. side to slap car tariffs on

European exports (a humiliating summons of German car

bosses to the White House included).

The next negotiation round is in January: Cecilia

Malmström, the EU’s trade commissioner, will travel to

Washington January 9 to take part in trilateral discussions

between the EU, U.S. and Japan “to address issues such

as trade-distortive practices,” according to a Commission

spokeswoman. “During that visit, Commissioner

Malmström will also meet the United States Trade

Representative Robert Lighthizer, in the context of the

executive working group on transatlantic trade relations.”

News claxon: Malmström is not the only one who’ll be

traveling westbound in the weeks to come. Commission

Secretary-General Martin Selmayr has pencilled in a

(yet-to-be-confirmed) meeting with Trump advisor Larry

Kudlow mid-January, Playbook hears.

8. MERKEL’S SPÄTHERBST: “Late fall might have begun for

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after her CDU and CSU

Bundestag members rejected the man she chose to lead

the parliamentary group. Volker Kauder, a close Merkel

ally who has overseen the group for 13 years, lost in a

secret ballot to challenger Ralph Brinkhaus. The result sent

shockwaves — which made things wobble, but not yet

collapse — through the German capital,” Playbook wrote

September 26.

But wait: Merkel’s defeat in that instance was also the

first step of her (thus far successful) strategy to cling to

power. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merkel’s pick for

her successor, won the race for the CDU chairmanship

in December. Merkel will now stay on as chancellor. (It’s

actually quite tricky, both constitutionally and politically, to

unseat her.) Friedrich Merz, the CDU’s 48 percent man (and

we’ve witnessed how much desperate noise 48 percenters

can make, without actually changing things), had to resort

to a FAZ interview to express his interest in a Cabinet

post. Merkel, via spokesman Steffen Seibert, declared she

doesn’t plan a reshuffle.


“There is life, and power, for Martin Selmayr after Jean-

Claude Juncker’s term as Commission president runs out,”

we were among the first to report on a fateful February


It was this year’s great tale of power in Brussels. Juncker

brought his College of Commissioners to heel (which may

not have been that hard), before then doing the same for

the EPP and its leader (and Selmayr opponent) Manfred

Weber (which was much harder) — by threatening to quit

if he didn’t get his way on Selmayr’s promotion.

The affair kept Brussels busy all the way until Parliament’s

last voting session in December, when MEPs backed a

report calling for the Commission secretary-general to

resign. He didn’t. If anything, the whole saga displayed the

fact that there is a majority against Parliament’s biggest

group (which mostly abstained in the December 13 vote)

— as long as there’s a cause worth fighting (or, as in this

case, against).


the European People’s Party group leader and his party’s

Spitzenkandidat for the EU election, in September issued

a warning to Hungary’s Viktor Orbán: The PM needs to

compromise on issues such as his NGO law and the Central

European University if he wants his EPP family to vote

against opening an Article 7 procedure that could suspend

Hungary’s EU voting rights. “We expect the Hungarian

government to make a move towards their EU partners.

Europe’s fundamental values must be respected by all,”

Weber told Playbook in Strasbourg in September.

That’s a red line that, for once, was easy to follow up on.

Weber — as the only CSU MEP — voted in favor of the

Article 7 procedure. That process is now languishing in


Then there’s the procedure to suspend Fidesz from the EPP.

“I have asked the European People’s Party to exclude the

Hungarian Fidesz party,” Jean-Claude Juncker told Welt am

Sonntag, adding: “I think the Christian democratic values

on which the EPP is based are no longer compatible with

Fidesz’s policy.” But Juncker said his motion was rejected.

The CEU eventually left Budapest and moved to Vienna.

Reading between the lines: Message to Emmanuel

Macron: As a good European, you gotta give, not just take.

THANKS: Lili Bayer and Laura Greenhalgh, and our

producer Jillian Deutsch.


1 = b (her name is worth 38 points in the German edition,

39 points in the English one)

2 = a (David Davis spent just four hours with Barnier)

3= c (as any good Russian spy tourist knows, the spire is

123 metres tall)

4 = c (thick-skinned and prone to bursts of anger … a rhino

was adopted by Viktor Orbán)

5 = b (Neve Te Aroha is the PM’s daughter. Te Aroha means

“bright and radiant” in Maori)

6 = a (Macron’s approval rating was 47 percent in January

and 27 percent in December)

7 = a (of course Trump congratulated Putin)

8 = b (out were Paolo Gentiloni, Miro Cerar and Mariano

Rajoy. In were Giuseppe Conte, Marjan Šarec and Pedro


9 = b (“little ethnic shops” have become “a meeting place

for drug deals and people who raise hell”)

10 = a (“Ooh see that girl, watch that scene, making the

U.K. scream”)

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POLITICO SPRL; Brussels Playbook



Malta Business Review


ESMA report finds investment product

performance highly impacted by

charges By Solveig Kleiveland

institutional investors. On average, retail

clients pay twice as much as institutional

clients. The impact varies across asset

classes, with costs on average accounting

for 25% of gross returns in the period

from 2015 to 2017. On-going costs such

as management fees constitute over 80%

of the total cost paid by customers, whilst

entry and exit fees have a less significant


In terms of overall returns, passive equity

funds consistently outperform active equity

funds. This is further demonstrated by the

fact that costs for actively managed equity

funds are found to be significantly higher

than for passively managed funds and ETFs.

The European Securities and Markets

Authority (ESMA) today publishes its first

Annual Statistical Report (Report) on the

cost and performance of retail investment

products. The Report covers Undertakings

for Collective Investment in Transferable

Securities (UCITS), Alternative Investment

Funds sold to retail investors (retail AIFs)

and Structured Retail Products (SRPs).

The analysis complements ESMA’s risk

assessment, supervisory convergence and

investor protection work, and contributes to

the European Commission’s project on cost

and performance of investment products

under the Capital Markets Union Action


The report documents the significant impact

of costs on the final returns that retail

investors make on their investments:

• the charges for UCITS funds, taken all

together, reduce their gross returns by

one quarter on average;

• the cost impact varies widely, especially

depending on the choice of product,

asset class, fund type; and

• management fees and other on-going

costs constitute over 80% of investors

costs, whilst entry and exit fees have a

less significant impact.

Market transparency is particularly

limited for retail AIFs and SRPs for which

practically no up-to-date data on costs and

performance are available.

Steven Maijoor, Chair, said:

“The Report is an important building block

in our investor protection work. Retail

investors in the EU benefit from the choice

among thousands of UCITS and alternative

funds and structured investment products.

It is key that they are aware of the costs and

performance of these products.

“Our Report shows that fund costs are

substantive, can severely impact returns,

and vary strongly. It demonstrates the

importance of cost disclosure to investors,

and the need for asset managers and

investment firms to take costs into account

when acting in the best interest of investors.

This evidence should prompt investors to

carefully compare the costs of investment

products when making investment


“Costs, their level and structure are relevant

for investor protection, and we will monitor

and assess what the evidence implies for

our supervisory convergence work.”


The data shows that for UCITS the total

costs of a fund presents a significant drain

on fund performance, impacting retail

investors to a much higher extent than

Moreover, the report finds significant

variation in costs and gross performance

across Member States. Finally, the report

highlights the lack of available and usable

cost and performance data, especially for

retail AIFs and SRPs, which is a significant

issue from an investor protection


The report provides National Competent

Authorities with useful information

to support the implementation of the

Capital Markets Union, and aims to

facilitate increased participation by retail

investors in capital markets by providing

consistent EU-wide information on cost and

performance of investment products. It also

demonstrates the relevance of disclosure of

costs to investors, as required by the MiFID

II, UCITS and PRIIPs rules and the need for

asset managers and investment firms to act

in the best interest of investors, as laid down

in requirements of MiFID II, the UCITS and

AIFM Directives. MBR

Credits: ESMA Press Office



Malta Business Review

Fostering business relationships with Japan

Malta-Japan Business Opportunities was

the theme of a seminar organised by

Bank of Valletta in collaboration with the

Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce and

the Japan External Trade Organisation Milan

Office. The aim of the seminar was to bring

together stakeholders and business players

from both countries to share their personal

experiences in doing business with Japan.

Kentaro Ide, the director general, Jetro

Milan gave an insightful presentation on the

size of the Japanese economy, third largest

economy in the world and how the Jetro

office in Milan can play a key role in business

matchmaking between Japanese and

Maltese companies.http://ads.independent.



Moderating the seminar, Mark Scicluna

Bartoli, executive EU & Institutional Affairs

at Bank of Valletta provided an insight to the

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

that will come in force in February and used

it as a platform for various entrepreneurs, in

the electronics, gaming, tourism and financial

services sectors, to share their personal

experiences of their dealings with Japanese

businesses which provided the audience

with valuable insight into doing business

with Japan.

André Spiteri, Ambassador of Malta to Japan

underlined the importance of timing and

how 2019, with the coming into force of

the EU-Japan economic partnership, will be

a key year in fostering a stronger business

relationship between Malta and Japan.

Joe Gabriele, John Schembri and Joe Small

On a concluding note Kenneth Farrugia,

chief Business Development officer at Bank

of Valletta highlighted that: "As Malta's leading

banking group, the internationalisation

of local investment and attracting foreign

direct investment features highly on our

agenda. Events like these are key in sharing

knowhow with Maltese enterprises assisting

them to grow by leveraging on our experience

and contacts." MBR

Credit: BOV/The Malta Business Weekly



Malta Business Review

Trending stories



Differences in pay and economic opportunity

between men and women are so vast that

it would take 202 years to close them at the

current rate, according to a report by the

World Economic Forum. While improving,

indicators like gender disparity across health

and education, as well as participation and

pay in the workforce, are moving slowly,

particularly in East Asia and the Middle East.

The report also found women lagging in the

tech skillsof the future. Iceland topped the

list as the best place for women in terms

of gender equality and the Philippines was

ranked best in Asia.




nothing to do with economic data about

full employment. Yes, there is a shortage

of good talent but to leave a job without

notice? Come on. This same scenario

happened recently when I successfully

placed an applicant in an Executive position.

Things apparently were not working out

after 30 days. So I receive a call from my

employer client asking me if I knew that my

candidate simply stopped coming to work?

No, of course I had not. I called my candidate

and he admitted that he simply received a

better offer. And he admitted to ghosting

his my client/employer. I was aghast. His

justification? “Job loyalty doesn’t exist

anymore.” This kind of behavior cannot be

labeled as a generational thing based on a

full employment economy. This is downright

rude and unethical behavior. YOU’RE


PLANNING TO LEAVE A JOB. What appears to

be an appalling trend is that human decency

is in decay. Am I missing something?

kept waiting and bullied, according to The

Wall Street Journal. The costs are real, too.

One recruiter told the Journal he lost out on

$9,000 in commissions when three people

failed to show up for their first day of work.

While candidates may have the upper hand,

recruiters caution that there may come a day

when the shoe is on the other foot.



General Electric (GE), once one of the

U.S.'s largest and most valuable firms, has

fallen on hard times. A foray into finance,

a reliance on short-term debt to boost

earnings, and a few bad bets led to the

company’s plummeting share price and

sinking earnings. A report in The Wall Street

Journal details various decisions by GE's

leaders and the industrial conglomerate's

downfall from behemoth to being cast out of

the Dow Jones Industrial Average after over

110 years.


Bernie Reifkind

It may be most often associated with dating,

but ghosting has spread to the professional

world. It can happen during the hiring

process — recruiters are reporting a surge

of vanishing candidates in the UK — or

even with existing employees who just stop

showing up. Even the Fed has taken notice.

Some blame a tight job market, with low

unemployment meaning many are spoiled

for choice. The first rumors about people

"ghosting" employers began circulating

several months ago. Now the millennial

term has appeared in the Fed's Beige Book,

making this most perverse sign of a strong

labor market a matter of historical record.

Ghosting at work is now big enough that it

caught the Fed's attention

Quitting by ghosting. Applicants blow off

scheduled interviews. New hires turn into

no-shows. Workers leave one evening and

never return. No notice. Quitting a job

without giving notice or “ghosting” has



The attorney general for the District of

Columbia has sued Facebook for exposing

the personal data of almost half its residents

to Cambridge Analytica in 2014. The move

is the first by regulators to punish the social

media giant for its dealings with the political

consultancy, which used a quiz app to

harvest information on 87 million Facebook

users and their friends around the world in

the runup to the U.S. presidential election.

The suit contends the company broke

consumer-protection law by misleading

users about the security of their information,

hampering their ability to protect it and

failing to inform them quickly about the

breach by the consultancy.



Recruiters are facing an uphill battle in

today’s labor market, which is the tightest

since 1969. Some report being stood up,




It can take vitals and track sleep cycles.

Whether it's your digital health or your

physical wellbeing, tech companies want to

be involved, and Samsung is no different.

Today, at CES, the company showed off

some of the ways it's looking to use its AI

technology in the "future of connected

living," and one of its platforms is focused

on users' health. Samsung Bot Care aims to

assist users in their daily health routines and

Samsung's Yoon Lee demonstrated what the

platform has to offer.

In its quick demonstration, Samsung brought

out a cute little robot with a Google Home

Hub-ish face, and the bot instructed Yoon

to place his finger on a sensor below the

screen. It then took his vitals and read

back both his blood pressure and heart

rate, noting that both were within normal

levels. Yoon and AI head Gary Lee also

said the robot could monitor sleep cycles,

call emergency services and offer music

therapy to manage stress. It can also track

medication intake, offer exercise guidance

and give daily health briefings. MBR

Credits: Twitter; engadget


Malta Business Review



Natashah Hitti

South Korean carmaker Hyundai has

revealed its concept for a vehicle with

robotic legs that could save lives as a first

responder in natural disaster zones.

Unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics

Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hyundai's Elevate

concept is an electric car with robotic legs

that can be extended to drive and be used

for walking.

The concept is designed to help emergency

workers travel across harsh terrain in the

event of a natural disaster.

"Any first responder will tell you that the first

72 hours following a natural disaster

are the most crucial to saving lives," said the


"However, often times due to the nature

of the disaster (forest fire, earthquake,

hurricane, or flood), it can be difficult for

search-and-rescue and humanitarian aid

missions to reach and get immediate help to

those in need."

Hyundai developed the concept to be faster,

more efficient and resilient than ordinary

off-road vehicles.

The resulting design is based around a

modular electric vehicle chassis architecture,

which features interchangeable bodies that

can be swapped depending on the situation

and environment.

Four robotic legs that extend from the

body give the vehicle the option of driving,

walking or climbing in any direction across

different landscapes, helped by torsional

control at the end of each leg.

"People living with disabilities worldwide

that don't have access to an ADA ramp could

hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that

could walk up to their front door, level itself,

and allow their wheelchair to roll right in,"

Suh added. "The possibilities are limitless."

Creditline: Dezeen





In the LIBE meeting on 7 January the

Commission presented its Communication

on Managing migration in all its aspects:

progress under the European Agenda on

Migration followed by an exchange of views

with Members. Afterwards, the study on the

Cost of Non-Europe in Asylum Policy was

presented by the European Parliamentary

Research Service (EPRS).






Nine EU countries pledged — behind

the closed doors of an EU ambassadors’

meeting Monday — to take in refugees

recently rescued in the Mediterranean, two

EU diplomats told Playbook. Eight of the

countries are in the old West. The ninth, a

notable exception in Central and Eastern

Europe, is Romania, which holds the Council

presidency. (Austria never bothered to lead

by example in these sorts of cases during its

own presidency.)

The problem: The pledges still fall short.

Here’s the math: There are two ships in

a Maltese port awaiting permission to

disembark 49 migrants. But Malta rescued

an additional 250 people over the past few

weeks, and Valletta says they need to be

part of any redistribution. EU diplomats told

Playbook the nine countries’ pledges cover

the 49 migrants aboard the Sea-Watch 3

and Professor Albrecht Penck, but leave the

other 250 or so people in limbo.

Side note: Things wouldn’t change much

if Malta let the 49 migrants ashore. But for

Valletta, migration is a matter of principle,

and the government wants the rest of the

EU to take Malta as seriously as they take

neighboring Italy and its insistence that it

has taken enough refugees for a generation.

Silver lining: In the Monday meeting of

ambassadors, Italy declared it would take

some of the migrants — but only after they

disembarked on Maltese soil, according to

two diplomats.

Next attempt today: The Commission says

it’s working on a solution. Countries have

another opportunity to agree to chip in at

today’s General Affairs Council — or rather

at its margins. But even if that happens, it

would be nothing more than yet another adhoc

solution to a structural issue.

**A message from Google: We support

the copyright directive’s goal to protect

journalism. But Article 11 of the directive

threatens to take away news publishers’

choices about how to distribute and make

money with content online. Let’s find a

better way to update copyright rules in

Europe.** MBR

Compiled and edited by Martin Vella



Malta Business Review


Investing in human capital is essential for the sustainable

development, but also to ensure stability and security in the Euro-

Mediterranean region

Quality EVT systems

Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee & Cesare

Onestini, Director of the European Training Foundation

2018 Euromed Summit of Economic and

Social Councils and similar institutions

Members of civil society representative

bodies from countries of the Euro-

Mediterranean region met in Turin

to discuss the situation of education

and training in the area. Although the

challenges faced by each of the countries

are different, as access to education and

training is very unbalanced in the region,

the general consensus was that investing

in human capital is essential for the

sustainable development of the countries,

but also to ensure regional stability and


Recent data show a generally poor

performance of the labour market in

the Euromed region, with limited job

creation, a low activity rate (especially

among women, less than 25% on average),

extreme disadvantage of youth and women

participation in the labour market and an

increase in the number of persons Not in

Education, Employment or Training (NEETS)

in risk of exclusion. The education and

training sector is therefore called to lay a

central role in equipping people with the

right skills.

As stated by Luca Jahier, President of the

European Economic and Social Committee

(EESC), "these are exactly the times

when our involvement as civil society

organisations is key to foster dialogue,

create bridges and improve the future of

the citizens in our societies". Along the

same line, Cesare Onestini, Director of the

European Training Foundation (ETF), pointed

out that "the key conditions of success

in human capital development are the

quality, continuity and regularity of social

concertation between the government

authorities and the social partners'

organisations, including civil society".

"these are exactly

the times when our

involvement as civil

society organisations is

key to foster dialogue,

create bridges and

improve the future

of the citizens in our


Luca Jahier also highlighted that education

and training is a very important topic not

only in the Mediterranean region, but also

for the civil society representative bodies,

"that have a key role to play in developing

policies in these areas". The main goal of

the Euromed summit was to add inputs to

draft a report, "a truly collaborative work

able to produce recommendations with a

true regional added value to policy makers,

in Europe and in all other Mediterranean

countries", in Jahier's words.

The participants discussed during the

summit the challenges posed by education

in the region and contributed to a collective

reflection that will give rise to an in-depth

report that will be sent to Governments

of the represented countries. During

the debate, proposals were made to

to enhance Educational and Vocational

Training (EVT) and lifelong learning in all

Euromed countries as part of a project

aimed at consolidating strong democracies,

solid economies and societies with less

inequalities. It was also agreed that the EU

should contribute to ensuring the design of

a quality EVT system in Euromed countries

and, with that aim, a number of proposals

were made for joint action to: increase

networking, e-learning and cooperation

between education providers; promoting

projects to mainstream gender equality in

EVT activities; supporting the development

of national qualification frameworks. The

EESC also encourages the Commission

to propose, in coordination with the

International Labour Organization (ILO)

a "country programme strategy" and to

coordinate its work with other international

organisations, as the United Nations, the

IMF or the World Bank´.


The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of

Economic and Social Councils and Similar

Institutions aims at promoting greater

understanding of the main issues affecting

organised civil society in the Euromed

region and at discussing the common

challenges they face. This year, the

event was co-organised by the European

Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and

the European Training Foundation (ETF),

and exchanges focused on education and

training. MBR




Malta Business Review




Recruiters are facing an uphill battle in today’s labor market, which is the tightest since 1969.

Some report being stood up, kept waiting and bullied, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The costs are real, too. One recruiter told the Journal he lost out on $9,000 in commissions

when three people failed to show up for their first day of work. While candidates may have

the upper hand, recruiters caution that there may come a day when the shoe is on the other


Chip Cutter: Rporter at The Wall Street Journal

Their calls go unanswered. Their emails get

ignored. They are stood up for appointments

and regularly ridiculed online. Today, I wrote

about what it's like to be a recruiter, the

loneliest job in a tight labor market:


Once overrun with resumes, able to pick

and choose among hundreds of applicants,

recruiters these days find themselves

in the midst of a role reversal. With the

unemployment rate the lowest in nearly

a half century, applicants have the upper

hand – and they know it. Recruiters say their

jobs are tougher and more frustrating. To

cope, some managers have begun sending

recruiters home in the middle day, knowing

they've had enough. One industry veteran

has a warning, too: “We could go into a

recession," she says, and applicants will be

"begging for new jobs."

As a small business owner, you may not

have the same resources the big companies

have to offer new recruits. As such, as

unemployment rates continue to decrease,

it becomes more difficult to attract the most

talented employees. In a tight labor market,

you need to get creative with your recruiting

techniques to tap into the best and brightest

talent pool.

"A nationwide

shortage of

candidates in

a particular

industry, for


may create

local hiring


Your company’s ability to attract talent

depends, in part, on factors outside your

control. A nationwide shortage of candidates

in a particular industry, for example, may

create local hiring difficulties. And it’s not

only a talent shortage in your particular

industry that has implications for hiring. You

may think that a shortage of tech employees

isn’t relevant to your business. But if you

have an on-staff IT expert, and he or she

opts for greener pastures, what’s happening

with tech employment becomes important.

Speaking of greener pastures, make sure

you stay current on all employment trends

in your primary and related industries—

including salaries and benefits. In order to

attract job candidates, it’s always advisable

to remain competitive. In a tight labor

market, it’s essential.

In a candidate driven market, if you are

ghosted, evaluate your current candidate

experience because it is highly competitive

right now and candidates are not here

for a terrible experience in this market.

Candidates and recruiters can both do better

and be more respectful of each other’s time.

It is awful for candidates to ghost companies

but it is also just as hard to never hear back

from recruiters. It’s two way communication.

What do you make of this trend? I'd love to

read your thoughts. MBR

Creditline: LinkedIn/Wall Street Journal



Malta Business Review

By Thomas Haahr


EU deal on electricity market rules to benefit both

consumers and environment

• Increased cross-border flows of

electricity from renewable energy

• End of state subsidies to the most

polluting coal power plants

• A better deal for consumers, including

smart meters and dynamic pricing

The creation of a genuine EU electricity

market to better integrate renewable

energy was provisionally agreed between

MEPs and EU member states on Tuesday


An overhaul of EU electricity market rules

was informally agreed to tackle barriers to

cross-border trade of electricity and create

a real European electricity market where

70% of all electricity can cross EU borders

freely. This will make it easier to integrate

renewable energy in the electricity grid

and hence support efforts to reach the

EU’s binding goal of 32% renewables by

2030. In addition, it strives to make the EU’s

electricity market more competitive and


A better deal for consumers

Consumers will benefit substantially from

the new rules, which include:

• Switching - electricity providers must

offer consumers the option to switch

provider (with no fees) within a

maximum period of three weeks (and

24 hours by 2026);

• Smart meters - consumers will have the

right to get smart meters to control

their consumption, unless analysis in

a given member state shows that the

cost outweighs the benefits;

• Price comparison: consumers will have

access free-of-charge to an online price

comparison tool;

• Dynamic price contract: consumers

will also be able to opt for a dynamic

electricity price contract from energy

companies with more than 200.000


No more state subsidies to the most

polluting coal power plants

EU rules currently allow national authorities

to pay conventional power plants to be on

stand-by for a limited period of time if there

is a demand peak or temporary shortage

of renewable energy (e.g. wind and sun),

known as capacity mechanisms.

As requested by Parliament, the agreed text

provides for an additional EU assessment

(together with national ones) on the risks

of a possible electricity shortage in member

states to avoid unnecessary use of these


In addition, stricter limits for member states

willing to subsidise power stations as a

capacity mechanism shall prevent the most

polluting coal power plants in Europe from

receiving state aid. Power stations emitting

more than 550 gr of CO2/kilowatt hour of

electricity shall not receive subsidies from

the state to remain on stand-by in case of

demand peak of electricity. The measures

will apply to all new capacity mechanisms

from date of entry into force of the

Regulation and to existing ones from 2025.

Energy poverty and price regulation

Member states will be able to regulate

prices temporarily to assist and protect

energy-poor or vulnerable households,

negotiators agreed. Preference should

however be given to addressing energy

poverty through social security systems.

EU member states that still regulate

household prices may continue to do so

but they shall submit reports to assess

the progress towards abolishing price

regulation. By 2025 the Commission shall

submit a report on overall EU progress,

which may include a proposal to end

regulated prices.


After the deal was reached, rapporteur

Krišjānis KARIŅŠ (EPP, LT) said: “This

agreement is good for the climate and good

for the wallet. It will help the transformation

to cleaner electricity production and it

will make the electricity market more

competitive across EU borders. Parliament

has succeeded in getting rid of heavy state

subsidies, so that the market can do its job

of supplying EU industries and households

with affordable and secure energy.”

Next steps

The deal will now be put to the Industry,

Research and Energy Committee and

plenary for approval as well as to the

Council. The Regulation and the Directive

will enter into force 20 days after

publication. Member states will have to

implement the Directive by 31 December

2020. MBR



Courtesy: EU/Europarl/Press



Malta Business Review

The Problem with 'hiring people on merit'

By Jack Preston

Jordan Bangura in conversation with film director and Oscar winner Richard Loncraine

Image credit: virgin.com

The unemployment rate for BAME people of

working age is nearly double that of white

British groups, according to UK government

research released last year.

While shocking, this statistic will not come

as a surprise to many with biases - both

conscious and unconscious - built into so

many of Britain’s industries, businesses

and employment practices. From the latest

episode of the Breaking Barriers podcast,

courtesy of Virgin, we decided to explore

the barriers to fair work opportunities and

employment that race can often present,

through the lens of the film industry.

Jordan Bangura is a young, confident black

man who has been involved in the charity

Cardboard Citizens for several years, making

life-changing theatre with and for homeless

people and has aspirations to work in the

film industry. Richard Loncraine is a white

film director and Oscar winner, based in

West London, who spends much of his

time in the US having had a very successful

career in Hollywood.

In this episode, the two sit down to talk

unashamedly about race; how the industry

has changed its perception of race over the

years, why representation is important and

their hopes for the future… with one or two

Hollywood anecdotes along the way.

But what did this episode teach us?

Young black men have higher

unemployment rates than all other

groups of young people. This alone is an

uncomfortable statistic but when compared

to the numbers of young white men in

employment the reality of the situation

becomes even more shocking, with a 2013

survey discovering that only 56 per cent

of young black men in the UK had found

employment, compared with 81 per cent of

young white men.

The importance of representation. The

need for governments and businesses to be

representative of the society they operate

in is often discussed and on this episode a

story from Jordan underlined the practical

implications of how this plays out. "That

moment I saw John Boyega on television,

that’s when everything changed for me,"

explained Jordan. "I always wanted to act

when I was a kid, but when you don’t see

people on TV with the colour of your skin,

you think it’s not realistic."

The merit paradox. Throughout the

conversation between Jordan and Richard

the idea of "hiring on merit" was talked

about a fair bit, which on face value may

seem an acceptable state of affairs. However

as our presenter Yassmin was quick to point

out, the presence of unconcious bias can

often undermine this approach. "When

people say they hire on merit, what actually

happens, unconsciously, is that they hire

what the idea of the best person of the

job is," notes Yassmin. "That’s the merit


This month sees the release of Virgin’s

fourth episode of the series, which focuses

on cerebral palsy. You can search Breaking

Barriers and subscribe on Apple Podcasts,

Spotify, Pocket Cast, Castbox or where

ever you get your podcasts from. MBR

Credit: virgin.com



Malta Business Review


SRB: 2019 Resolution Reporting

The Single Resolution Board (SRB)

has today published requirements for

resolution reporting by banks in 2019.

As in previous years, banks are required to

submit information to enable resolution

authorities to prepare resolution plans. This

publication includes updates to the SRB

critical functions and FMI reports, as well as

an overview of reporting deadlines for all

required templates:

• the Liability Data report, which was

published on 30 September 2018,

should be submitted by 31 March 2019;

• the Critical Functions and the FMI

reports should be submitted by 30 April


• the other templates required under

European Commission Implementing

Regulation (EU) 2018/1624 of 23

October 2018 should be submitted by

31 May 2019.

Pursuant to Article 11 (1) BRRD and Section

B of BRRD Annex, as well as Article 8 (4)

SRMR, the SRB collects information for

drawing up and implementing resolution

plans for banks under its remit.

The SRB resolution reporting requirements

(Liability Data Report, Critical Functions

Report and FMI Report) cover the minimum

information required by European

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU)

2018/1624 of 23 October 2018 as well as

further details required for the respective

area. The sub-pages describe specific

SRB resolution reporting requirements in

more detail, including reporting deadlines,

format, changes compared to last year and

frequently asked questions.

In 2018 the SRB made a request to banks for

certain data on their liabilities, as per Article

11(1) BRRD and Section B of BRRD Annex,

with the aim of collecting information for

drawing up and implementing resolution

plans, including MREL targets. During the

collection of this data, over 900 Liability Data

Reports (LDRs) were requested from the 120

banking groups in scope of the exercise.

For 2019, the SRB highlights the

importance of high quality, complete and

timely data submissions. The ability to

provide the necessary data to support

the implementation of the resolution

strategy, is a key resolvability issue, to

be adequately considered by banks’ top

management. To ensure banks meet the

reporting deadline of 31st March, the SRB

recommends that all banks implement the

following measures:

The Single Resolution Board, in collaboration

with National Resolution Authorities (NRAs),

is embarking on its annual Liability Data

Collection exercise. During the 2019 edition,

the collection will be based on data as at 31

December 2018. The process will integrate

lessons learned from the previous exercises

and take into account the feedback received

from NRAs as well as the industry. MBR

Overview of SRB Resolution Reporting

Requirements for 2019

Credits: ingle Resolution Board



Malta Business Review

MIA members learn about new VAT & FSS measures

The new VAT returns system was

discussed at an exclusive information

session organised by the Malta Institute

of Accountants and the Malta Institute of

Taxation. Specialists explained the changes

effected by the newly introduced online

submission system and answered questions

from the floor.

"This initiative is in line with the

organisations' respective commitment to

share and diffuse knowledge as well as offer

support and guidance to its members and

the wider business community," said Claudia

Vella Schembri from the Malta Institute of

Accountants Technical Department.

The Institute of Accountants held the

session to update members on the new

mandatory requirements for online

submissions of VAT Returns and FSS end-ofyear

online submissions, which came into

force recently.

The session was addressed by experts from

the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue.

Noel Agius, who was deeply involved in

the development of the Final Settlement

System, spoke about the online FSS

submissions system while Andrew Buhagiar,

from the IT Section, delivered a presentation

on online VAT Returns submissions. Efrem

Ray Debono, who manages the Back Office

and the Data Processing Unit, offered a

comprehensive review of the new system.

The speakers took questions from a highlyengaged

audience and offered detailed

technical tips.

The collaboration with the Malta Institute

of Taxation is in line with the Malta

Institute of Accountants' strategy to create

synergies with other professional bodies

to support the wider business community.

The information session is part of the

Institute's commitment to share and

diffuse knowledge with its members and

to offer practical guidance to accounting

professionals. MBR

Courtesy: MIA/The Malta Business Weekly



Malta Business Review


Venice Commission recommendations

The Government of Malta positively welcomes

the opinion of the European Commission for

Democracy through Law, known as the Venice

Commission which was published earlier today.

This opinion, which was prepared on the

invitation of the Government of Malta to the

Venice Commission, also includes a number

of recommendations for changes and reforms

by the Venice Commission. The Venice

Commission recommendations mainly focus

on laws and systems which are long-standing

and were ‘inherited’ by this government. This is

confirmation that the recent reforms which this

Government has embarked upon were deemed

positive and a step in the right direction.

The aim of the Venice Commission’s

recommendations is to strengthen the

framework of the separation of powers

between the government, Parliament, and

the Judiciary in Malta; to strengthen the

independence and accountability of State

institutions; and to implement change in various

areas of public administration and the State,

including prosecution and the forces of law and


In brief, the recommendations are as follows:

(See Below)

These were, in brief, the main

recommendations of the Venice Commission.

On behalf of the Government of Malta, I would

like to officially thank the Venice Commission for

the work it has undertaken.

It should be noted that since 2013, this

Government has implemented a series of robust

reforms, and several recommendations made

by various stakeholders have been implemented

gradually. Sufficed to say that less than five years

ago, a number of important laws came in force,

among them:

• Party Financing Laws;

• A comprehensive and holistic

Whistleblowers’ Act;

• A law abolishing time-barring on offences

related to corruption by politicians;

• A law which strengthened judicial

independence by reforming the manner in

which judicial appointments and discipline

take place;

• A law which subjects high-level

appointments such as Chairpersons of

principal regulatory authorities, and

non-career Ambassadors and High

Commissioners, to parliamentary scrutiny;

• A law lessening the powers of the Attorney

General in drug and other cases;

• And laws which introduced the right

to a lawyer during arrest, the right of

disclosure, and other reforms brought into

force which improved this sector;

On judicial appointments

1. The further strengthening of the system of transparency introduced by this Government - whereas while previously appointments to the

judiciary was at the Prime Minister’s absolute discretion, now this is done by publishing a call for applications.

2. The composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee, also introduced by this Government, should be broadened to include more

members of the Judiciary, to be elected by their peers.

3. The Judicial Appointments Committee should propose selected candidates directly to the President of Malta, who would be bound by that

proposal, including the appointment of the Chief Justice.

On the discipline of members of the judiciary

4. The removal of a sitting Judge or Magistrate from office should not be possible through a simple two-thirds majority in Parliament, but by the

Commission for the Administration of Justice.

5. It should be possible for disciplinary decisions by the Commission for the Administration of Justice to be subject to an appeal before a court.

On the prosecution

6. An Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be set up, which shall assume some of the functions currently performed by the

Attorney General and the Police, as well as the functions of the Magisterial Inquiry.

7. The Attorney General should remain the Government’s Legal Adviser.

8. The Police Force should remain responsible for investigative work.

On the effect of decisions by the Constitutional Court

9. When a decision by the Constitutional Court holds that a law runs contrary to the Constitution, that decision should be able to revoke that

particular law.

On Parliament

10. Members of Parliament should serve on a full-time basis and should be given more resources.

On the Ombudsman

11. The rules on the appointment and removal from office of the Ombudsman should be raised to Constitutional level.

On the Executive

12. The President should have more powers and be elected and removed by a qualified majority.

13. Certain decisions for which the Prime Minister is responsible - particularly with regards to appointments to independent commissions -

should become the responsibility of the Cabinet, while a number of powers should be more spread out.

14. Permanent secretaries should be chosen on the basis of merit, by the Public Service Commission.

Positions of trust

15. Appointments to Positions of Trust should be regulated by the Constitution in such a manner as to have a clear legal basis, with clear


And on the Police

16. The Commissioner of Police should be appointed after a public call, with the Prime Minister having the right to veto.



Malta Business Review

The opinion of the Venice Commission

is a valuable contribution to the process

of legal and constitutional reform in our

country. Furthermore, it builds on what this

Government has been working towards, after

many years without change. The Government

is in general agreement with the bulk of the

Venice Commission’s proposals, and it intends

to implement them in the main.

The majority of the proposed reforms touch

upon articles of the Constitution which require

the approval of two thirds of the House of

Representatives to be amended. Some of

them also require laborious parliamentary

and administrative processes. Furthermore,

the Commission itself also proposed that

the recommendations should be adopted

following an appropriate examination, and

subject to adequate transitory measures, so

that the independence of existing officials is not


In this regard, the Government is looking

towards a process whereby the proposals

are implemented and, where necessary, with

transitionary measures, with the ultimate aim

being effective reform for the strengthening

of rule of law. In this context, the work of

the Steering Committee for a Constitutional

Convention presided by the President of the

Republic could not have commenced at a more

opportune time.

This Government is a reformist Government,

and thus it considers the opinion of the Venice

Commission as an important point of reference

for the strengthening of the rule of law in our

country. For this reason, through the Steering

Committee for a Constitutional Convention, as

well as through the implementation of other

measures as the case may be, the Government

is welcoming the recommendations, and will

be following up implementation through the

relevant bodies and at the appropriate levels,

also on the basis of careful examination, and

inclusive consultation. MBR

Link message: https://we.tl/t-uyYdD7a8hs

Link report: https://www.venice.coe.



Credits: DOI

Minister Scicluna speaks at the

Atlantic Dialogues in Marrakech

“The International Financial Crisis of 2008

was a perfect storm where millions lost their

jobs, lost their homes and lost their savings

– it was a catastrophic international crisis.

There are many dark clouds ahead today

which may lead to economic downturns in

some parts of the globe, but it would be

farfetched to expect that they will all come

together and form another perfect storm in

the years ahead.”

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna was

one of the leading panel speakers during

a plenary session titled ‘10 Years After

the International Financial Crisis: Is the

Next One Looming?’, as part of the annual

Atlantic Dialogues held in Marrakech

between the 13th to 15th of December,


During the panel discussion, Minister

Scicluna discussed the EU’s take on the

lessons learnt from the international

financial crisis, as well as topics currently

being deliberated to ensure another crisis

of that magnitude is not repeated. Minister

Scicluna stated that looking to the future,

if we were to combine all the threads of all

the pressures around the world, they do

not bode well for the future. However, we

would not go as far as to say that the next

international financial crisis is looming.

This was the seventh edition of the Atlantic

Dialogues, a high-level conference that

has become a tradition since its launch in

2012 by its founding partners the German

Marshall Fund of the United States and the

OCP Policy Centre in Morocco.

This annual conference convenes influential

public and private sector leaders from

around the Atlantic basin for open, informal

discussion on cross-regional issues. The

event encourages an interactive exchange

of views between young professionals and

today’s leaders. This year’s theme was that

of ‘Overcoming the Choke Points’. Other key

speakers included Madeline Albright, former

US Secretary of State, Zeinab Badawi,

presenter of BBC Hard Talk programme, Uri

Dadush, past President of the Economic

Intelligence Unit, and Amre Moussa, past

Secretary General of the League of Arab

States. MBR

Credits/Photos: MFIN



Malta Business Review


Robots walk, talk, pour beer and take over CES tech show

AvatarMind has developed service

robots like iPal which is based on artificial

intelligence, motion control, sensors and

power management, and created iPal

to deliver on that vision with multiple

applications for friendly, fun and functional

robot assistants, shown at CES International

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Las Vegas. Designed

for child education and elder care, iPal is

a fully functional humanoid robot with

a friendly, playful demeanor, as iPal runs

on the Android operating system with

extensions for motion, sensor and natural

language conversation. (AP Photo/Ross D.


LAS VEGAS — Robots that walk, talk, pour

beer and play pingpong have taken over

the CES gadget show in Las Vegas again.

Just don't expect to find one in your home

any time soon. Most home robot ventures

have failed, in part because they are so

difficult and expensive to design to a level of

intelligence that consumers will find useful,

says Bilal Zuberi, a robotics-oriented venture

capitalist at Lux Capital. But that doesn't

keep companies from trying. "Roboticists,

I guess, will never give up their dream to

build Rosie," says Zuberi, referring to the

humanoid maid from "The Jetsons." But

there is some hope for others. Frank Gillett,

a tech analyst at Forrester, says robots with

more focused missions such as mowing the

lawn or delivering cheeseburgers stand a

better shot at finding a useful niche.


There are so many delivery robots at CES

that it's easy to imagine that we'll all be

stumbling over them on the sidewalk — or

in the elevator — before long. Zuberi says

it's among the new robot trends with the

most promise because the field is drawing

on some of the same advances that power

self-driving cars. But it's hard to tell which —

if any — will still be around in a few years.

Segway Robotics, part of the same company

that makes electric rental scooters for Lime,

Jump and Bird, is the latest to get into the

delivery game with a new machine it calls

Loomo. The wheeled office robot can avoid

obstacles, board elevators and deliver

documents to another floor. A similar office

courier called the Holabot was unveiled by

Chinese startup Shenzhen Pudu Technology.

CEO Felix Zhang says his company already

has a track record in China, where its

Pudubot robot — which looks like shelves

on wheels — navigates busy restaurants as a

kind of robotic waiter.

Nearly all of these robots use a technology

called visual SLAM, short for simultaneous

localization and mapping. Most are

wheeled, though there are outliers — such

as one from German automotive company

Continental, which wants to deploy walking

robotic dogs to carry packages from selfdriving

delivery vans to residential front

doors. A delivery robot will need both

sophisticated autonomy and a focused

mission to stand out from the pack,

says Saumil Nanavati, head of business

development for Robby Technology. His

company's namesake robot travels down

sidewalks as a "store on wheels." The

company recently partnered with PepsiCo to

deliver snacks around a California university



Does man's best friend need a robotic pal of

its own? Some startups think so. "There's a

big problem with separation anxiety, obesity

and depression in pets," says Bee-oh Kim, a

marketing manager for robotics firm Varram.

The company's $99 robot is essentially a

moving treat dispenser that motivates pets

to chase it around. A herd of the small,

dumbbell-shaped robots zoomed around

a pen at the show — though there were

no canine or feline conference attendees

to show how the machines really work.

Varram's robot takes two hours to charge

and can run for 10 hours — just enough

time to allow a pet's guilt-ridden human

companion to get home from work.


Samsung is coming out with a robot that can

keep its eye on grandparents. The rolling

robot can talk and has two digital eyes on

a black screen. It's designed to track the

medicines seniors take, measure blood

pressure and call 911 if it detects a fall. The

company didn't say when Samsung Bot

Care would be available. Samsung says it's

also working on a robot for retail shops and

another for testing and purifying the air in



Lovot is a simple robot with just one aim

— to make its owner happy. It can't carry

on long conversations, but it's still social —

approaching people so they can interact,

moving around a space to create a digital

map, responding to being embraced.

Lovot's horn-shaped antenna — featuring

a 360-degree camera — recognizes its

surroundings and detects the direction of

sound and voices. Lovot is the brainchild

of Groove X CEO Kaname Hayashi, who

previously worked on SoftBank's Pepper,

a humanoid robot that briefly appeared in

a few U.S. shopping malls two years ago.

Hayashi wanted to create a real connection

between people and robots. "This is just

supporting your heart, our motivation," he

says. MBR

Credit: Associated Press



Malta Business Review

BOV supporting family businesses within tourism sector

family businesses in financing the passing

on of their business to the next generation.

Our Relationship managers can direct the

family business to undertake a succession

plan so as to safeguard continuity and assist

the business with the necessary financing to

fulfil succession objectives."

The BOV Family Business Transfer Loan is to

be launched during the first quarter of 2019.

Bank of Valletta, in conjunction with MHRA,

will be organising workshops during the

coming year to provide further information

on this initiative.

Bank of Valletta together with the Malta

Development Bank and the Family Business

Office have designed an innovative financing

product to assist family businesses transfer

their enterprise to the next generation. This

initiative, a first for Malta, was announced

by Mark Scicluna Bartoli, BOV executive,

during the Malta Hotels and Restaurants

Association's third quarter review and

annual conference.

Tourism, being Malta's main source of

income, requires strong local companies

that are geared to meet the needs of

this ever-growing sector. Most of these

enterprises are family-run businesses which

over time have developed into increasingly

complex structures.

Scicluna Bartoli stated: "Bank of Valletta

has a strong affinity towards Maltese family

businesses since they have solid ties to

their business and will back their company

through the good and bad times. However,

the bank's experience in engaging with

family businesses has shown that overdependency

on one family member together

with the lack of succession planning hinder

the long-term sustainability of family

businesses. Through this tailored product,

which offers a favourable interest rate and

collateral terms, Bank of Valletta will assist

In the meantime, information about

succession planning of family businesses

through ownership transfer can be

obtained from BOV SME Finance Unit at

smefinance@bov.com or on 2275 1529.

Information about registering under the

Family Business Act and other initiatives

for family businesses can be found at www.

familybusiness.org.mt MBR

Credit: DOI/BOV



The Minister for Gozo the Hon Dr. Justyne

Caruana recently inaugurated Casa Amalia, a

new home for private elderly people located

in the heart of Victoria, Gozo.

The Minister for Gozo the Hon Dr. Justyne Caruana unveiling the plaque

Casa Amalia, Victoria, Gozo

During the official inauguration of Casa Amalia,

the Ministry for Gozo Justyne Caruana said

that the opening of this house means that

this is the first time that the private sector

in Gozo is investing in services for the home,

and senior elderly persons. It means that

with the presence of the private sector in this

field, the Government can also increase the

services offered by it. In fact, the Ministry for

Gozo entered into an agreement to purchase

professional services from Casa Amalia, which

will be specializing in treating the family. The

Minister for Gozo said that the Government

is committed to creating 500 new people for

the elderly in Gozo during this legislature, as

promised in the electoral manifesto, and as it

has done in the budget that was presented.

This sector In Gozo saw an increase in its


The Minister for Gozo the Hon Dr. Justyne

Minister Caruana Caruana cuttung said the that ribbon Casa Amalia will

play an important role as this home is at the

heart of the Victoria City community and thus,

the elderly will be being treated in the heart

of the community 'and this respects the policy

that Government is embarking on in this

sector to keep our elders in the community

as close as possible. Justyne Caruana thanked

iCare Ltd. for their commitment in the field of

the elderly especially in the area that will not

only provide services but also create new jobs.

Casa Amalia has 23 beds spread over three

floors and offers facilities for both couples

and single people. The rooms are all equipped

with modern facilities that ensure care of

quality and dignity to the elderly. The home

is thought to welcome the first elders in the

coming weeks. MBR

Ritratti - MGOZ



Malta Business Review


Parliament and Council agree drastic

cuts to plastic pollution of


By Baptiste Chatain

Photo: plastic products covered by these restrictions constitute 70% of all marine litter ©AP images/

European Union - EP

• Single-use cutlery, cotton buds, straws

and stirrers to be banned from 2021

• Oxo-plastics and certain polystyrene

also banned

• A reinforced application of the “polluter

pays” principle

Single-use plastic items such as plates,

cutlery, straws and cotton buds, will be

banned in the EU under plans provisionally

agreed between Parliament and Council,

on Wednesday.

Lead MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE) said:

"Citizens expected only one thing from the

European Union, that it adopts an ambitious

directive against disposable plastics

responsible for asphyxiation of the seas and

oceans. This is done with our agreement

closed at 6:30 this morning. It will reduce

the environmental damage bill by €22 billion

- the estimated cost of plastic pollution in

Europe until 2030.”

"Europe now has a legislative model to defend

and promote at international level, given

the global nature of the issue of marine

pollution involving plastics. This is essential

for the planet and this is what millions of

concerned Europeans are asking us to do.”

The following products will be banned in

the EU:

• Plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons

and chopsticks)

• Plastic plates

• Plastic straws

• Cotton bud sticks made of plastic

• Plastic balloon sticks

• Oxodegradable plastics and food containers

and expanded polystyrene cups

The provisional agreement also provides for:

• A reinforced application of the polluter

pays principle, in particular for tobacco,

through the introduction of extended

producer responsibility (EPR)

• An EPR regime for fishing gear to

ensure that manufacturers, and not

fishermen, bear the costs of collecting

nets lost in the sea

• A 90% collection target for plastic

bottles by 2029

• A 25% target for recycled content in

plastic bottles by 2025 and 30% by


• Mandatory labelling on the negative

environmental impact of cigarettes

with plastic filters thrown in the street,

as well as for other products such as

plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary


Next steps

The provisional agreement will have to be

endorsed by both Parliament and Council to

become law. The Environment committee

will vote on the text in January 2019.


According to the European Commission,

more than 80% of marine litter is plastics.

The products covered by these restrictions

constitute 70% of all marine litter items.

Due to its slow rate of decomposition,

plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on

beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic

residue is found in marine species – such as

sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also

in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the

human food chain. While plastics are considered

a convenient, adaptable, useful and

economically valuable material, they need

to be used better, re-used and recycled.

When littered, the economic impact of plastics

encompasses not just the lost economic

value in the material, but also the costs of

cleaning up and losses for tourism, fisheries

and shipping. MBR

Press service

European Parliament

Credit: Envi-Press/EU



Malta Business Review

Libya Falls in Ease of Doing Business Index

By John Lee

Libya has been ranked 186th out of 190

countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing

Business 2019 report, down from 185th

place the previous year.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore

and Denmark, with last place going to

Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela.

Iran ranked 128th, with Iraq 171st.

Doing Business measures regulations

affecting 11 areas of the life of a business.

Ten of these areas are included in this year’s

ranking on the ease of doing business:

starting a business, dealing with construction

permits, getting electricity, registering

property, getting credit, protecting minority

investors, paying taxes, trading across

borders, enforcing contracts and resolving

insolvency. Doing Business also measures

labor market regulation, which is not

included in this year’s ranking.

Training on Medicines Forecasting and

Quantification; FAO organizes a Training

Workshop on Animal Health

Air Malta may be

resuming Libyan flights in

2019 By John Lee

Air Malta is reportedly considering resuming

scheduled passenger flights to Libya in 2019.

According to a report from Malta

Independent, the proposed service may

operate between Malta International Airport

and Tripoli Mitiga.

(Source: Malta Independent)

Libya reportedly plans to

more than double its oil

production by 2021

According to Reuters, National Oil Company

(NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla told a news

conference that output would reach 2.1

million barrels per day (bpd) if security and

stability are strengthened.

Current output is around 953,000 bpd, less

than its pre-civil war capacity of 1.6 million

bpd. MBR

Credits: Libya Business News

(Source: World Bank)



Malta Business Review


The MGA implements First Phase of its Sandbox

Framework for the acceptance of VFA and the

use of DLT within the Gaming Industry

As announced earlier in 2018, the Malta

Gaming Authority has launched the first

of two phases of its Sandbox Framework

for the acceptance of Virtual Financial

Assets (VFA) and the use of Distributed

Ledger Technology (DLT) within the Gaming

Industry on 1 January 2019.

During this phase, the Authority will

be accepting applications for the use

of DLT assets, directly or through third

party service providers, by its respective

licensees. This phase is planned to last for

a period of 10 (ten) months, subject to an

extension if deemed fit by the MGA.

The Authority has also updated its Licensee

Relationship Management System (LRMS)

to allow:

• New operators to apply for approvals

for the use of DLT assets as part of a

New Licence Application;

• Existing licensees to apply for

approvals for the use of DLT assets

through the application type – New

or Change in Payment Methods /

Financial Management Information;


• Existing licensees participating in the

sandbox environment to report VFA

player liabilities through the monthly

Player Funds Report. Licensees will

also need to report any failed return

transactions, with respect to any

invalid deposits.

An approval to participate in the Sandbox

Framework is conditional on the applicant

holding the relevant licence issued by

the MGA, without prejudice to any other

regulatory requirements stemming from

other applicable legislation, including but

not limited to the VFA Act and regulations

issued thereunder.

Kindly contact the Innovation Team on

innovation.mga@mga.org.mt for any

queries related to this phase of the

Sandbox Framework.

Best Regards,

Malta Gaming Authority


Copyright © 2018 Malta Gaming Authority,

All rights reserved.



Malta Business Review





By Emma Charlton

Minimum wages offer a route out of poverty, but they aren’t without controversy.

Image: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Where should workers move to in order to

earn the best minimum wage?

The answer is Australia or Luxembourg,

according to data from Germany’s

Wirtschafts-und Sozialwissenschaftliches

Institut (WSI), which compared pay in

different countries on a purchasing-power


The hourly rate in Australia yields the

equivalent of 9.47 euros (US$10.78) of

purchasing power, according to the report,

almost six times that of Russia’s, which is

worth only 1.64 euros ($1.87) in purchasing

power terms. European nations made up the

rest of the top five; while Brazil, Greece and

Argentina were among the lower earners.

between the Fair Work Commission, that

sets the rate, and the unions who want


Those in favour say businesses have a

responsibility to pay their workers enough to

live on, while those against argue that a high

minimum wage destroys jobs and hampers

entrepreneurship. A report earlier this year

by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned

that a rise in the living wage could expose

more jobs to automation.

Academic studies have been mixed, calling

into question long-held ideas that minimum

pay thresholds lead to job cuts and fewer

hours offered to employees, while also

harming small businesses and pushing up


In reality, many minimum-wage earners in

developed nations work in the service sector,

where it can be easier to pass pay increases

on to customers via higher prices. And some

companies don’t mind paying more because

it lowers staff turnover, lessening outlay on

recruitment and training.

Even so, there’s regional variation. In the

US, the threshold varies by state, with some

areas planning to boost their minimum

wage to as much as $15 an hour. Cities tend

to be where pay levels rise faster, because

consumers can tolerate higher prices.

The cost of living also makes a difference.

While the absolute level of pay in the US

has risen in the past 50 years, workers are

poorer because increases haven’t kept pace

with inflation.

There’s still some way to go in researching

Image: WSI data, World Economic Forum

Supporting low-paid workers is a key

objective for governments around the

world, particularly after the financial crisis

exacerbated inequality in many countries.

While minimum wages offer one route out

of poverty, they aren’t without controversy,

often sparking politically charged debates

and generating headlines.

Recently, Spain’s government said its

minimum wage will jump by 22% in 2019,

the biggest annual increase in more than

40 years, while French President Emmanuel

Macron said his nation’s threshold will

increase as well. Even in Australia, which

has one of the highest levels, there’s tension

"Thirty years ago, most

economists expressed

confidence in surveys that

minimum wages had a clear

negative impact on jobs.

That is no longer true today.

“Thirty years ago, most economists

expressed confidence in surveys that

minimum wages had a clear negative impact

on jobs. That is no longer true today,”

Arindrajit Dube, a professor of economics at

the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

said in an NPR podcast. “The weight of the

evidence to date suggests the employment

effects from minimum wage increases in the

US have been pretty small; much smaller

than the wage increases.”

Wage increases haven’t kept up with inflation.

Image: US department of Labor

and exploring the effects of minimum wages

and their impact on the job market. Keeping

track of the evolution of these thresholds

relative to median wages may offer a guide

to how much they can rise without leading

to visible job losses, but most researchers

agree that more work is needed. “The

minimum wage has a much bigger bite in

lower-wage areas,” Dube says. For him, it’s

about keeping a close eye on the data to

locate the "sweet spot, beyond which it may

not be a good idea to increase further”. MBR

Creditline: World Economic Forum



Malta Business Review


Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela & Minister of

Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Malta and Turkey discuss bilateral ties,

regional and international issues

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo

Abela hosted his counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs

of the Republic of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during his

official visit to Malta. “This visit is a timely opportunity to

reaffirm our commitment to our bilateral relations and

the consolidation of the already excellent political and

commercial ties between two countries.”

During a warm and frank exchange, Minister Abela stated

that, “our strong relations were given further impetus

through our collaboration on several fronts and the everincreasing

commercial exchanges between Malta and

Turkey. This visit will surely encourage us to tap further

into the potential of developing political, economic, trade

cultural and social relations.”

The two ministers discussed issues of mutual interest

in relation to the Euro-Mediterranean region, other

regional matters and multilateral issues, including the

developments in Libya, Syria and the Middle-East, as

well as the EU accession process of Turkey, common

challenges, and cooperation opportunities in the


Minister Abela and his counterpart also brought up the

issue of migration. Like Malta, Turkey understands very

well the ramifications that migration brings. “We believe

that unity, solidarity and resilience through proportional

burden-sharing are the key, and we truly appreciate

Turkey’s efforts for hosting Syrian refugees and other

migrants from other countries like Afghanistan and

Pakistan”, said Minister Abela.

Discussions also focused on the flourishing trade and

investment flows. The cooperation between the two

countries increases the two-way trade between Malta

and Turkey. Minister Abela said that the target is to

intensify our commercial ties with a prospect of rendering

our trade volume closer to the $1 billion target. In this

regard, both parties discussed the boosting commerce

through a string of repeat businesses to heighten thriving

patterns in bilateral trade.

Political consultations like these serve our purpose to

build stronger bridges of affinity between Malta and

Turkey. MBR



Malta-Algeria Joint Commission

Malta-Algeria Joint Commission convenes

after thirty years

The fifth session of the Malta-Algeria Joint Commission

was convened in Malta from 18 to 19 December 2018.

The Joint Commission was co-chaired by Minister for

Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela and

Minister of Energy of the People’s Democratic Republic of

Algeria Mustapha Guitoni. This session brought together

more than 50 technical delegates from various sectors to

discuss the enhancement of cooperation and exchange

of expertise in a number of fields of mutual interest

including, health, the environment, energy, water,

education and training as well as economy, industry and


The re-activation of the Joint Commission was an

important milestone as it has been re-activated after an

absence of 30 years.

A bilateral meeting between the two Ministers was

also held at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Promotion. In highlighting the excellent relations that

exists between Malta and Algeria, Minister Abela said,

“We need to continue following up on these technical

talks with a view to further enhance the existing

ties between both countries at all levels, including

people-to-people contacts and commercial exchanges.”

The spirit of affinity and cooperation at the bilateral

levels is also reflected at the regional one. Malta and

Algeria currently hold the co-Presidency of the 5+5

Western Mediterranean Dialogue. Both sides agreed to

continue dedicating their efforts in ensuring that issues

pertaining to the Mediterranean region will be given due

prominence. In this vein, Malta looks forward to hosting

the 15th Session of the 5+5 Foreign Minister Meeting

that will take place from 17 to 18 January 2019, and

which it will co-chair with Algeria.

Following the bilateral meeting, the two Minister

signed the following texts; the Agreed Minutes of the

Fifth Session of the Malta-Algeria Joint Commission,

the Agreement in the Veterinary Health Sector, the

Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Health

and the Memorandum of Understanding in the areas

of Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine. This was then

followed by a press conference. MBR

Credits: DOI

Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to

Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI)

Malta ratifies the Multilateral Convention

to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures

to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

The Secretariat of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation

and Development formally acknowledged

receipt of the instrument of ratification of the Multilateral

Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to

Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI), which was

deposited by Malta today together with the relevant list

of reservations and notifications, following signature by

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo


Minister Abela stated that the ratification of this

convention underlines the active role that Malta plays in

the development and implementation of international

standards in taxation, good governance, together with

the government’s determination to effectively fight all

types of abuse of tax systems.

The MLI has the objective of offering tangible solutions

for governments to close the gaps in existing international

tax rules by transposing results from the OECD/G20

BEPS Project into bilateral tax treaties worldwide. The

MLI will modify the application of thousands of bilateral

tax treaties concluded to eliminate double taxation,

and implements the agreed minimum standards to

counter treaty abuse and to improve dispute resolution

mechanisms while providing flexibility to accommodate

specific tax treaty policies. MBR

Mgarr Harbour, Gozo

Good Christmas for business in Gozo:

More than half a million people cross the

channel during Xmas holidays

The popular program 'Christmas in Gozo' ended with

the arrival of the Three Slaten Maġi in Betlehem in

Ghajnsielem. For another year, business in Gozo has

experienced very good results thanks to the strong

investment made by the Ministry for Gozo at this time

of year.

From statistics issued by the Gozo Channel, it is clear

that during the month of December 2018 until 6 January

2019, they crossed in total 501,907, passenger and

156,343 vehicles compared to 464,837 passengers and

141,349 vehicles that crossed the lines in f this same

period last year. This means that there was an increase

of 8% on the number of passengers and an increase of

11% in the vehicles that crossed the line. The busiest day

was Sunday, December 30, 2018, with a total of 25,186

passengers and 5,670 vehicles on 76 trips operated by

the Gozo Channel company.

The Minister for Gozo Dr. Justyne Caruana welcomed

these encouraging figures where Gozo saw a strong influx

of tourists, both Maltese and foreign, who chose Gozo

as their destination for these holidays. Caruana said that

this influx and increase in numbers is not a coincidence

but thanks to the work of the Ministry for Gozo that

acknowledged a huge program during these days of joy,

which program spread across Gozo and that it surely hit

tastes of everyone.

The Minister for Gozo stated that the owners of

establishments and restaurants were very satisfied

with the influx of people in this period and praised the

structured and thoughtful way of how the program was

worked on, Ministry for Gozo. Caruana said that these

results fill up with courage to organize more cultural

level events in Gozo in the next few days and months.

Minister Caruana recalled how this cultural program has

already been launched which program is available on the

visitgozo.com site

The CEO of the Gozo Tourism Association Joe Muscat said

that on these festive days the tourism performance in

Gozo was a very good one. From reports we have from

various categories in the tourism sector on the Gozitan

island, it seems that the Christmas period and the first

of the year were the best in recent years. The number

of visitors in Gozo was evident with the Gozitan hotels,

which reported a very good demand for accommodation,

while the farms also reported that they had a good

occupation especially at the end of the year. The demand

in the accommodation was from both the domestic

market and the foreign market. Another sector that

reported a good holiday period was that of restaurants.

This category had very demanding days during the week

between Christmas and New Year.

Joe Borg, on behalf of the Gozo Business Chamber, said

that the 'Christmas in Gozo' campaign organized by the

Ministry for Gozo has definitely met its expectations. Borg

said that Gozo was advertised as the ideal place for a

person to enjoy these festive days, which definitely had a

positive impact. MBR

Credits/Photos: MGOZ



Friday 29 th March, 2019

The Palace, Sliema








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