Interview with Antoine P. Borg,

MEP Candidate p.06

Socialists’ Election Dilemma:

Stick or Twist p.10

Interview with Meinhard Platzer,

co-CEO of LGT Bank p.18

Holly Branson in “Meet the Author” series

with Michelle Obama p.26


ISSUE 49 | 2019

Newspaper Post

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Together we thrive

Malta Business Review


Issue 45


Holly Branson “Meet the Author” series tells us more

about other author's journeys and what inspired them

to write their books






Interview with Antoine P. Borg, MEP Candidate



Exclusive interview with PM Dr Joseph Muscat by Florian Eder

and Maia’ De La Baume thanks to MBR/POLITICO collaboration



Jane Evans speaks about what inspires her to keep pushing for

greater visibility




Matthias Bergman talks about European peace and stability

ahead of the EU elections




Schams El Ghaniemi tells us that the best way to fight

messaging from activists like Steve Bannon is to talk to people



Take from One-on-One interview with Jeremy Hunt, U.K.

foreign secretary






Mr Platzer discusses the importance of Austria for the

bank, its future ambitions and philanthropic endeavours



A candid conversation with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of

South Bend, Ind., who wants to be the first member of his

generation to run the country








Mary Downing Manager of the MIC speaks about the

MIC over the past years and the context it is going to be

working in over the coming months




Claire Coe Smith tells us just how the Austrian

economy thrives on the strength of its SMEs





Malta Business Review


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"Your Attitude Not Your Aptitude Will

Determine Your Altitude.”


– Zig Ziglar

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.

G Sampath, in his column in The Hindu, takes on a satirical tone about

the recent data leaks by Facebook and Aadhaar. He talks of how the

state of India is so poor that if people were asked for their information,

they would willingly cough it all up in exchange for a few bags of rice.

He asks for just one thing – no more new cards and schemes and the

need to link all your accounts so as to be able to enjoy your basic rights

as a citizen of the country. Lately, Indian emigrants have been arriving

in droves in Malta, seeking jobs, internships and work for meagre pay

and living.

This April’s Fool’s Day the joke seems to be on us. Around the world,

April Fool’s Day comes once a year, but we Maltese seem to enjoy

celebrating it every day, same as Indians do, they just call it achhe din. I can cite several instances

where Maltese are being fooled every single day – but I rather shy away from that temptation for

the moment!

That we must raise concern regarding the dearth of jobs in Malta is no April fool’s joke. The reasons

being, a messed up government-private sector relationship, the glitches in the construction and

building, the failure to protect our green environment, no ease of doing business, and most

importantly the lack of trained students and quality educational institutions. If we churn out useless

graduates by design, is it any surprise that business community doesn’t want them? Overall, we need

a real set of reforms where the government steps back, reviews education curriculum and lets the

private sector grow and breathe with more value added benefits to micro-enterprise and SMEs. Also,

the education system has to be rejigged to create incentives for blue-chip corporates, top academics

to get into education, research and development, and getting the shady guys out.

Facebook needs to take complete responsibility for all the content on its site. The website and the

messaging platform it owns now – Whatsapp – are oceans of private information and the origin

of innumerable fake news. As they are extremely influential platforms, they must work as media

companies adhering to all journalistic processes concerning accuracy, fairness, disclosure, and

labelling. To be in the Media Business and survive, you have to be a dedicated Media Company.

In hindsight, it should have always been clear that the power to influence people, preferably

anonymously, would eventually be misused by someone passing off fake news as real. There is now

reason to believe that the Russians may have done that ahead of the 2016 US elections. Fake news

is a global problem. According to a recent report in the New Straits Times, Facebook and WhatsApp

are the biggest sources of fake news in Malaysia. According to Wired, WhatsApp has a big fake news

problem in Brazil. In India, fake news is an even bigger problem on WhatsApp than it is on Facebook.

And In Malta, similar trends are have taken shape.

I spoke earlier of my fears for the world of the future will grow into. I dread the prospect of a world

in which the next generation could no longer affirm – for it is an affirmation, an act of faith to be true

to what love has revealed but reason cannot secure – that even the most terrible evildoers, those

whose characters appear to match their deeds, who are defiantly unremorseful, and in whom we

can find nothing from which remorse could grow, are owed an unconditional respect, are always and

everywhere owed justice, for their sake, rather than because we fear the consequences if we do not

accord it to them. I dread the prospect of a world in which we no longer even find it intelligible that

those who suffer radical, degrading and ineradicable affliction could be accorded a respect that is

without trace of condescension, and thereby kept fully amongst us, mysteriously our equals.

So let’s work for a better world, with better media, better reporting and factually better stories.

Enjoy this month’s absorbing read, full of exclusive interviews with high profile personalities.

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.

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Malta Business Review


Fighting for a closer and united EU

Interview with Antoine P. Borg, MEP Candidate. This is the first time he will see the European

elections as an MEP himself. Antoine tells us Malta needs better representatives to stand and speak

for our needs and wants, maintaining that reforming the European Parliament should be a priority

for an ever closer and united EU.

MBR: You have been blogging a lot for a

few years about life in Malta, politics and

the lack thereof (from both sides of the

field). What has motivated you to run such

a blog and deal in political controversies,

and what is your opinion today about life

in Malta?

APB: It wasn’t a blog like Ms Caruana Galizia’s

blog was. I did not publish many times per

day or comment on news in real-time. It was

a collection of articles which I wrote because

there are few well-researched political

articles. Many people write their opinions but

few quote proper sources to show how they

reached their conclusions. This is frustrating

because I cannot tell if they are making

sense. This led to my articles which rely on

evidence and detailed sources. Maltese life is

more politicised than ever before because of

social media echo chambers. We also focus

on politics more than is healthy. Elsewhere,

national politics is a fraction of the news

but here it’s all there is. We must move

away from petty-minded partisan politics,

especially at European-level.

"Our MEPs let us down.

They do a great job

of representing their

party’s interests in

Parliament, but they

don’t represent us

MBR: After a lot of thought and reflection

what has been the decisive factor that led

you to take the plunge to run for the MEP

elections next May?

APB: That is simple: Our MEPs let us down.

They do a great job of representing their

party’s interests in Parliament, but they

don’t represent us, the people, even though

we elected them. Furthermore they don’t

represent Europe’s interests here in Malta.

Communication between the electorate and

the Parliament should be a two-way street.



Malta Business Review

This is my main rationale - I want a better

representative, so I am working to be

that representative.

MBR: When you were preparing your

application you found out that it is much

easier to open a new party instead of

running as an independent, from a practical

point of view... why is this so and will you

indeed be running under a new party?

APB: There are minor administrative points

which make life simpler especially with

funding. There are long-term advantages

too which I intend to leverage later. I have to

point out European elections elect people to

Parliament. Running under a party banner is

irrelevant because we don’t elect parties. My

focus today is on getting elected and for that

I need to market myself. I am not going to

waste time marketing the party first, and then

marketing myself. That’s counterproductive.

MBR: Being a realist why are you not

expecting to win or fare super well in such

elections, and what, in your opinion, are

your challenges and drawbacks which you

face against seasoned political opponents?

APB: I am optimistic. I think I will win. I am not

being naive; I know it’s an uphill struggle. I also

would not have bothered unless I felt I had

a chance. The biggest challenge is the party

propaganda machine. They have mass media

to set news cycles. It’s harmful to our lives and

to democracy. I don’t think facing seasoned

opponents is a drawback. I know I have what it

takes to be a good MEP. I know how I measure

up. I need to prove this to the electorate.

MBR: Giving your best shot, how will

you strive to ensure that you are firmly

positioned among the leading players and

what is the differentiating factor between

you and the other list of contenders?

APB: I have worked with the EU for eight

years where I dealt with all the main actors,

including the 28 Member States. I have

worked in four countries in the public and

private sector. I have run my own business

and I have been an employee. All this

spans space to finance to marketing to

manufacturing. No other candidate has the

same breadth and wealth of experience.

My positioning is about how I am different.

I am not a career politician. I am not looking

for fame and fortune. I want to put my skills

at your disposal. If you elect me I will work for

you - not for a party, not for a government,

and not for an ideology.

MBR: How do you intend to transfer the

blogging success into the fiercely hot

political arena?

APB: Many encouraged me to run

for office based upon my articles. My

clear explanations and research-based

conclusions are what attracted their

attention. My campaign is a continuation

of this. My manifesto is all evidencebased

rather than ideological. I am

speaking to people on their terms, in

their language about their concerns. This

works. As soon as it does not, or does not

work enough, I will change tactics. Faced

with new information logical people

change their minds.

MBR: Can you describe briefly what should

the European Union stand for and where

do you think it is currently failing in its

mission and objectives?

APB: The Union should stand for stability

and continuity. It already does but it’s

not obvious to the electorate. This must

change. I would also argue the Union

needs to shape up and make up its mind

about the future. It does not make sense

for the Union to control countries’ budgets

when it does not cut its own waste. It is

ridiculous to have a Union which is not

sure if it wants “ever closer union” or at

what pace. Clarity helps. For this, it needs

proper leadership and direction.

"I have worked with the

EU for eight years where

I dealt with all the main

actors, including the 28

Member States

MBR: Could you name three topics and

state why these should have top priority for

Maltese voting in the EU?


• Migration. As a frontier country on

a porous border, this is a legitimate

concern for us.

• Pollution. As a small country pollution

affects us all because there is nowhere

to escape to. Having a plan which makes

sense for our size but pushes for great

changes in our environment is necessary.

• Economics. Our country's economy is in

good shape. We could not have built this

ten years ago in the grip of a European

recession. We need strong European

structures for the Euro to prevent

another continental recession.

MBR: What is your position on the green

economy, energy, construction, corruption,

meritocracy, illegal immigration, hunting

and harassment in the workplace?

APB: An economy focused on our

environment is a must.

1. If we use R&D funding to its fullest

extent we can become a major player.

Energy is part of this too if we choose to

be a research centre in solar energy, for


2. Construction has got out of hand. A

proper holistic planning strategy with

proper inputs from all stakeholders is


3. Corruption is a symptom of a larger

problem. If I cannot get what I deserve

through genuine means, backhanders

become a viable option. This becomes

normalised when it happens a lot.

We need a concerted effort to focus

on fairness to move towards a more

meritocratic society.

4. Illegal immigration is a problem for all

countries and all frontiers. We need to

focus on the causes of this problem, not

on the victims reaching our shores. They

are symptoms of the problem. The real

problem is the criminal traffickers.

5. Hunting is a genuine pastime in many

countries. I do not practice it because

I do not enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I

do not want it. As long as society can

prevent abuse, I do not see why lawabiding

people should not hunt.

6. Harassment is a horrible issue. I’m proud

to sign up to the #MeTooEP pledge.

I find this behaviour distasteful and I

endeavour to end all of its forms in the


MBR: What are the impacts of the EU

elections on the future European and what

do the EU elections mean for Malta?

APB: The EU elections will continue to shape

the Union for the next decades. Without

solid leadership, Europe will be rudderless in

a stormy world. This does not bode well for

the future European. For Malta, this means

ensuring the Union does not take us places

we don’t want to go. Malta needs better

leadership in Parliament because these

elections are our future. MBR

All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2019



Malta Business Review



Elections 2019

Every five years EU citizens choose who represents them

in the European Parliament, the directly-elected institution

that defends their interests in the EU decision-making

process. The next European elections will take place in 2019.

From 23 to 26 May 2019, people in the EU

vote for the next European Parliament. By

voting in the European elections, people

living in the EU get to choose the 705

members that will represent them in the

European Parliament until 2024.

To protect European democracies from

foreign actors spreading misinformation

or misusing personal data, MEPs are set

to introduce financial penalties for pan-

European political parties and foundations

that deliberately breach data protection

laws and regulations. They are also

likely to condemn attempts by Russia,

China, Iran and North Korea to influence

political elections and provide support for

extremist movements.

Recent cases like the Facebook /

Cambridge Analytica scandal have shown

how misuse of personal information may

undermine democratic processes. The

new rules have already been informally

agreed by member states, and are set

to be in place before the May 2019

European Elections. MEPs will also vote

on a resolution that takes stock of the

EU’s latest efforts to counteract hostile

propaganda by foreign actors, in general,

and promote new technologies to deal

with propaganda and fake social media



The Committee wants the EU and

its member states to adopt a firm

response to tackling the increasingly

sophisticated tools used by opinion

formers and state-controlled institutions

to spread disinformation, for example via

private messaging apps, search engine

optimisation, artificial intelligence and online

news portals and TV-stations.

The draft resolution also strongly

condemns the increasingly aggressive

attempts of Russia, China, Iran and North

Korea to undermine the “normative

foundations and principles of European

democracies and sovereignty of all Eastern

Partnership countries,” which influence

political elections and provide support for

extremist movements.

The resolution also recommends:

· All EU countries that continue to

deny the existence of disinformation


The European

Parliament once more

encourages the EU

institutions to be more

active in countering

hostile disinformation.

We have also invited

all Member States to

evaluate the situation

within their territories.

This report recalls the

need to prioritize this

issue at EU level. It

proposes a number

of recommendations

on how to change

the approach of our

institutions, improve

coordination or address

the role of artificial

intelligence and

new technologies in

advancing this threat”:

said EP rapporteur

Anna Elżbieta Fotyga

(ECR, PL).

and hostile propaganda, as well

as its impact on public opinion,

should recognise them, evaluate the

situation within their territory and

take proactive measures in order to

counteract and debunk it.

· The EU and its member states should

consider developing a legal framework

both at EU and international level

for tackling hybrid threats, also

covering targeted sanctions against

those responsible for orchestrating

and implementing disinformation

campaigns, the actions of social

media companies, messenger services

and search engine providers should

be regulated to ensure their full


· Technology companies should invest

more in tools identifying propaganda

and ensure better identity checks of

platform users, in order to eliminate

botnets as well as reducing financial

incentives for those who profit

from disinformation, outsourcing

propaganda and use of multiplying

tools by hostile third parties should

be investigated in more depth,

publicly naming the perpetrators and

the goals they seek to achieve, and

also publicising all debunked cases

of hostile propaganda accompanied

with a detailed factsheet, urgently

turning the EU’s East StratCom Task

Force into a fully-fledged unit or

even a bigger structure within the

European External Action Service

(EEAS), as well as providing all three

EEAS Strategic Communication Task

Forces with adequate financial and

personnel resources, and assisting

accession countries and partners in

the EU neighbourhood in their efforts

to counteract hostile propaganda and

disinformation activities. MBR

Credit: EP/Valletta


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Malta Business Review







By Florian Eder and

Maia De La Baume

Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat | John Phillips/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Party mulls whether to remain

on the same course or be open

to an alliance that could include


Power or ideology, that's the choice

facing Europe's Socialists.

There's a debate raging among Socialist

leaders about their approach to

May's European Parliament election.

Should they stick to their guns and

fight an uphill battle — the polls put

them in second place, well behind the

conservative European People's Party

— or open themselves up to potential

alliances with other forces, including

Emmanuel Macron's En Marche, even if

they don't agree on everything?

It's a problem that national center-left

parties across Europe also face, as they

struggle to cope with their traditional

conservative rivals as well as upstarts

from across the political spectrum.

Judging by this weekend's Party of

European Socialists' election congress

in Madrid, the problem is far from being

solved. Malta's Prime Minister Joseph

Muscat told POLITICO that his European

allies must plan for a center-left powergrab

after the election — but also that

he fears his advice would be ignored.

There is a chance, Muscat said, that

a center-left majority can be formed

in the next European Parliament. For

that to happen, "we need a coalition of

progressive forces from [left-wing Greek

PM Alexis] Tsipras to Macron. I totally

subscribe to that point of view," he said,

adding: "Will that sort of coalition be

reliable, [will it] have enough numbers

and a cohesive program? I honestly

don't know right now. But that's

definitely my preferred option."

"Some would say it's a

leap for the Socialists

to be talking about

potential partners when

they should be simply

trying to survive

However, Muscat advised against taking

a "more radical approach." Following

pure Socialist doctrine "works when you

don't [have to] take decisions. It doesn't

work when you are in government. And

I'm not too sure that it works in order

to take the government," Muscat said.

With just three months to go until the

election, time is not on the center left's

side, and neither are the numbers.

Katarina Barley, German justice minister

and her Social Democratic Party's

lead candidate for the EU election,

told POLITICO "we’ll have to stretch

ourselves" to win, and is worried about

the impact of losing the British Labour

MEPs as a result of Brexit. The EPP

doesn't have the same problem since

the British Conservative Party is part

of the European Conservatives and

Reformists group. Still, Barley added

that "the interest is huge" among voters,

"and that is very encouraging, I can

feel it everywhere. The events are full.

There’s awareness."

More than social justice

Muscat has been in office for six years

as head of a Labour government. His

recipe to get into power, and stay there,

is to embrace, don't fight, capitalism;

don't be shy to tackle migration; and

strike alliances with other political

forces, even if they are only partly likeminded.

"Bringing about social justice

is not fighting market forces but trying

to harness the market forces," he said.

"I think so much time is wasted in us

saying ... how we will distribute wealth,

when the first issue is how to create








Malta Business Review


France's President Emmanuel Macron and Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

wealth." Voters want to know "where is

the money coming from."

Muscat urged his European party to

move away from their "classic comfort

zone of social justice, of equality and all

the rest," adding that these aims are "in

most cases universally accepted today"

and no longer a unique selling point.

"We need to attack in areas where we

are not seen as credible enough," he

said. "The creation of wealth, security,

immigration. We should be the common

sense party for immigration ... I think

a sensible immigration policy includes

sensible border protection." Muscat said

he knows many in the EU-wide party are

"not too enthusiastic" about embracing

his advice, "but this should not be an

excuse to quit saying what we think."

Betting on Timmermans

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch former

minister who is now Commission first

vice president, was officially elected

the PES's candidate for the Commission

top job in Madrid. "We too easily

renounce power," Timmermans told

POLITICO, unlike the EPP, which he said

is "obsessed with power. Otherwise

you can't explain why [Hungarian Prime

Minister Viktor Orbán's party] Fidesz is

still a member of this family."

"We are at No. 2 in the polls. But I want

us to do a proper campaign, and then

we'll see," Timmermans said, indicating

that he doesn't want to accept second

place and divide up top jobs with the

EPP, as has long been the case. "Others,

such as the EPP, say 'shouldn't we sit

down now and see' ... No, no, no, I

don't do that, absolutely not. I want to

become the No. 1," he said.

The PES manifesto promises "leaving

behind the neoliberal and conservative

models of the past," which in some

delegates' view would exclude an

alliance with Macron.

"It’s not surprising that

Macron is taking his pick

of the S&D group. But if

we are solid enough, we

won’t be prey

Udo Bullmann, who leads the Socialist

MEPs in Parliament, put strong

emphasis on traditional left-wing topics

and called for "a social revolution to

save our planet" in his congress speech.

"There needs to be shift" in European

politics, Bullmann told POLITICO

and "we'll start negotiations with all

democratic forces" after the election.

But "we don't want a cheap deal, no

backroom solutions." Some would say

it's a leap for the Socialists to be talking

about potential partners when they

should be simply trying to survive.

“The Socialists have lost influence and

combativeness in the reactor core of the

EU,” said Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP

and one of the S&D's vice presidents.

“It’s not surprising that Macron is taking

his pick of the S&D group. But if we

are solid enough, we won’t be prey.”

Guillaume said this time, top jobs in the

EU “won’t be shared in an automatic

way” — and some of the lesser roles

look appealing. According to Guillaume,

the Socialists would like to have

influence “over any job that is created

around eurozone governance issues.”

Muscat also believes things will be

different this time and warned against

falling back into the "simple solution"

of EPP and Socialists sharing out the

important roles. Be careful what you say,

and do, he advised, as "usually it's the

junior coalition partner that suffers." MBR

This interview supplied to MBR was first

published on POLITICO.eu

Courtesy: POLITICO


EASIPIK 050319




easipik@maltapost.com | www.maltapost.com/easipik

Malta Business Review


The EU is under

attack from the far

right. Here’s how I

learned to defend it

By Schams El Ghoneimi

At citizens’ debates in France I found the

best way to fight messaging from activists

like Steve Bannon is to talk to people

The story of my life is, in some ways, the

story of Europe. My father emigrated from

Egypt to France in 1986, one month before

I was born. My French mother fulfilled her

dreams of becoming an English teacher after

having grown up in the Calais region looking

at the cliffs of Dover. Together they worked

hard to give their children a bright future in

a free, borderless, united Europe. I grew up

with this dream, which has partly become

a reality. But I am not sure my own children

will get to enjoy the privileges of belonging

to the EU in the same way – if at all.

So I decided to go on a debating tour of

France, to better understand what makes

us still believe in the strengths of the EU, as

well as the fears some people have. I quit my

job in Brussels at the European parliament

to travel to small towns and villages in 30

of France’s départements and take part in

discussions with local people about Europe,

immigration, Brexit and Frexit. I have now

held more than 60 such debates, ahead of

the EU-wide elections due in May. Here are

some of the lessons I would like to share,

and which must surely hold true elsewhere

in Europe too.

First, we must listen to one another.

Immigration and identity are real topics,

but they mask other economic and social

grievances that concrete policies can and

must address. People want change, and

understandably so, but the risk is that they

will seek it regardless of who’s promised it.

I deliberately held four debates in places

where 53% of voters had cast a ballot

for Marine Le Pen in the 2017 French

presidential election.

I once found myself listening to an angry

man telling me how “African and Arab

immigrants can’t integrate”. All the while,

I thought of my Arab, Muslim, immigrant

father who wakes up every day before I

do, works six days a week saving children’s

lives as a doctor, his accent an endearing

reminder of Egypt. I sat there and listened

to the man’s concerns and then respectfully

confronted his arguments with facts such

as there is no connection between race and

crime. But the truth is, I was lucky enough

that he’d shared his views in the first place.

This at least allowed for a genuine exchange

of ideas, and it made him feel listened to.

Bridging the gap between EU institutions

and citizens requires better work at a

grassroots level. I know from working in

the European parliament, at the heart of

Europe’s democracy, how worried most

people are about the rise of xenophobia and

Euroscepticism, and how hesitant they are

about addressing this head-on. But travelling

to reach out to voters can contribute to

shifting their mindsets. Shunning that effort

and keeping to the “Brussels bubble” is a

huge mistake because it allows the far right to

monopolise public discourse, or set its terms.

After David Cameron called for a

referendum on EU membership, the Scottish

MEP for whom I then worked, Alyn Smith,

switched from his parliamentary work to

travel across Scotland, listening and speaking

to people from all backgrounds in dozens of

events about the benefits of belonging to

the EU. There has to be more of this kind of

outreach across the continent.

Another lesson is that Brexit is not as

unique a phenomenon in Europe as many

would like to think. France’s economy,

level of education and population are

strikingly similar to the UK’s. Recent polls

show only 50% of the French are against

Frexit, while 27% have no opinion on

the matter and 23% support it. Despite

France being a founding member of the EU

and the host country of its parliament in

Strasbourg, most people I met on my tour

of the country seemed utterly unaware

that voters elect the European parliament

through direct suffrage, and that its role

in crafting EU laws is more decisive than

the commission’s. In fact, what’s struck me

most over the course of these debates in

France’s heartlands is just how few people

understand the workings and immense

benefits of EU membership.

The European parliament has direct,

tangible effects on our lives. It can weigh

on financial markets, on climate change,

on the tech giants. It is relevant in so many

positive ways – not a hotbed of bureaucrats.

Discussing its role with people in local

communities can shift perceptions. During a

debate in the region of Savoie, in the French

Alps, one lady told me she had no interest

whatsoever in the EU elections. I mentioned

Europe’s role in defending minority and

women rights, and it meant a lot to me that

she left the meeting saying she would cast

a vote for her “children’s future”. Likewise,

in discussions with supporters of the gilets

jaunes movement, I saw how making the

case for citizens’ empowerment could

actually convince people to vote in the

EU elections, not just stand in the cold at

roundabouts complaining about “elites”.

At the heart of the European project is an

endeavour to build a better future for us

all. If Islamophobia is on the rise, we should

fight it with just as much energy as we do

antisemitism, and vice versa. Indifference

is a recipe for collective failure. If you are

a citizen of an EU country, get involved.

Call your MEP, write a petition, support a

citizens’ initiative, join a party or an NGO

you believe in. Engage with your community,

especially in the face of hardship. After

the November 2015 terrorist attacks in

Paris, I organised a gathering around a

group of Syrian refugee musicians who

would arrived in Europe on rafts. Together

we founded Syrians Got Talent, who have

since given 19 concerts across Europe. We

were disparaged by Breitbart News, the

far-right website set up by Donald Trump’s

then presidential campaign strategist, Steve

Bannon. We just went on, building trust

between locals and refugees.

The fight for a united and strong EU is a

worthwhile one. Debating with people

in small localities throughout France has

reminded me – and hopefully others – that

the power of the European project lies

in its citizens, in transcending national

borders so that we can live together. Now

is the time to stand up to the anti-EU

push Bannon has launched. This May, for

the first time in its history, the European

parliament risks becoming a fulcrum for

the far right. The significance of this should

not be underestimated. MBR

Credit: The Guardian/EUROPE Now/The

Far Right

Editor’s Note

Schams El Ghoneimi is a French-

Egyptian pro-EU activist based

in Paris; he has worked for

the European parliament and

founded Syrians Got Talent, a

Syrian refugee musical group



Malta Business Review



Jeremy Hunt, U.K.

foreign secretary

Editor’s Note

Jeremy Richard Streynsham

Hunt is a British Conservative

Party politician serving as

British Foreign Secretary

since 2018 and Member of

Parliament for South West

Surrey since 2005. Hunt

identifies as a one-nation

conservative, and has

been associated with both

economically liberal and

socially liberal policies

Jeremy Hunt wants you to see him as a

sincere and cooperative partner. The U.K.

foreign secretary — who most recently

made waves in Brussels by comparing

the EU to the U.S.S.R. — answered EU

Confidential’s questions on everything

from the Nigerian election to Facebook

(whose troubles he views as a national

security issue) and, of course, Brexit.

The chat was a mixture of olive branches

and stiff upper lip, with the former going

to the 48 percent of British voters that

chose Remain in the Brexit referendum.

In a way, Hunt doesn’t have a choice: His

government’s official Brexit salespeople

have consistently annoyed Brussels, and

that U.S.S.R. comparison was distinctly

unsubtle. Hunt wants a quick resolution

to Brexit for “the sake of sanity of the

population of Britain and indeed of

Europe.” He added that “it’s massively in

everyone’s interest to get back to stability.”

As for Remainers, Hunt wants them to

wake up in 10 years and feel that the

outcome was not “as bad as I feared and

the U.K. is flourishing.” He hopes the

country will not have turned from “Great

Britain into Little Britain.” If that sounds

like a pitch to move into Downing Street

as a unifying prime minister, be aware

Hunt has no time for a second Brexit

referendum. Going through with Brexit is

“a test of our democratic credentials. Are

we really a democracy in this country?”

Beyond Brexit, Hunt said that “the

strongest alliances in history are ones

based on values,” which he said explains

why countries rallied around Britain after

the Skripal poisoning. That’s also why

he told Tokyo to back off from trying to

squeeze Britain at its moment of Brexit

vulnerability for better trade terms or

bigger subsidies.

As Mr. Global Britain, Hunt is wedded

to the idea of Britain as the world’s

crossroads: “We’re not a superpower, but

we shouldn’t underestimate our influence.

We happen to be blessed with some of

the best connections” to the U.S., EU and

Commonwealth. “I want us to be an invisible

thread linking the democracies of the world.”

What about Huawei? “We’re feeling our

way with China,” he said, just after reports

that the U.K. National Cybersecurity Centre

has deemed Huawei a “manageable risk,”

in contrast to the U.S. and Australia, which

have banned Huawei from building 5G

mobile networks there. MBR



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Malta Business Review


Interview with Meinhard

Platzer, co-CEO of LGT Bank

By April French Furnell

a turbulent time for our customers and

our employees, we were able to build up

the business due to the support of our

shareholders, our enthusiastic and loyal

employees and as a result, become a major

player in the subsequent years

Today we have around 150 employees in

two locations and rank among the most

successful private banks in Austria with a

business volume of around 8,4 billion CHF.

Citywealth spoke to Meinhard Platzer, the

co-CEO of LGT Bank AG, Zweigniederlassung

Österreich to discuss the strategic

importance of Austria for the bank,

its future ambitions and philanthropic


MBR: As Co-CEO, what do your

responsibilities entail?

MP: With a team of ten people we

established the LGT Bank Österreich in 2007

and grew up to 150 people. As Co-CEOs,

Dietmar Baumgartner and myself are

responsible for the operation in Austria.

MBR: Explain the strategic importance of a

presence in Austria for LGT Bank.

MP: Due to its origin in Austria, the Princely

Family of Liechtenstein has a very close

relationship and economic interest in the

country. E.g. the princely palaces and

museums are also located in Vienna.

LGT Bank Österreich was founded in Austria

in 2007 with offices in Vienna and Salzburg.

We offer LGT private banking solutions for

private individuals in Austria, Central and

Eastern Europe. Since its launch, LGT Bank

Österreich has developed into a major

private banking player in the country.

MBR: What makes LGT Bank stand out in

the Austrian market from competitors?

MP: One of our differentiators is our

shareholder, the princely family. The family

is our largest client with an individual

investment strategy. We offer our clients

an investment opportunity alongside the

investment strategy of the princely family.

Therefore, we successfully combine the

interests and goals of our customers,

owners and employees. The focus on our

business model results in a high financial

stability and a high creditworthiness that

is confirmed by S&P and Moody's. As an

internationally active private banking and

asset management group, LGT has the

ideal size to combine local advice with a

global network.

"We follow the

development of

the underlying


blockchain, but we

do not consider

cryptocurrency as an

asset class

MBR: What’s next for LGT Bank Austria?

What are your ambitions?

MP: Our ultimate ambition is to fully satisfy

our customers through a strong customer

and advisory approach. Since 2007, our

asset base has been growing at an average

annual rate of more than 20 per cent and

we intend to continue growing at this level

in order to become the premiere provider of

private banking services in Austria.

MBR: How has the bank developed over

the past 12 years in Austria?

MP: We started 2007 from scratch with a

small team of about 10 people in Vienna.

Although the following year 2008 was

MBR: What are your views on

cryptocurrency? Do you anticipate a

growth in interest among owning crypto

among your client base?

MP: We follow the development

of the underlying technology, blockchain,

but we do not consider cryptocurrency as

an asset class. Therefore, we do not offer

investments to our clients.

MBR: Tell us about your impact investing

options for clients? What drives clients to

choose impact investments?

MP: Sustainability is a core value within

LGT, which is an integrated part of our

investment process. We offer various

sustainable investments. All our investments

are rated according to ESG criteria. We

have a dedicated team for impact investing.

Therefore, we offer debts and equity

investing opportunities and believe that

high returns correspond on the long run

with high values having an impact on the

environment and society.

MBR: Tell us about the bank’s

philanthropic endeavors.

MP: LGT's CEO H.S.H. Prince Max von und

zu Liechtenstein founded LGT Venture

Philanthropy in 2007 with the mission to

improve the quality of life of disadvantaged

people, contribute to healthy ecosystems

and build resilient, inclusive and

prosperous communities.

We have our own team in Austria that

deals with all aspects of philanthropic

endeavours. Therefore, we offer customers

special worldwide offers in which they can

invest. M-KOPA Solar, for example, is one

organisation that we support within the

philanthropic framework. This organisation

brings light to Kenya. In Kenya, more than

five million households have no electricity.

Therefore, expensive kerosene is burned

in lamps at night, which provides little light

and releases harmful particles. M-KOPA now

supplies millions of households with solar

power and at the same time makes a profit

with its sustainable business idea. MBR

Courtesy: Citywealth

All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2019




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Malta Business Review


Could This 36-Year-Old Indiana

Mayor of Maltese descent

Topple Trumpism?

He is a veteran, he is openly gay, he is reviving a Rust Belt city:

A candid conversation with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South

Bend, Ind., with Maltese descendants, who wants to be the first

member of his generation to run the country


Could Pete Buttigieg, a Rhodes scholar

and Navy veteran who came out as

gay in 2015, be the first millennial

presidential candidate?

Pete Buttigieg is perpetually on the move.

When the South Bend, Indiana, mayor

spoke to MBR courtesy of Rolling Stone, he

was en route to a local speaking gig while

sorting out his thoughts for a big speech the

next day that had just come up at the last

minute. “Just got a call today from [Sen.]

Dick Durbin, asking me to fill in for Joe Biden

at Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair,” he

says. “Talk about some shoes to fill!”

The symbolism could not be missed: The

septuagenarian Democratic eminence,

under doctor’s orders, was handing the

mic to the 36-year-old upstart he might be

squaring off against in the 2020 presidential

primaries. If Buttigieg tries to make the

oceans-wide leap from running a small Rust

Belt city to running the United States, as

many expect, he will offer a vivid contrast to

not only the former vice president but the

rest of a sure-to-be-crowded Democratic

field — and not just because he would likely

be the lone representative of the millennial

generation. “Mayor Pete,” as he encourages

everyone to call him, is a Rhodes Scholar

who left a prestigious consulting job to

return home, still in his 20s, to run for

mayor of one of America’s Top 10 “dying

cities.” Since taking office in 2011, he has

not only led an economic turnaround in

South Bend but also served a seven-month

tour of Naval duty in Afghanistan and came

out as gay in a 2015 op-ed for the South

Bend Tribune. (His wedding to Chasten

Glezman this past June was livestreamed on


It’s not exactly your classic journey to

political power. But early last year, Buttigieg

burst onto the national Democratic

scene after jumping into another race

that everybody thought he was nuts to

undertake, challenging both the Hillary and

Bernie favourites for Democratic National

Committee chair. Brimming with out-ofthe-box

ideas for a grassroots reboot of

a party still reeling from 2016, Buttigieg

ran rhetorical laps around both Tom Perez

and Keith Ellison in a candidate forum, and

scored powerful endorsements — including

from former DNC chair Howard Dean and

four other ex-national chairs — before

bowing out prior to the balloting.

Only Four in Ten Voters Would Re-Elect

Trump, New Poll Says

Barack Obama is also a fan. In an exit

interview with The New Yorker, Obama

named Buttigieg as one of four Democrats

who would lead the party forward. New

York Times columnist Frank Bruni visited

South Bend and predicted he had just met

the “first gay president.” Shortly after the

DNC race, Buttigieg launched a PAC called

Hitting Home to boost young progressives

running for local office. This fall, he will be

stumping widely for Democratic candidates

and publishing a campaign-launching book

right after the midterms.

As he rode toward another destination

on his uncharted path, Buttigieg sounded

preternaturally calm, expounding for

nearly an hour on the politics of his

rising generation and how it stands to

reinvent American progressivism. Our

conversation is below, edited for length

and clarity.

Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune/AP

BM: I have long been curious about

a line in your op-ed about coming to

terms with your sexuality: “Being gay,”

you wrote, “has had no bearing on

my job performance in business, in

the military, or in my current role as

mayor.” Maybe because I’m also gay, I

was a little taken aback by that. How

could the experience of belonging to an

often-despised minority not affect the

way you do your work?

PB: I do think we all bring our whole

personal combination of experiences to

every role that we have, and to our jobs.

I realized very early as mayor that I would

be judged, and wanted to be judged, by

how well I did the job. As a minority of

any kind, there’s a risk of being viewed

as representing your group rather than

just doing your job. I don’t get up in the

morning thinking, “How can I be the best

gay mayor today?” I get up and go to work

to make sure we are plowing the streets

and doing what needs to be done. It was

a relief when I learned, in the reaction

to what I wrote, that this is how the

community thinks about it as well.

BM: So you might agree with others

that think Democrats have gone a bit

overboard with “identity politics”?

PB: I find it frustrating when a framework

is imposed on you that asks you to

represent a part of your identity rather

than your ideas. A lot of times during the

DNC [chair] race, I would joke that as the

left-handed, red-state, Oxford-educated,

Maltese-American military veteran in

the race — well, if I tried to understand



Malta Business Review

my place in the world strictly through

identity, it would be pretty confusing for

me, not to mention for others. And pretty

hard for others to identify with too.

BM: There’s another kind of “identity”

that Democrats and pundits are always

eager to hang on candidates: where

they fit on the left-to-center scale,

whether they are in the Hillary or

Bernie camps. So let me give you a

warm-up for those endless questions:

What kind of Democrat are you?

PB: I’m a progressive Democrat. I have

never shied away from that.

BM: But people aren’t going to let you

get away with just saying that. They all

want to know more about where you

fit on the ideological spectrum.

PB: The left-versus-center framework is

becoming less and less helpful. There was

a really interesting article in Politico about

this. Positions that have been characterized

as “left” are positions that the vast majority

of people in both parties hold. That’s

true even for supposedly divisive issues.

Requiring background checks for guns, for

instance, is something 90 percent of the

country supports. How is that not centrist?

What that whole debate about whether

Democrats should go more to the center or

further left gets wrong is that the center of

gravity of the American people is way to the

left of the center of gravity of Congress, and,

in many ways, to the left of the national

Democratic Party.

BM: How did we get this idea of what

“centrism” means — or the idea that

Democrats can only win by tacking in

that direction?

PB: In the 1990s, it represented a

correction of sorts, a recognition that the

country had entered a conservative era

after the liberal period from the 1930s to

the ‘60s. A lot of people viewed a move to

the right as a way to capture independents,

and, in some ways, it was at that time. We

still have to reach independents to win. But

doing it is no longer as simple as looking at

the Republicans and getting halfway there,

if it ever really was.

Mayor Pete at South Bend International Airport in

2014 after returning from a seven-month tour of

duty with the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan

Conservatives in my generation have

had a much better relationship to their

first principles. Every young Republican

in Washington has their volumes of Ayn

Rand and Milton Friedman. And you could

draw a direct line to their politics, at least

before the scrambling that happened with

Trumpism. The left has become the side

with less philosophical cohesion and less of

a connection to guiding principles. We have

spent the last 30 years arguing not about

whether our policies and ideas are right,

but whether they are close enough to the

Republican side.

"Barack Obama is

also a fan. In an

exit interview with

The New Yorker,

Obama named

Buttigieg as one of

four Democrats who

would lead the party


Now is the potential change. We are into

what I think of as the illegible era. It’s a

good time for the left to get back to basics.

We have to understand the philosophical

basis for progressivism, then figure out

the politics, rather than the other way

around. The [Bernie] Sanders phenomenon

illustrates the power of conviction. Our

Democratic political class, for the most part,

has lost the muscle memory to design a

politics around principle.

BM: How do you define those

principles, those basics?

PB: You will hear me talk all the time about

freedom. Because I think there is a failure

on our side if we allow conservatives

to monopolize the idea of freedom —

especially now that they have produced an

authoritarian president. But what actually

gives people freedom in their lives? The most

profound freedoms of my everyday existence

have been safeguarded by progressive

policies, mostly. The freedom to marry who

I choose, for one, but also the freedom that

comes with paved roads and stop lights.

Freedom from some obscure regulation is so

much more abstract. But that’s the freedom

that conservatism has now come down to.

Or think about the idea of family, in the

context of everyday life. It’s one thing to

talk about family values as a theme, or a

wedge — but what’s it actually like to have

a family? Your family does better if you get a

fair wage, if there is good public education,

if there is good health care when you need

it. These things intuitively make sense,

but we are out of practice talking about

them. I also think we need to talk about

a different kind of patriotism: a fidelity to

American greatness in its truest sense.

You think about this as a local official, of

course, but a truly great country is made of

great communities. What makes a country

great isn’t chauvinism. It’s the kinds of lives

you enable people to lead. I think about

wastewater management as freedom. If a

resident of our city doesn’t have to give it a

second thought, she’s freer.

BM: Is this one reason people are

talking about mayors — yourself,

Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mitch

Landrieu in New Orleans — as potential

presidents, when that wouldn’t have

occurred to Democrats even a few

years ago?

PB: Part of it has to do with frustration

toward Washington. The discussion in

Washington has become so self-referential

and removed from reality. People are

aching to see their political leaders actually

doing stuff. When you are a mayor, that’s

your whole job. Working in local politics

is also a great alternative to the factfree

zone we have been living in. When

somebody calls to say, “Mayor, there is a

hole in the road,” I can’t say, “No, there

isn’t.” They are gonna call bullshit on that.

They can point to the pothole.

So there’s a connection to reality at this

moment when our politics has gotten so

untethered. When you are a local official,

when you’re a mayor, every interaction you

have with a resident is basically coming

face-to-face with your boss. Even if you are

a member of Congress, certainly a governor

or senator, you have staffers around you all

the time rather than the people you work

for. When I have to go to the grocery, just

for some beer and toilet paper, I’m going to

run into those folks and they are going to

tell me what’s on their minds.

BM: If you were running for any higher

office — whether it’s governor or

senator or president — what would you

boast about in terms of what’s been

accomplished in South Bend under your


PB: One-thousand houses in 1,000 days.

I pledged, early on, that we would either



Malta Business Review


fix up or demolish many of our decaying

structures in that time frame. We did it,

and in a way that has really strengthened

low-income neighborhoods. Beyond that,

we have reimagined what cities are even for

— promoting the idea of human exchange.

We have restructured our streets and

downtown to make for a more vibrant city

life. We couldn’t raise taxes if we wanted

to – property taxes are capped in Indiana.

Partly because of that, we have done a

lot to make government more efficient,

which is not just about technology, like the

sophisticated 3-1-1 [constituent-service

system] we created. Low-tech methods are

equally important. Every month or two, I

take a card table and go to a local school

and stay till I run out of people who want to

see me. We get so many ideas from that.

That’s the smart way for me to answer

your question. But there’s also an honest

answer: Our city believes in itself again.

All through the years I was growing up,

success was cast as having to do with

getting out of the city, leaving South Bend.

Now young people are moving in and back,

creating podcasts, launching startups and

maker spaces. We had to paint a picture

of the future that did not translate into

nostalgia. The word “again” was not part

of our vision; we never used that word.

The message from the start was, “The

Studebaker plant isn’t coming back, but

we are, and here’s how.” And when people

heard that message, they did not need to

be young for it to resonate with them.

I think this is important, at a moment when

we have been offered a national vision that

greatness means turning back the clock.

Resentment is not the only formula for

getting people to believe again. This is way

harder to quantify, of course. But if you

come to South Bend, especially if you were

there ten years ago, you can just tell. It’s a

different place.

BM: As you have suggested, there’s

a clear connection in all of that to

national politics in 2018, no?

PB: Americans need to believe in each

other again. Believing in other people

who are different from you doesn’t come

from talking about “let’s set aside our

differences,” or mealy-mouthed pledges to

bring us all together. It stems from coming

together and working on something hard.

This is something you pick up in the military.

I learned to trust my life with people who

have radically different politics, and viceversa.

We are in the same fucking truck, and

we are going into hostile ground, you are

not thinking about how the people with you

are different.

As a country, we have to do the same:

Come together around some pretty big

changes. Climate change. Economic change.

How are we going to end two decades of

war? What is your career path going to look

like if automation makes it necessary to

keep changing jobs all through your working

life? These challenges are frightening, but

also exciting.

"there is a failure

on our side if we

allow conservatives

to monopolize the

idea of freedom —

especially now that

they have produced

an authoritarian


BM: One of the reasons people point

to you as a presidential contender is

that, as mayor of a city like South Bend,

you must know how to speak to the

white working-class folks who rejected

Clinton and got fired up about Trump.

PB: The reason this is legitimately

important for Democrats is that we did not

used to struggle in communities like mine.

When Secretary Clinton came to town

and I helped arrange for her to speak to a

UAW [United Auto Workers] group — well,

you could tell the enthusiasm was not

what you would expect from a Democratic

presidential candidate in a setting like that.

But we have to be thinking in terms of black

working people as well as white working

people. Along the way Democrats fell into

this pattern of thinking we should have a

message for each constituency. But the

reality is that people care about issues

that are not “their” issues, quote unquote.

Elderly residents care about education.

Buttigieg at the Progress Iowa holiday party in December. His appearance

there signaled his intentions to political observers.

Women care about racial justice.

Freedom and fairness and family: When you

talk about those principles, what they really

mean in people’s lives, it will make sense

across identity groups. And it will make just

as much sense in a post-Trump world as it

will today.

BM: Which leads to the inevitable

question: Are you going to run to

succeed Trump in 2020?

PB: I have got a lot of decisions to make by

the end of this calendar year. I am focusing

now on doing everything I can this fall to

help build up state parties. But I do think

that we’re understating the generational

dynamics that are going on in politics. You

see it especially in the quality candidates

who are stepping up for unglamorous races,

like school board. It is more immediate

and personal, the younger you are. You

are going to be on the business end of

climate change, of tax cuts. You are going

to be touched more by our post-9/11 wars.

We have seen it reflected for sure in the

generational energy that’s changing how we

look at gun violence.

In trying to understand those dynamics, has

there been too much focus on democratic

socialists like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez —

and too much hoo-ha about how young

people overwhelmingly say they prefer

socialism to capitalism?

It’s a bit of a stretch to boil everything

down that way. But then again, look at

history. If I think about my grandparents’

generation, they lived at a time when the

great conflict was socialism or communism

versus capitalism. There was just an

assumption that democracy and capitalism

were inextricably tied together, one and

the same. But now we are beginning to

see some tension between democracy and

capitalism that is reflected in our politics. If

you ask younger voters, they are interested

in democracy first and capitalism second.

We may be the first generation for whom

that’s true. MBR

Creditline: Rolling Stone; Photos by Joshua

Lott/Dudley M. Brooks


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Malta Business Review


Consumers’ rights against defective digital

content agreed by EU lawmakers

• Internet platforms face incentives

to pay for artists and journalists’

work used

• Some uploaded material, such as

memes or GIFs, can be shared freely

• Hyperlinks to news articles,

accompanied by “individual words

or very short extracts” can be

shared freely

• Journalists must get a share of any

copyright-related revenue obtained by

their publishing house

• Start-up platforms subject to

lighter obligations

• The directive will not impose filters

• Creatives and news publishers will be

empowered to negotiate with internet

giants thanks to a deal reached on

copyright rules which also contains

safeguards on freedom of expression.

The deal, reached between EP and Council

negotiators aims to ensure that the rights

and obligations of copyright law also apply

to the internet. YouTube, Facebook and

Google News are some of the internet

household names, which will be most

directly affected by this legislation.

Legislators also strove to ensure that the

internet remains a space for freedom of

expression. Snippets from news articles

can thus continue to be shared, as can

Gifs and memes.

Tech giants to share revenue with artists

and journalists

The deal aims at enhancing rights

holders’ chances, notably musicians,

performers and script authors, as well

as news publishers, to negotiate better

remuneration deals for the use of their

works featured on internet platforms.

Locking in freedom of expression

Sharing snippets of news articles will not

engage the rights of the media house which

produced the shared article. The deal

however also contains provisions to avoid

news aggregators abusing this allowance.

The ‘snippet’ can therefore continue to

appear in a Google News newsfeeds, for

example, or when an article is shared on

Facebook, provided it is “very short”.

Uploading protected works for purposes

of quotation, criticism, review, caricature,

parody or pastiche has been protected,

ensuring that memes and Gifs will

continue to be available and shareable on

online platforms.

Many online platforms will not be affected

The text also specifies that uploading

works to online encyclopaedias in a noncommercial

way, such as Wikipedia, or

open source software platforms, such as

GitHub, will automatically be excluded.

Start-up platforms will be subject to lighter

obligations than more established ones.

Stronger negotiating rights for authors and


Authors and performers will be able to

claim additional remuneration from the

distributor exploiting their rights when

the remuneration originally agreed is

disproportionately low compared to the

benefits derived by the distributer.

How this directive changes the status quo

Currently, internet companies have little

incentive to sign fair licensing agreements

with rights holders, because they are not

considered liable for the content that their

users upload. They are only obliged to

remove infringing content when a rights

holder asks them to do so. However, this is

cumbersome for rights holders and does

not guarantee them a fair revenue. Making

internet companies liable will enhance

rights holders’ chances (notably musicians,

performers and script authors, as well as

news publishers and journalists) to secure

fair licensing agreements, thereby obtaining

fairer remuneration for the use of their

works exploited digitally.

Next steps

The deal must now be approved by Council

representatives and the EP plenary.

Quote from the rapporteur, Axel Voss


“This deal is an important step towards

correcting a situation which has allowed

a few companies to earn huge sums of

money without properly remunerating

the thousands of creatives and journalists

whose work they depend on. At the

same time, this deal contains numerous

provisions which will guarantee that

the internet remains a space for free

expression. These provisions were not

in themselves necessary because the

directive will not be creating any new

rights for rights holders. Yet we listened to

the concerns raised and chose to doubly

guarantee the freedom of expression.

The ‘meme’, the ‘gif’, the ‘snippet’ are

now more protected than ever before. I

am also glad that the text agreed today

pays particular attention to sheltering

start-ups. Tomorrow’s leading companies

are the start-ups of today and diversity

depends on a deep pool of innovative,

dynamic, young companies. This is a deal

which protects people’s living, safeguards

democracy by defending a diverse

media landscape, entrenches freedom

of expression, and encourages start-ups

and technological development. It helps

make the internet ready for the future, a

space which benefits everyone, not only a

powerful few.” MBR

Courtesy: EP Valletta/Yasmina Yakiomva, PO



Malta Business Review

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Powerful BI and analytics tools collect

eye-watering amounts of raw data

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decisions and direction, but the problem

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into something of value – data is only

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otherwise it’s just noise.

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Malta Business Review


Meeting Michelle Obama

By Holly Branson

It was such an honour sitting down with Michelle Obama to chat about her new book Becoming, where

she has bared her soul and shared her life in incredible detail. Writing WEconomy was one of the most

difficult but most rewarding things I have done and that’s why I started the "Meet the Author” series as

really wanted to know more about other author's journeys and what inspired them to write their books.

Image from Virgin.com

Michelle really is the most phenomenal

storyteller and from the very first

chapter I felt like I was there with her

living her life story, especially as I was

listening on audiobook with Michelle’s

voice recounting the details. It was so

enthralling and staggeringly honest.

I'm not the only one who has loved it

- Becoming has taken the title of 2018's

best seller – selling over 2 million copies in

the US in just two weeks.

During our interview Michelle was happy

to discuss everything. From revealing what

she really thinks of politics, building and

sustaining a strong marriage, her struggles

to get pregnant and going through IVF, the

impact that politics had on her family and

how her upbringing and parents shaped

her life growing up. Michelle told me how

she wanted to give people the context of

her life and introduce them to that little

girl, Michelle Robinson, from the South

Side of Chicago, who ended up in the

White House. She said that too often we

focus on the "stats" of our lives - our jobs,

what school we went to - but these aren't

the stories that help you get to know a

person. She told me that her book was

her way of sharing her own story to help

break down barriers and make the world

more accessible to the next generation.

In Becoming, Michelle shares how her

mother, Marian Robinson, would always

say we are "not raising babies – we’re

raising adults". It was inspiring to hear

how her parents always treated her

and her brother Craig equally and put

value on their voices and opinions. My

parents had similar values – my brother

Sam and I were never excluded from

the conversation and we were always

encouraged to join in. In our interview

she reveals how her upbringing had a

profound impact in shaping the person

that she is today - a powerful woman

with a powerful voice. She now uses that

voice to champion good parenting, the

importance of education and healthy

living. In one of the first lines of the first

chapters Michelle says she hates it when

people ask children: 'what do you want

to be when you grow up?', as if growing

up is finite - "as if you get to a place and

at some point that's the end and that's

sort of one of our big dilemmas that we

ask kids so early to figure out who you're

going to be at five, and seven and ten and

even 20-years-old."

"as if you get to a

place and at some

point that's the end

and that's sort of one

of our big dilemmas

Michelle encourages young people to

be open to "the swerve" - a change of

direction if you're not content with the

choices you've made. Michelle trained as

a lawyer before deciding to leave law (and

take a huge pay cut) and go and work at

City Hall, before becoming a director of a

variety of not-for-profits. She said we need

to be more open to not beating ourselves

up if we feel that we haven't made the

right first choice - because "life is long

and we can have many lives within a life".

This is why she called the book Becoming

- because we are always evolving. Having

achieved my lifelong dream and becoming

a doctor, no one was more surprised than

I was when I realised that my dreams

and passions had changed and, my life

was taking me in a different direction. A

decade on, working in business, I love

my role as part of the Leadership Team

at Virgin. I can understand first hand why

being open to the swerve is so important.

She also is incredibly honest about her

relationship with Barack - describing him

as "a unicorn, a strange mix-of-everything

man, an exotic geek". I asked her if she

could put the love she felt into words

and whether it had changed over the last

two decades. I struggled even asking this

question (due to my Britishness!) - but

Michelle was refreshingly honest. She

described how Barack was very different

from her - he had "swerved his whole life -

he was completely comfortable by it". She

said her family had grown up with solid

stability with the four of them around

the dinner table; her father had a job and

her mother stayed at home. Whereas for

Barack, he didn't know his father and his

mother travelled and was studying for her

PHD. After opposites attracting, Michelle

said she realised that it was the choices he

made with his life that really attracted her

to him: "The fact that he was a lawyer but

he cared very much about the community.

That he had taken time off to be a

community organiser, which is something

you just don't find. Young people who

were taking time out to figure out how

to help others in their own communities,

that was attractive to me. The way he

treated his mother, the way he treated

the women in his life, … when we worked



Malta Business Review

together in the law firm I fell in love with

the fact that he was kind to everyone."

Michelle admitted that her marriage has

grown and changed with all the journeys

they've had together - their jobs, families

and raising two beautiful children. We did

have a giggle when she said: "There's the

love that comes when you see the man

that you love care for your children. That's

a whole different layer of love and nothing

can replace those memories. That's

more important to me than what he

accomplished as President of the United

States, or anything that he's done on

paper. The fact that he is a good father to

my daughters is a powerful aphrodisiac."

She added: "It's a lifetime of learning and

growing, falling and recovering, together."

She also opens up about her struggles to

get pregnant, experiencing miscarriage

and going through IVF. Having faced these

challenges myself, I understand her need

to share this part of her story. When you

have a miscarriage, it is a very isolating,

upsetting experience. As I discovered

myself, once you open up and talk about it

with others you realise that more people

than you would have ever suspected have

faced similar challenges. She said she had

wished there were more people at the

time who could tell her it would be ok –

that there are happy endings - and share

their stories too.

Michelle learned the importance of

putting family first, even when in the

White House, from her mentor Valerie

Jarrett, who she talks a lot about in

the book. Valerie was one of the first

examples of a strong professional woman

in her life, who was a single parent, and

was "doing a phenomenal job as a mother

and was just a boss at work". Michelle

Image from Virgin.com

said: "I'd sit in a meeting with her and

she'd be in the midst of business leaders

sitting around the table, the mayor on the

phone, and her secretary would call and

say her daughter had just got home from

"The fact that he

is a good father

to my daughters

is a powerful


school and wanted to talk, and she turned

herself off in a second because she said 'I

will always make time for my daughter'.

So I saw how important it was that even in

the height of your career putting your kids

first was important."

A quote in her book really stuck with me,

and that is "Work with purpose, parent

with care". Being on the Leadership Team

at Virgin, I had to ask her about the role

that purpose can play in business. She

told me how as First Lady, she encouraged

the 'Let's Move' child nutrition bill

and encouraged businesses to employ

veterans. She was driven by purpose and

learned how to get her voice heard with

the maximum impact.

She said: "Corporations are citizens of

the world in the same way individuals

are. I know that that's not necessarily

how the free market works but that's

how businesses of old used to work... I

wish that businesses still had that sense

of fiduciary responsibility to the broader

society and I think we need more leaders

who think that way as well. We are in a

time when you have to tie purpose to the

bottom line."

I was so inspired to hear how she used her

voice to challenge some of the big issues

of our time and make a difference to the

lives of the next generation. Lots of people

asked on social media whether she would

ever run for the President of the United

States - and all I'm going to say is... the

answer is in the book! MBR

Creditline: Virgin/Virgin Atlantic

All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2019

Image from Virgin.com



Malta Business Review


Jane Evans, founder of

Uninvisibility, a project that aims

to raise the profile of women over

the age of 50, speaks about what

inspires her to keep pushing for

greater visibility.

Being over 50 is the best time in a woman’s

life to accelerate her career.

No more periods. No more babies. And no

more ‘male gaze’. The benefits of middle

age are manifold. But best of all – when

you give in to the inevitable physical effects

of gravity you get something you never

dreamed you’d ever have – gravitas.

In 1982 I was one of the first girls to

embark on a career after equal opportunity

legislation came in to force. I was one

of a handful of creative girls who got

into advertising. We weren’t massively

welcome but we had a right to be there.

That was when there was no such thing as

paid maternity leave, sexual harassment

legislation, or political correctness. We were

expected to ‘man up’ and play the game.

But we didn’t know the rules. We couldn’t

help each other either. There could only

ever be one of ‘us’ in every creative

department. We never met. So we all played

our own game, and by some miracle a few

of us survived.

After a glittering 30-something-year creative

career I was completely unemployable. I

was too experienced, too opinionated and,

apparently, totally irrelevant. I was expected

to do what ‘the man’ has always wanted

me to do. Since time immemorial, once a

woman has raised her children she has no

further use to society she is expected to

disappear. But we got the right to work in

professions opened up by generations of

women who fought greater odds than us.

We are the first generation where most of us

have earned our own living for most of our

lives, we have become the most powerful

consumer group on the planet – we buy 47

per cent of everything. And we are still in

uncharted territory as nobody has mapped

out women’s careers post-menopause.

This is criminal. Because millennial women

have not actually come as far as we fought.

Especially when it comes to the vital job

of populating the planet . Young women

are still making massive life decisions

based on fear. Fear of missing out

on their career or fear of missing

out on having kids. Or the worst

– fear of not doing either very

well. These fears come from

centuries of career trajectories

based on a man’s physiology,

life style, and life span.

We are now going to live

well into our nineties and

at the moment that’s not

looking pretty for women.

The stats are still bad. 48

per cent of women don’t

have a private pension. In our

day, white men only ever spoke

to other white men about things

like investments and pensions, and

we, women, were never part of the

conversation. We didn’t have enough

to tuck away anyway. Our generation

had never heard of the pay gap so it

was enormous and with zero maternity

entitlements we had years of reduced or

no income.

Today, women have no choice but to carry

on working. So, us battle-hardened, (and

many battle-weary) battle axes have to strap

on the armour again to break new ground.

We have to show the world that this is the

most powerful time in our lives. That raising

families gives us leadership, business and

time-management skills that cannot be

surpassed. We need to start to count raising

a family as business experience not a career

break. And we need to stop expecting

women to be superwomen. You can have it

all. But not all at once.

we have become

the most powerful

consumer group

on the planet – we

buy 47 per cent of


Being over 50 means your ideas are no

longer wild guesses, they're based on years

of empirical evidence. Your hunches now

come from highly tuned instincts. And you

have hit the canvas so many times there

is not anything they can throw at you that

you cannot handle. It has been proven that

women over 55 make the best bosses and

startups founded by people over 50 are

more 2.2 times more likely to succeed than

those with founders in their 30’s.

With AI, robotics and machine learning

about to radically change the world, we

need ideas that will benefit everyone and all

voices be heard. Analysts talk about a need

for lifelong education to prepare us for a

future of multiple careers. There’s a massive

talent pool of pioneers with practical

experience of building the future ready to

retrain and show the way.

But first you have to see us. That’s what the

Uninvisibility Project is all about. MBR

Courtesy: Virgin; This is a guest blog and

may not represent the views of Virgin.com.



Malta Business Review



Malta Business Review


My grandfather was a Nazi. I have seen why we need the EU

By Matthias Bergmann

Since the second world war, there

have been three generations of

Germans living in peace. That

peace is taken for granted

Until his death in the early 1990s, my

grandad was a committed Nazi. Most of

his elder brothers died in one night at the

battle of the Hartmannsweilerkopf in the

first world war. In a bitterly traumatised

interwar Germany, defined by hatred

against foreigners, Jews and democracy as

well as delusions of national grandeur, he

was unemployed for most of the 1920s. He

joined the Nazi party early, and volunteered

to fight in 1940. He became a staff sergeant

in the Wehrmacht and led a so-called “antipartisan”

unit on the eastern front, and

participated in the capture of Kiev.

We believe he took part in the September

1941 Babi Yar massacre, in which more than

33,000 Jewish inhabitants of Kiev were shot.

Until his death he would rant about Jews, the

French and the perfidious Albion. He never

left the country again and he’d be in a near

panic when coming close to a border.

My maternal grandfather, meanwhile, was

a teacher from Duisburg. When he went to

war he left his wife, two children, his camera,

his library and all hope of survival behind.

He survived three years on the eastern front

but never played music again, never took

up photography again. He was a broken

man. While he was away, my grandmother

remained in Duisburg. She was “bombed

out” three times, meaning that her flat or

house got a direct hit. Until her death, the

sound of sirens would send her into a panic.

My father was born in 1944. Growing up in a

postwar Nazi household, he started reading

early and joined the Scouts. He discovered

the ideas of democracy and civil rights, and

became a Social Democrat with a boiling rage

against anything even remotely rightwing.

My mother, born in 1947, met him in 1968

at university. In a West Germany still defined

by large numbers of unrepentant Nazis,

participating in anti-Nazi protests became

their defining political experience. They built

a home for five children, full of music, books,

art and a clear understanding that being

German came with a responsibility to be very

careful with your politics.

During my childhood I was evacuated four

times because of unexploded second world

war bombs. Since then I’ve been evacuated

twice for the same reason. During our

school years we visited Verdun and Bergen-

Belsen. We read not just Goethe, Schiller

and Mann, but also Anne Frank’s diary and

Eugen Kogon’s Der SS-Staat. We thought our

teachers concentrated a bit too much on the

Third Reich sometimes.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989,

my parents woke all the kids. We sat in front

of the TV sipping our first champagne and

watching our parents cry. My father told me

that this was the day the second world war

truly ended, and that our European friends

made it possible.

Growing up, all five of us were sent abroad

multiple times. We learned several languages

and were encouraged to travel far and wide.

My best friend is a Jew from Manhattan living

in Norway. Every time I visit her I cherish

the thought of my grandad turning in his

grave. A united Europe is our legacy. The EU

is a champion of peace and prosperity, not

an economic project. While Nato ensured

the absence of military conflict in western

Europe, the EU and its predecessors actually

built the peace, integrating European nations

into a peaceful coalition of cultures bound

by a common set of values and defined by a

common future.

Watching my father play with my nephew,

I am witness to the first three consecutive

generations of Germans living in

uninterrupted peace. Ever. Nobody is going

to endanger that unopposed. Looking at my

grandfather and my father, the most striking

difference in their formative experiences is

defined by the narrative surrounding their

sense of national identity. On the one hand,

self-pitying revanchist nationalism, based on

the “stab in the back” myth and absolving its

leaders and the nation from any responsibility

to face the consequences of their actions; on

the other, determined, hard-fought realism,

based on the acceptance of responsibility and

the acknowledgment of crimes, embracing

liberalism and democracy as the core of one’s


That modern national identity is not based

on a guilt complex, but on the understanding

that identifying as German requires an

acknowledgment of all aspects of our

past. Identifying proudly with football

World Cup victories is nonsensical without

careful consideration of our warmongering

history. Likewise, a sense of responsibility

for those crimes is meaningful only when

combined with a proud identification

with accomplishments such as Germany’s

participation in the creation of the EU.

The EU today is the hard-fought culmination

of decades of peace-building and political

integration. It’s far from perfect, but it

remains the only successful format of

democratic, international integration. In

a globalised world, it enhances national

sovereignty through combining its members’

economic and political power, while

guaranteeing its citizens unparalleled degrees

of freedom and stability.

In recent years, a wave of far-right parties has

washed over the EU’s member states, from

the Sweden Democrats to Germany’s AfD

and the Rassemblement National in France.

And I realise that school classes about the

rise of the Third Reich may not have been

overdone after all.

An enthusiastic Berlin crowd react to a speech

by Adolf Hitler in September 1939. Photograph:

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

In the UK this surge, combined with decades

of nearly unopposed anti-EU rhetoric, led

to Brexit. The post-fact, if not anti-fact,

discussion of Brexit, with its ever-escalating

extremists and ineffectual moderates,

provides not just scary parallels to Germany’s

Weimar Republic and its doomed struggle

with extremism. It also requires the EU to

protect itself and its member states from any

risk to its institutions and political process.

Compromising its core political achievements

over economic interests would be the

pinnacle of political irresponsibility.

A common European future that

acknowledges our fractured past and

defines our collective path can only be built

through a joint process, based on rules and

responsibilities. Leaving the EU means leaving

behind that common process and also that

peace-building identity. It is not just sad, it is


• Matthias Bergmann is a German lawyer

based in Hamburg

Credit: The Guardian/EU



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Malta Business Review




Interview with Ines Silva, Chief Officer Human Resources, MAPFRE Middlesea

MBR: Could you give us an overview

on the key developments that have

influenced MAPFRE Middlesea’s

operations over the last couple of years

and your market position today?

IS: MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. is a

subsidiary of MAPFRE Internacional

(which owns 54.56% of shareholding).

Being part of one of the largest insurance

companies in the world allows us to

access technical know-how and best

practices which are at the cutting edge of

the industry. We have presence in many

countries, we are one of the top five

European insurers and the largest one

in Latin America with 36,000 employees

all over the world. In Malta, we are

the market leaders in life and non-life

business with an exceptional growth in

the last years, but we do not take this for

granted as we are always looking forward

to improve our processes, to deliver new

IT systems and to provide more benefits

for our employees and customers with a

different, flexible and open approach.

MBR: MAPFRE has jumped four places

and now ranks as the best company to

work for in Spain within the insurance

company category, according to the

Merco Talento ranking. What can you

attribute to this success and how is HR

significant towards this factor?

IS: We know that our success depends

on how we understand and face the

external and internal environment. We

live within an environment which is

progressing rapidly. Technology is the

main driving force which is initiating

a lot of changes. Every day, society is

getting more digitalized and connected.

So, we must be able to overcome

ourselves so as to compete in this

new reality not only as people but

also as an organisation. HR, but also

the management team, has been key

in all of this change process through

a proactive approach, enhancing

the ownership of each employee in

order to boost the achievements,

performance and commitment of all

the team. We work this out collectively,

trying to create a collaborative work

environment, where active listening

and communication should be a daily

rule. It is important to point out that

recently through the GPTW (Great

Place to Work), one of the most

important HR surveys worldwide, 91%

of our employees have highlighted

that our management team is quite

approachable and easy to talk to

and our welcoming and pleasant

environment was also emphasized. This

is the confirmation that we are in the

right direction but obviously there is still

room for improvement. We can learn

and become better every day.

MBR: You specialized in Personnel

Management, but the economy is now

turning to be knowledge-driven. What

is the impact on the field of HR and how

much has the field really been changed?

Where do you see Human Resources,

as a field, in five years’ time? What

would be the key attributes of an HR

professional, in today’s market?

IS: HR has started with a pure

administrative role a long time ago,

then it was converted to emphasize

more on best practices: how to get the

best talent, how to retain it through

the most adequate training, the best

compensation polices and a better work

redesign; how to communicate better;

etc. All of this is HR and whatever we

want to put on the list. Over the past

fifteen years, we have moved from the

activity per se to the outcome linked

to the business to deliver precisely

business value aiming for a successful

organisation. Nevertheless, the

business on its own is not enough. The

current context, much more complex,

of globalization, excessive regulation,

inflation, deflation, new demographics,

economic uncertainty, IT and Industry

changes, requires much more

awareness, focus and adaptability from

our end.

In this same context, we are feeling much

more demand. Our role as HR is tougher

than before; we have to do more with

less, we have to be productive and agile;

we have to support our management

team helping them to move fast and

managing costs. One of the main

challenges is definitely how to deal with

the emotions, how to provide care giving

and enhance well-being. We have to

deliver the greatest experience to our

employees with heart and soul.

To summarize, as HR people we must

look at the future, being able to

understand how to create value to the

business from outside to inside and

to measure our progress through the

analytics. Through this direction we can

assume our role as strategic partner,

change agent and employee champion



Malta Business Review

of the organisation. I believe that HR

best serves the company’s interest by

building a strong and common culture,

developing the right skills, boosting

leadership and innovation whilst taking

into consideration the data available.

MBR: Can you talk about the

employee’s benefits which you have

enhanced towards more flexibility

and work life balance, and what are

the main benefits- How much is it

important to get everyone together

at the workplace, to engage better

with each other, culture and the

organisation? You have recently

reached the agreement with the Union

regarding the new version of the

Collective Agreement. Can you discuss

this and explain to our readers what

has been achieved and what are the

various benefits accrued? Can you

share some of your best practices that

have enabled MAPFRE Middlesea to

create a healthy and happy place to


IS: Over the past years, we have been

working in a new direction: having an

organisation which is much more flexible,

collaborative, transparent and agile. We

have refurbished our offices with the

aim to have better and more open work

spaces. We have given more flexibility

in terms of working-times in order

to enable our employees to manage

their time, always in alignment with

and in accordance to the business’ and

colleagues’ needs. We have also worked

on technological mobility to create a

workplace which is moving towards

more remote working. We shall be able

to carry out our work at any place and

at any time. We know that the most

important thing is no longer the actual

presence of the employee. What matters

is to work by achievements, developing

and being part of projects which add

value to the company: focusing on the

outcome rather than on the input,

deciding how, when and where to work

to be more productive and effective. It’s a

completely different culture, trust based

and results driven where the mutual

commitment, trust and flexibility are

vital: more control of our time but much

more responsibility towards achieving

our results.

For that reason, we have assessed

our employees’ needs through an

organisational diagnosis, surveys,

interviews and focus groups. We have

implemented some improvements

and also effective changes which are

now reflected in the new Collective

Agreement, namely extension of

maternity and paternity leave; allowing

fresh mothers to work on reduced

hours, with a minimum of 30 hours per

week, for a period of one year following

six months from birth of their child,

whilst maintaining their full pay; active

ageing, appreciating and rewarding

our senior people. Besides flexi hours,

the Company has also introduced new

summer times as well as Company

closure on the 24th and 31st December

afternoons for our employees to

enjoy with their families. We have also

announced a new sick leave benefit

for employees who have children up

to thirteen years of age which allows

them to utilize sick leave whenever their

children are sick, up to a limit of 30 days

per year.

"One of the main

challenges is

definitely how to deal

with the emotions,

how to provide care

giving and enhance

well-being. We have

to deliver the greatest

experience to our

employees with heart

and soul

In addition to these flexible measures, we

have also improved our perks: hospital

cover applicable to all employees;

introduction of a pensions plan

(already defined but still pending to

be launched): transport allowance and

also negotiations to attain agreements

with parking facilities suppliers around

Floriana to acquire parking spaces for

our employees, apart from other ones

already in place.

MUBE, our Union, has played a very

important role. We have closely together

in order to boost a more flexibility, trust

and results driven approach.

MBR: Insurance as a people-driven

business. But isn’t that largely true for

all sectors, nowadays? Or is it more

applicable for MAPFRE Middlesea?

IS: Absolutely. I would say, all businesses

should be society focused and driven by

people for people. Customer experience

is definitely a priority for many

businesses, including insurance and

MAPFRE is not an exception.

One of our strategic pillars is precisely

customer relationship management.

Our customers spend and want to spend

time interacting with us which means

that our company’s brand depends

also on the greatest experience that

the clients encounter with us. Over

the past years, like other insurers,

we have invested in analytics and big

data to deliver better service to the

customers, ensuring a more human-like

experience. It’s also an opportunity to

drive new business and also to connect

to other business partners, especially

with digital capabilities, and change the

traditional setting. If we want to remain

competitive and relevant to consumers

today and tomorrow, we must

innovate rapidly and be guided by the

motivations and interests of our clients.

And this is the main challenge. We must

develop a strategy based on flexibility

and profitability, especially over the

growing influence of Millennials. I would

apply this holistic view externally and

internally with our employees. If we

want to attract and retain talent we

must provide the greatest experience

to the employee in his journey within

our organisation. Employees expect

a productive, engaging and enjoyable

work experience which is key so as

to obtain a strong emotional and

psychological attachment to the

organisation. As already mentioned

throughout this interview, one of our

main HR challenges is how to highlight

the employee experience.

MBR: In terms of growth and product

development, what do you believe

will be the major drives in the coming


IS: Our 2019-2021 strategic plan focuses

on Client Orientation, Excellence in

Technical and Operational Management,

and the promotion of our Excellence in

Culture and Talent. Digitalization, new

teams and reinforcing our knowledge

will help us to continuously deliver a

better service. We have digitalized our

claims process and we are now working

to extend this to the underwriting and

issuing processes. Today, all business is

digital. The more we design innovative

and improve technology tools, the more

successful we will be in business. MBR

All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2019



Malta Business Review


Gaming licensees

have till end of

month to comply

to Responsible



By Thomas Haahr

According to the Player Protection

Directive issued by the Malta Gaming

Authority, "licensees shall employ

measures to detect, and identify problem

gambling, using analytical tools and,

or behaviour monitoring systems, with

pre-designed or evolving parameters and

customer interaction staff for detection of

problem gambling.

This requirement needs to be

implemented by the 31st of March,

meaning that by that date, licensees need

to able to demonstrate that they do have

systems/tools in place that can help them

identify and detect problem gambling.

"Responsible gaming and compliance have

become a pinnacle of operator brand

integrity, as regulators and operators are

aiming to make online gaming safe and

fun. This is where NOUV and its recent

appointment as exclusive resellers for

Tomobox' product SafeTrac in Malta come

in," explained Andrew Naudi, Technology

Partner at NOUV.

Andrew Naudi explained how Tomobox's

SafeTrac is an innovative software

product, that seeks to make gaming

safer and assists gaming companies in

ensuring that their players' interests are

safeguarded at all times. It is driven by

Artificial Intelligence technology that

helps compliance officers in gaming by

flagging in real-time instances of possible

compulsive or addictive behaviour. By red

flagging these players, companies can

help their customers play safely without

jeopardizing their futures.

"This was our first event organized at

the Microsoft innovation Centre and we

have had tremendous feedback given

that the subject matter is currently very

topical. During this event, two main

aspects clearly stood out namely that;

player protection is non-negotiable and

the MGA expects licensees to adhere

to the player protection directive and

regulations, and that NOUV, together with

Tomobox are proposing a perfect solution

which, by means of AI technology, can

assist compliance and responsible gaming

personnel in gaming companies to perform

their duties efficiently and effectively,"

added Andrew Naudi. MBR

The Malta

Gaming Authority

signs MoU with

the Swedish



The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

and the Spelinspektionen (the Swedish

Gambling Authority) have entered into a

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

for the purposes of enhanced cooperation

between the two authorities in furtherance

of the authorities’ public policy objectives

and mutually common values.

The aim of this MoU is to facilitate ongoing

close communications between the

two authorities, and to support effective

sharing of information on matters of

mutual interest and policy areas. Both

authorities have also agreed to provide

the best possible operational assistance

to one another, on a continuous basis,

in accordance with both their respective

procedures and regulatory policies.

The Director General of the Swedish

Gambling Authority, Camilla Rosenberg

said that: “Many of the companies that

have received a Swedish license also have

technical equipment and a license in Malta.

By opening the communication channels

between the authorities we become

stronger in our supervisory activities. This

is the beginning of a broad and long-term

cooperation, and our plan is to initiate

corresponding collaborations with more

gambling authorities in Europe.”

The MGA’s Chief Executive Officer,

Heathcliff Farrugia, also expressed his

satisfaction on this agreement whereby he

stated that: “The MGA is always actively

seeking to foster relationships with

fellow authorities and other international

regulatory bodies as we firmly believe that

such relationships are key to reaching our

objectives, especially in the area of remote

gaming which is fundamentally crossborder

in nature.

This MoU, signed with the Swedish

Gambling Authority, is an important step

towards achieving both our respective

regulatory goals in vital areas of mutual

interest, especially since the MGA and

the Swedish Gambling Authority share a

significant number of operators licensed

by both regulators. We are eager to start

this mutually beneficial journey with our

Swedish counterpart.”

The MoU came into force as of the 4 of

March 2019. MBR

Creditline: MGA



Malta Business Review



The European Commission is launching

a new Product Safety Award to reward

businesses that excel in product safety.

We welcome businesses - small and big -

to apply for this award in the categories

of online sales and childcare products.

Winners will receive their Awards this

September from European Commissioner

for Consumers, Věra Jourová.

All consumers expect and deserve safe

products. This new award will give

recognition to companies who put

product safety at the heart of what they

do, going beyond EU requirements. It's for

those who innovate and invest to make

their products and services safer, raising

the standards for consumer protection

across Europe.

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner

for Justice, Consumers and Gender

Equality said, “We want to encourage

more companies to make product safety

a priority and to keep safe our children,

our families and friends. There are still

too many dangerous products that are

recalled or cause harm. The Product

Safety Award is a chance for companies

to be rewarded for going the extra mile to

keep their customers safe.”

Online shopping and childcare products

in the spotlight

This year, companies can apply under two


Online sales: companies selling online

that pay particular attention to the safety

of the products they offer can apply

for the award. We are looking for best

practices and processes for example when

recalling dangerous products or detecting

them before they go on sale.

Childcare products: companies putting

children’s safety at the top of their

priorities can apply for the award. That

may be, for example, the way they

design a baby’s cot, the creative way in

which they communicate risks to their

customers, the outstanding quality of

their after-sale services, or the ways they

integrate product safety into the supply

chain and life cycle of the product.

Recognition for businesses big and small

There are 12 Awards available: six for

‘online sales’ and six for ‘childcare

products'. A Gold, Silver or Bronze award

will be given to three SMEs and three

larger companies in each category.

Winners will receive their Awards from

Commissioner Jourová in a ceremony

in Brussels this September and will get

a chance to share their ideas and best

practices with their industry peers.

Apply now to win an Award!

To apply, companies must be based in one

the 31 European Economic Area countries

(the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland,

Norway and Liechtenstein). Winning an

award will give companies widespread

recognition, a boost to their reputation

and a chance to position themselves as an

industry leader in product safety.

Applications are open now until 7 April

2019. MBR

Press contacts: media@product-safetyaward.eu


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Malta Business Review





As the Microsoft Innovation Centre (Malta) enters its seventh year of activity, it continues to play a prominent role

in the local tech community as it shifts and evolves alongside the newer technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, IoT,

Blockchain, Gaming and AI. MARY DOWNING Manager of the MIC speaks about the MIC over the past years and the

context it is going to be working in over the coming months.

MBR: How have you seen the MIC’s

role change over the past years?

MD: The role of the MIC has evolved

and so much has changed in the

scope of the MIC since it opened in

February 2013. Innovation inherently

requires ongoing change and what

we are noticing is that companies and

organizations tend to learn and react

more readily to trends, events and

consumer demand. Whilst business

incentives provide additional motivation

to exploit knowledge and change,

the MIC monitors those triggers that

motivate the investment in new learning

that is needed to innovate. As Malta

seeks to become the “Digital Island”,

the MIC has been increasingly busy

"the MIC remained

true to Microsoft’s

corporate mission

to empower every

person and every

organization on the

planet to achieve


hosting tech workshops for developers,

IT professionals and Start-ups who are

showing more interest in Microsoft’s

Azure Cloud services.

MBR: The MIC has been focusing more

on tech start-ups....

MD: Yes. In fact, since Microsoft

replaced the Start-Ups BizSpark

programme with the all new Microsoft

for Start-ups initiative in February of

last year, the MIC has been focusing

more on tech start-ups, bringing new

and exciting ideas, problem solving

skills and vision for growth in all new

technologies using Azure Cloud. And

whereas over the past years the MIC

has been hosting local start-ups as they



Malta Business Review

developed Apps, Big Data platforms and

end-user services, now we are seeing

international start-ups coming through

the MIC and locating to the island.

These new young start-ups are focusing

on Gaming, Blockchain and AI, so the

shift has definitely changed.

MBR: The MIC’s first years were very

active in the community. Has that


MD: Not really. On a community level,

the MIC remained true to Microsoft’s

corporate mission “to empower every

person and every organization on

the planet to achieve more” and has

continued to work closely with many

organisations. Our business is about

empowering people and organizations

and we do this through the utility of

the company’s computing products.

The MIC over the past six years has

delivered programmes to educate,

encourage, innovate and empower

thousands of students, teachers and

professionals and will continue to do so.

Through Microsoft Philanthropies and

Microsoft Education we plan to deliver

more programmes such as DigiGirlz

(Girls in ICT), Women Back to Work,

Entrepreneurship, Teacher Training,

Robotics, 21st Century Classrooms,

Minecraft Learning and much more.

"Hosting and

mentoring start-ups

has always been one

of the main missions

of the Microsoft

Innovation Centre

MBR: What were one of the MIC’s

major highlights?

MD: Some of the major highlights in

the MIC’s calendar last year included

the 21st Century Classroom initiative

where students have been experiencing

the use of virtual reality and Minecraft

in the classroom as a means of

promoting the use of technology as a

more effective teaching tool. We have

organised virtual reality experiences

round Malta and Gozo, Coding classes,

Minecraft and LEGO Summer School,

our annual JAYE Social Innovation

Challenge centred round the application

of VR, Web Development, Robotics in

Business, we supported the PITCH startup

winners at SiGMA, hosted numerous

training workshops and Tech-Spark

Community events and delivered talks

and Masterclass sessions on Blockchain,

AI Bots, Cognitive Artificial Intelligence.

We have also been particularly active

with promoting IT amongst young

females. A DigiGirlz Event saw the

participation of 80 girls on the STEM

programme whereas a mentoring event

held during BPW International Women

Day saw the participation of 1500 girls.

MBR: Can you give us some figures

registered by the MIC?

MD: Hosting and mentoring startups

has always been one of the main

missions of the Microsoft Innovation

Centre. Over the last year, the MIC

hosted 25 technology start-ups bringing

the total of start-ups hosted at the MIC

to over 160 since it started operating.

However, with all this success, the

Microsoft Innovation Centre remains

a work-in-progress as new clients and

partners are coming on board. There

is only one unifying aspect – the will

to deliver innovative ideas that bring a

positive impact on the community and

to Malta.

Start-ups wishing to find out more about

the MIC and what it offers may contact

Mary Downing at the Innovation Centre

on b-madown@microsoft.com MBR

Credit: Corporate Identities



Malta Business Review


Betsoft Signs Content Agreement with

Next-Generation Gaming Group Bethard

About Betsoft Gaming:

In a move that further strengthens its

international presence, Betsoft Gaming

has entered into a strategic content

partnership with next-generation gaming

company Bethard.

With the GAP platform acting as an

intermediary, Bethard will integrate a wide

range of Betsoft’s signature cinematic slot

games. The list includes new titles like

Faerie Spells, Chillipop and many other

standout entries in the Slots3TM series

– all of which will become available to

Bethard players in Germany, Sweden, and

other European jurisdictions.

Founded in 2012 by a small team of

professional gamers, Bethard has since

become a destination for players who

demand the best in sports betting, live

casino, and slots. With a driving vision

to do things differently, Bethard has built

its reputation on a balance between the

ultimate player experience and a strong

commitment to responsible gaming.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces

with Bethard to take gaming to the next

level,” says Francesca Raniolo, Sales

Executive for Betsoft. “As seasoned

gamers, the Bethard team know what it

takes to deliver a state-of-the-art casino

experience, and as a key content partner

to many of the biggest online casinos

in Europe, we have the products, the

platform, and the experience to support

their ambitions.”

The agreement also established a

framework for the integration of new

Betsoft content over time, giving Bethard’s

players the chance to experience new

innovations as they are released.

“Betsoft has proven itself to be a reliable

partner, and their team has a huge amount

of experience in producing high-quality

content,” explains Bjørnar Heggernes,

Casino Manager for the Bethard Group.

“We are convinced that our players will

love the games that this initial agreement

gives us access to, and our aim is to build

a long-lasting partnership with Betsoft.”

Betsoft Gaming develops

innovative casino games

for desktop and mobile. Its

portfolio of more than 190 RNG

titles reaches players through

partnerships with many of the

iGaming industry’s leading

operators. Under the SLOTS3TM

banner, Betsoft is elevating

players’ expectations; these

cinematic slots blend rapid,

gratifying gameplay with an

audio-visual excellence more

typical of movies and videogames.

An early entrant to mobile

gaming, Betsoft launched the

ToGoTM collection in 2012. More

recently, Betsoft revealed the

ShiftTM environment, which

supports truly cross-platform

development at the same time

as increasing performance,

drastically reducing file size and

streamlining integration.

Casino Manager, Betsoft’s

comprehensive back-office

platform, rolls reporting,

management, marketing,

promotion, and administration

into a single compelling package.

Betsoft has held a Class 4 license

with the Malta Gaming Authority

since 2014. The company’s games

and RNG are both independently

certified in more than 15 different

regulated markets, including Italy,

Germany, and Romania.

About Bethard Group:

Bethard Group is based in Malta and Sweden. The company is currently licensed in Malta, Denmark, the UK, Sweden and Ireland. Work

on a licence for a state licence in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and a national license for Spain has been initiated. The company is also

actively seeking licences in several other markets and expects to have a licensed presence in most key European markets already by 2020.

For further information, please contact: media@bethardgroup.com.

For images and other relevant material, please go to www.bethardgroup.com/press.



Malta Business Review


Fantastic food in a cozy ambience, tucked away in a narrow street behind the Valletta ramparts

Lovely little restaurant in the heart of the

city, small and set up in two levels. Street

level has just a couple of tables but in the

cellar you have another five tables plus

views into the old well. Service may be a

bit slow, however this is compensated by

the great staff, fabulous food and wine

list make for a lovely evening for couples

and diners wishing to dine in a family

atmosphere and let the small interior

surrounding take you back in time. Run

by Chef Patron Charles Bone, the menu

offers first class Maltese culinary dishes.

The dessert may need upgrading. That

said, the exposed ancient brickwork

makes for a very cool ambience and a

sense of dining somewhere with a very

long history, leaves visitors wondering

what those walls had witnessed during

their long existence! Il-Horza is one

unique restaurant right in the heart of our

magical capital city Valletta. The Chef and

the owner of this place compliments the

character of this place. Born and raised in

the city he is one who truly holds Valletta

and his kitchen in his heart. MBR

Food and ambience

Local cuisine, Mediterranean,

European, Vegetarian Friendly











For reservations please call on:

21226936; 79238269


La Giara - Sicilian Cuisine

Excellent tasty culinary delight in a great relaxing atmosphere in Republic

Street, Valletta

La Giara is a snug and homely restaurant

just below Casa Rocca Piccola, frequented

by both tourists and local business

people in corporate attire. There is a

very interesting glass panel on the floor

which shows through to an underground

bomb shelter from the world war. The

food is great, fresh and cooked to order

and their service is professional. Mains of

seafood risotto, linguini lobster, swordfish

and lamb are all excellent, with a good

selection of well-cooked vegetables and a

find selection of wine. This venue is ideal

for special occasions, romantic dinners,

large groups, and business meetings. The

Sicilian character is humble yet evident.

Cosy, homelike and traditionally Sicilian

location. Excellent, welcoming and

friendly service. Highly recommended.


Food and ambience

Local cuisine, Mediterranean,

European, Vegetarian Friendly







Very Good



For reservations please call

on:21231255; 99496010;





Malta Business Review


Global compacts on migration and refugees:

MEPs discuss follow-up By Estefania Narillos


MEPs of the Civil Liberties and

Development Committees and the

Subcommittee on Human Rights will

exchange views, also with representatives

of the International Organisation for

Migration (IOM) and the office of the

United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees (UNHCR), on the best way to

continue the process initiated back in 2016.

The New York Declaration for Refugees

and Migrants, adopted by the UN General

Assembly in September 2016, marked the

beginning of multilateral negotiations for

the adoption of two non-binding global

compacts on refugees -with the objective

of a fairer sharing of the burden and

responsibility for hosting and supporting

refugees worldwide- and migration,

aimed at ensuring adequate treatment of

migrants in vulnerable situations.

On September 19, 2016, the United

Nations General Assembly unanimously

adopted the New York Declaration for

Refugees and Migrants. The New York

Declaration reaffirms the importance

of the international refugee regime and

contains a wide range of commitments

by Member States to strengthen and

enhance mechanisms to protect people

on the move. It has paved the way for the

adoption of two new global compacts in

2018: a global compact on refugees and

a global compact for safe, orderly and

regular migration.

In adopting the New York Declaration,

Member States:

• expressed profound solidarity with

those who are forced to flee;

• reaffirmed their obligations to fully

respect the human rights of refugees

and migrants;

• agreed that protecting refugees

and supporting the countries that

shelter them are shared international

responsibilities and must be borne

more equitably and predictably;

• pledged robust support to those

countries affected by large movements

of refugees and migrants;

• agreed upon the core elements of a

Comprehensive Refugee Response

Framework; and

• agreed to work towards the adoption

of a global compact on refugees and

a global compact for safe, orderly and

regular migration.

The Global Compact on refugees was

affirmed by the member states of the

UN General Assembly on 17 December

2018 in the annual resolution on the

work of UNHCR. The Global Compact for

safe, orderly and regular migration was

endorsed by the General Assembly on

19 December, with 152 votes in favour, 5

against (Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel,

Poland, United States) and 12 abstentions

(including Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia

and Romania). Among EU Member States,

Slovakia did not register its vote.

The MEPs who, as part of an EP

delegation, attended the UN

intergovernmental conference in

Marrakech to adopt the Global compact

last December, have also presented their

mission report. MBR



Malta Business Review


happens now,

Brexit has

inflicted serious

damage on UK

financial services

Whatever happens next, Brexit has

inflicted unprecedented damage on the

UK’s financial services industry – which

makes up about 6.5 per cent of Britain’s


This is the warning from Nigel Green,

the founder and CEO of deVere Group,

one of the world’s largest independent

financial advisory organisations. Mr

Green says: “The actual process of

leaving the EU itself is now increasingly

irrelevant. Indeed, even if the UK didn’t

leave, unprecedented damage to the

UK’s financial services industry has

already been done.

“Following years of uncertainty and a lack of

firm leadership from all parties, firms across

the sector have had to take precautionary

action to safeguard their interests.

“Typically, this involves relocating parts

of their business or key staff to places like

Paris, Luxembourg, Dublin, Frankfurt and

Amsterdam, or setting up legal entities in

the EU. Sometimes this has been done

publicly, but a lot has, so far, not been

disclosed, so we still can’t know the full

scale of the situation.”

He continues: “With no meaningful

access to the EU’s single market, the UK’s

financial services sector is bracing itself

for what is likely to be a long and steady

decline, ultimately losing its coveted

ranking as the world’s top financial

centre. “The lack of confidence in the

UK’s financial services sector, which

contributes around 6.5 per cent to the

country’s GDP, will inevitably hit jobs and

the government’s tax base.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The steady

drain of investment, talent and activity

away from UK financial services might be

able to be stopped, the situation might

be recoverable, but confidence needs

rebuilding fast.” MBR

Annual Pharmacy Symposium at the Aula Magna

Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer

Rights, Public Cleansing and Support

for the Capital City Deo Debattista

delivered the opening address at

the Annual Pharmacy Symposium at

the Aula Magna, University of Malta,

Valletta Campus. During the symposium,

students following one of the five

courses offered by the Department

of Pharmacy presented their final

dissertation/projects or their works-inprogress

project through oral and poster

presentations. All students participated,

including around 20 students on

Erasmus mobility. There are currently

35 students following the doctorate

programme who are coming from 13

countries. The symposium provided

an informal platform for students and

staff to network with stakeholders

on opportunities in pharmacy and

pharmaceutical technology. MBR

DOI – Jeremy Wonnacott; Universita ta’ Malta, Il-Belt Valletta



Malta Business Review


A stitch in time can save your roof

By Antoine Bonello

Spalling is the result of water entering brick,

concrete, or natural stone. It forces the

surface to peel, pop out or flake off. It's also

known as flaking, especially in limestone.

Spalling happens because of moisture in

the concrete pushing outward from the

inside and can eventually cause crumbling

and destruction of a structure.

Spalling concrete usually occurs when salt

and water mostly from dew and rain comes

in contact with the reinforcing steel of the

structure, causing oxidation or rust. Spalling

is also likely to occur due to the curing

process or the way the concrete hardened.

Carbon dioxide in the air and alkalis in

the concrete mix can also interact and

force cracking that admits water. Concrete

consists of three basic ingredients:

aggregate — which can be either rock or

stones — water and cement. Nowadays

chemical additives and binders are also

added to the mixture in order to increase

its performance properties.

Left untreated and exposed to the

elements will cause extensive structural

damage, potentially injuring the public

and damaging property. Spalling, at a low

level, is mainly a cosmetic problem but it

can lead to structural damage if not dealt

with immediately. If left untreated, damage

can occur to the reinforcing bars within the

concrete. Also, large enough fragments

could fall off which could lead to serious

consequences. Spalling is a breakaway of

concrete surface which often extends to the

top layers of reinforcing steel. Spalls may be

150 mm or more in diameter and 25mm

or more in depth, and the occurrence of

smaller spalls also possible. Spalling leaves

the concrete surface patchy and pitted while

exposing aggregate underneath. As soon

as spalling is spotted, it should be properly

repaired. Spalling of concrete affects a

broad variety of structures including framed

buildings, multi-storey car parks, bridges,

jetties, tanks and bunds. Added to that,

spalling could distort aesthetic appearance

of the structure.

All the above hassle can be avoided with a

good waterproofing protection, weather

it is a basement or a roof waterproofing

is a must in order to make sure to block

completely any water penetrating the

structure. The question one might ask at this

stage is what kind of waterproofing should

be implemented in order to be properly

protected for a long period of time.

As for roof tops the issue is totally different.

Waterproofing interventions on roofs can

be carried out quite easily. The challenge

however does not rest in the application

itself, but in what type of solution we

should opt for.

In Malta the traditional bitumen carpet

membrane is still considered a solution

to waterproof our roofs. Nowadays we

recommend the use of resin products


membrane; it is a simple yet effective

solution also ideal for the Do-it-yourself

enthusiast. The mentioned material can

be found at the Resin and Membrane

Centre home of professional waterproofing

products, where qualified personnel offer

professional advice on how to protect at

best your home free of charge.

Also professional formation courses

with regards waterproofing are now

being offered by Malta Waterproofing

Association. These seminars are open

to everyone and are regularly held

throughout the year, the upcoming will

be held between 1st and 3rd of April

2019. For further information contact the

Association on


The Malta Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association provides technical

knowledge and professional formation

to all Maltese roofers who wish to

improve their workmanship or start a

carrier in the waterproofing business.

The Association also assists its members

by providing the services of a profession

advisor when facing challenging

situations or other difficulties during

works. The Association also issues the

Certified Roofers Card to all its members.

All this is being made possible thanks

to the Resin and Membrane Centre and

NAICI International Academy. For further

information with regards the Malta

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association visit our website on

www.maltawaterproofing.com or call on

27477647. MBR



Malta Business Review

MaltaPost staff

members rewarded

for their hard work

and outstanding

performance in 2018

A number of awards were presented to

MaltaPost staff members, in recognition

for their hard work and outstanding

performance in 2018, during the company's

annual staff meeting.

MaltaPost's chairman Joseph Said also

presented the 2018 financial and quality

results and highlighted the importance of

the company's economic and social role.

MaltaPost is committed to remain the trusted

postal and logistics provider.

The chairman also emphasised the

commitment towards the company's

customers in offering an excellent service.

The company is attracting new clients while it

remains focused in facilitating the delivery of

a significant increase in packages to meet high

customer service expectations.

MaltaPost's chief Executive officer Joseph

Gafa' thanked all the company's staff for their

hard work throughout 2018. Awards were

presented by both the chairman and the CEO

of the company.

During the annual staff meeting two

retired employees, namely Carmen

Fenech and Emanuel Rapa, were

also honoured for their loyalty and

commitment towards the organisation

during their long years of service. MBR

Courtesy: Maltapost

The awards presented were as follows:

MaltaPost's chairman Joseph and chief Executive

officer Joseph Gafa' with one of the winners

Employee of the year award 2018 Stefano Ellul

Best Employee Delivery Section Rachel Magro, Noel Borg

Best Employee - Central Mail Room Claire Abela

Best Employee - Courier and Parcel Office - Stephen Zammit

Best Employee - Retail Section - Dorianne Azzopardi

Best Employee - Administration - Neil Busuttil


Best Employee - Unaddressed Mail Section - Omar Sharmarke Abdullahi

Best Employee - Document Management Section - Miriam Hili

Best Employee - Parcel Post Office - Oliver Schembri

Best Employee - Customer Experience - George Vella

Best Operations Department - San Ġwann Delivery Centre led by Ian Borġ

Best Post Office - Swieqi Post Office led by Claire Dalli

Corporate Social Responsibility Award - San Ġwann Delivery Centre led by Ian Borg

Best User of Smart Mobility Electric Vehicle - Gabriella Valna



Malta Business Review


Quo Vadis

Malta? Risk

Management in


By Major John Schembri

We live in volatile times. Risk is in

transformation, certainly at least in the

forms that we have grown accustomed

to defining, evaluating and managing it.

The tools we currently utilise to address

these risk management essentials need

recalibration and, in most cases, reorientation.

But how do we bring about

this transformational change? Particularly

in emerging and fast-growing economies

such as Malta’s, where we have yet to

come to grips with risk management in its

first iterations?

A careful look at Figure 1 makes for

sobering reflection. The World Economic

Forum macro-risk profile for 2019

clearly points towards scenarios wherein

organisations – large and small; public

and private alike - must learn to manage

a heady concoction of risk resulting from

potential hazards, threats and failures over

which same organisations may neither

have control nor might they actually be

equipped to do so. Stop. Read and reflect

upon the profile. Sobering prospects


If we now evaluate the above forecast

in the context of Malta in 2019/2020,

critically synthesising the model to

fit the specific context, we might also

ask ourselves the perfectly legitimate

question: What are the biggest risks we

face in moving forward with our National

objectives? My suggestion is that we face

at least three major challenges.

First, and most severe risk by far, is our

collective failing to actually see risk at all.

We, as a Nation, seem to somnambulate

into willful blindness. We comfortably

lie under a false illusion that Malta is

somehow immune to the large scale risks

that afflict all countries, regularly. Such a

delusion is as dangerous as it is false.

Ranking a close second is our failure to

take responsibility for managing the large

changes we are willfully engineering.

Progress necessitates change, which in

turn creates wonderful opportunities and,

at the same time, intrinsic and new risks

emerge. We clearly prefer the former

over the latter, and are unwilling to accept

that in risk, we do not get to cherry pick.

The third risk I see lies in failing to

capitalize on opportunities. The

contemporary world is highly volatile,

granted, but equally offers up

unprecedented opportunities. If we, as a

Nation, are to extract maximum benefits

from economic growth we must learn to

embrace the emerging Circular Economy,

capitalize on the strategic benefits to be

derived from Incremental Innovation and,

yes, learn to render our organisations


All of the above arguments merit

considerable debate. Alas, space is

limited. But not limited to a degree that

stops us from reflecting on National

capabilities for managing risk. After all,

how can we embrace the benefits and

opportunities of the brave new world

ahead, when we are yet to come to terms

with risk management, Mark I? MBR



Malta Business Review



Rapidly growing, innovative slots

producer, Wazdan, announces supply deal

agreement with Microgaming.

Microgaming is one of the industry’s

leading entertainment providers,

supplying a diverse, award-winning

portfolio of games to more than 800

global gaming brands. The deal will ensure

that the very best titles from Wazdan are

made available to Microgaming’s extensive

customer base, which includes some of

the biggest names in the business.

For more than a decade, the team at

Wazdan have been bringing their passion

for games to life, earning themselves

a leading position as a crowd favourite

slots developer with both players and

operators. The secret weapon for Wazdan

is their Unique Wazdan Features, which

give Wazdan games a high-tech richness

that players love and include Volatility

Levels, Energy Saving Mode, Double

Screen Mode, Ultra Lite Mode, Ultra Fast

Mode, Big Screen Mode and the Unique

Gamble Feature.

Wazdan's expert team of game developers

create innovative, technology-packed slot

games suitable for desktop, tablet and

mobile. Releasing new titles each month,

Wazdan now boasts a portfolio of over

110 HTML5 slot games. Some of their

best-known titles include Magic Stars 3, 9

Lions, Great Book of Magic Deluxe, Magic

Target Deluxe, Los Muertos & Valhalla.

All rich with Unique Wazdan Features.

Andrzej Hyla, Head of Sales at Wazdan,

says: "This deal with Microgaming is a

significant win for us here at Wazdan,

and we are excited about the potential

growth and exposure for our business.

We are pleased that Microgaming has

acknowledged the quality and player

demand for our tech-rich games. It is

an honour to be working with one of

the largest, most respected suppliers in

the industry."

James Buchanan, Director of Global

Operations at Microgaming, adds: “We are

delighted to add Wazdan to the growing

list of skilled developers supplying content

to our customers. Wazdan were chosen

for their proven ability to create innovative

slots that engage and entertain players,

and they fit in perfectly with our strategy

of bringing diverse and trusted content to

market.” MBR

For further information visit



Wazdan is a popular game producer,

developing innovative casino games

that deliver an original, fun and truly

omni-channel player experience.

Offering an extensive game library of

over 110 HLML5 slots, table games

and video poker games, Wazdan is

gaining popularity in the iGaming

market thanks to the great quality of

their games, interesting themes and

engaging gameplay. Wazdan’s game

portfolio consists of such popular

titles as Magic Stars 3, Great Book of

Magic Deluxe, Magic Target

Deluxe, Valhalla and Los Muertos

as well as amazing new and

upcoming slot games, including

Larry the Leprechaun, Magic Stars

6, and Space Spins, amongst others.

Wazdan releases new, exciting titles

on a regular basis and equips them

with Unique Wazdan Features:

innovative Volatility Levels, exciting

Unique Gamble Feature and mobilefriendly

Energy Saving and Double

Screen Modes, Ultra Lite Mode, Ultra

Fast Mode, as well the brand new

Big Screen Mode. Wazdan holds a

number of European trademarks

including a trademark for their

world’s-first Volatility Level. Their

extensive portfolio of clients includes

some of the top gaming operations

in the industry. The company is

headquartered in Malta and holds

licenses issued by the UKGC, the

MGA and complies with Curacao


Furthermore, their games use the


certified by the NMi, which ensures

reliable, fair and secure gameplay.

About Microgaming (microgaming.co.uk)

Microgaming developed the first true online casino in 1994. It has been breaking

records, breaking new ground and breaking its back in pursuit of original gaming ever

since. Developer of thousands of unique, genre-defining casino, mobile, poker, bingo,

land-based and multiplayer games, and a pioneer in virtual and wearable gaming,

the software giant hosts the world’s largest progressive jackpot network. Its products

include Live Dealer, Sportsbook, Business Solutions and Quickfire. Microgaming is an

award winner. A millionaire maker. The father of player protection and responsible

gaming. And through Microgaming PlayItForward, it is a pillar of its local community on

the Isle of Man.

Contact: Laurie McAllister, Digital

Fuel, laurie@digitalfuel.com.au



Malta Business Review





Libyan fashion company wins Young Local

Entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean

A Libyan fashion and textile company was

awarded the Young Local Entrepreneurship

in the Mediterranean Award 2019 on 26

February. The award was handed over at the

plenary session of the Euro-Mediterranean

Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) held

in the Spanish city of Seville, where 100 local

and regional leaders gathered to discuss

how to foster youth entrepreneurship,

empower women, improve governance,

strengthen city-to-city cooperation and

manage migration.

The award was given to Zimni Jdeed, a

fashion and textile company based in Tripoli

that is re-fashioning traditional clothing

with great success. The young entrepreneur

Najway Altahir Mohammed Shukri and

her brother Ali launched the company

three years ago. They now employ six

seamstresses, offering a decent working

environment for women. The first edition of

the ARLEM award received 24 applications

from nine countries.

Praising the winner, Karl-Heinz Lambertz,

President of the European Committee

of the Regions, said: “There is a desire

throughout the Mediterranean to enhance

cooperation and unlock the enormous

potential of the region. By empowering all

young people regardless of gender, we can

stir entrepreneurship and create new jobs.

Through decentralised cooperation we

are deepening integration of the region,

overcoming challenges that transcend

borders, such as migration and social

exclusion, and delivering sustainable


Lahcen Amrouch, Mayor of Argana in

Morocco and representative of ARLEM’s

co-President Mohammed Boudra at the

meeting, stressed: “Youth entrepreneurship

is a priority for ARLEM. That is why we have

launched the ARLEM Award to promote

young entrepreneurship and give visibility

to those that are not discouraged by the

difficulties of starting a new business.

We urge national governments to

simplify business legislation, reduce the

administrative and tax burden, and create

business incubators and micro-credit

schemes to boost young entrepreneurship.”

Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the

Union for the Mediterranean, said: “The

work of the Euro-Mediterranean Local

and Regional Assembly is extraordinarily

important. The Assembly represents the

people of the Euro-Mediterranean region,

more than 800 million citizens who need

our engagement and commitment to the

promotion of dialogue and cooperation. As

the territorial dimension of the Union for

the Mediterranean, ARLEM must contribute

to defining the priorities and enhancing

the visibility of the work and activities we

undertake, bringing the Euro-Mediterranean

partnership closer to the interests and

expectations of its citizens."

The delegation of 100 participants from

19 countries members visited La Cartuja

in Seville, the 1992 Universal Exposition

site now reconverted into a business park

and incubator centre that gathers 450

companies and 17,000 employees. The

Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas (ES/PES),

said: “The city council has deployed new

competencies to tackle unemployment,

focusing on youth training and improving

their employability. Seville has great human

capital. Entrepreneurship is in our city’s

DNA. That is why I am particularly gratified

that the first ceremony of the ARLEM award

to young entrepreneurs is taking place in

our city.”

During the ARLEM meeting, a report

on ‘Youth entrepreneurship in the

Mediterranean’ was adopted that calls

for the strengthening of programmes

that support youth entrepreneurship,

such as MedUP!, Med4jobs and Next

Society, in order to promote economic

development on the southern shores of

the Mediterranean. The EU, the report

says, should initiate schemes to give young

entrepreneurs from North Africa and the

Middle East the opportunity to receive

training from experienced entrepreneurs in

one of the 28 EU Member States.

Rapporteur Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP),

President of Westpomerania Region,

said: “We need to facilitate young

entrepreneurship to revitalise local

communities, create new jobs, boost

economic growth and improve social

welfare. We call on the EU, the UN and

national governments across the Euro-

Mediterranean region to create vocational

programmes and develop micro-credit

schemes for young entrepreneurs. Local

and regional authorities should be fully

involved in market labour and employment

policies as they are best placed to

implement programmes that fit the needs

of their communities.”

A report on ‘Governance and transparency

in the Mediterranean’, led by Lütfü

Savas, Mayor of Hatay in Turkey, was also

adopted. It calls for greater decentralisation

in the region, as a way to address the

current distrust of public authorities. By

empowering local governments, citizens can

more actively participate in decision-making.

The ARLEM defends higher budgets for local

governments and tax collection capacities to

invest in new projects in priority areas.

Co-organised by the Conference of

Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR)

and the Association of European Border

Regions (AEBR), a workshop on migration

was also held focusing on the role of local

and regional authorities in receiving and

integrating migrants.

Discussions on the Nicosia initiative, a

decentralised cooperation programme

between EU and Libyan Mayors, also

took place held. Following the successful

exchange programmes in sustainable fishing

with the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and

water management with Murcia, the ARLEM

aims to extend the Nicosia initiative with

more funds and exchange programmes, and

has welcomed new partners such as the

Galicia regional government. MBR

Credit: David Crous




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 purchasingpower


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.

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 between the Fair

Work Commission, that sets the rate, and

the unions who want more.

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.

"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.

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 prices.

“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.”

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.

Wage increases haven’t kept up with inflation.

Image: US department of Labor

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

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


Malta continues to advocate in favor of an integrated

and holistic approach towards ocean governance

“Today’s fragmented approach towards

ocean governance, where different UN

agencies deal with overlapping issues in

a disjointed manner, needs to change if

we want a secure and sustainable future

for our oceans and seas. This is why Malta

continues to advocate in favour of an

integrated approach to international ocean

governance and a holistic approach to

the problems of ocean space”, Minister

for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion,

Carmelo Abela told lecturers and students

during the opening address at an

International Workshop organised jointly by

the International Maritime Law Institute and

the Embassy of Japan, with whom Malta has

excellent ongoing bilateral relations that will

soon strengthen and taken to a higher level,

as a result of the Government’s decision to

set up an embassy in Tokyo.

The theme of the workshop was “The

Role of Maritime Law in the East Asian

Maritime Relations” and was addressed by

Professor David Attard, Director of IMLI,

as well as by Ms Hitomi Sato, Minister

Counsellor from the Embassy of Japan.

The focus of the international workshop

was on issues affecting international

maritime law and ocean governance in

East Asia. Professors from the WMU-

Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute at

the World Maritime University, Sophia

University and King’s College London

delivered lectures to the participants.

In his speech, Minister Abela stated that

as an island State in the centre of the

Mediterranean, with a long and rich

maritime history, it is only natural for

Malta to have a vital interest in all matters

related to the Sea. “As an outwardlooking

nation, Malta’s foreign policy

has, throughout the years, placed an

automatic focus on seeking to contribute

towards furthering the development of

international ocean governance.”

He recalled Arvid Pardo’s vision that

inspired the adoption of the United

Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

which to this day, remains the overall legal

framework for all activities concerning the

sea. This vision is still relevant in the context

of the challenges of our times including

the dynamics in the East Asia region.

“Historically, the sea lanes in East Asia have

been key for trade and remain economically

vital for billions of people throughout the

world. As we are all well aware, the policies

pursued by regional powers have profound

implications for regional – and global –

security and stability. The maritime domain

in East Asia presents several challenges with

prospects for either conflict: or cooperation”

Minister Abela highlighted the fact that

diplomacy has an important role to play

in turning challenges into opportunities

for cooperation through dialogue and

confidence building. “We need to promote

common goals which could, in turn,

promote positive effects on the overall

relations between countries. In this respect,

we welcome the efforts of regional actors –

including the co-host of today’s workshop,

Japan – to enhance maritime security. Other

initiatives, such as the one taken by India in

2015 with the aim of fostering connectivity

and the development of the blue economy,

are also commendable.”

Minister Abela also highlighted IMLI’s role in

propagating the rule of law through more

than thirty years of excellence in the service

of international maritime law. MBR

Photos: MFTP;



The Finance Minister is presented

with OECD report by OECD Head

of the Public Procurement Unit

The Minister for Finance Prof. Edward

Scicluna held a meeting with the Head

of the Public Procurement unit at the

OECD Public Governance Directorate

Mr. Paulo Magina who presented a copy

of the OECD report commissioned by

the Government of Malta entitled ‘Reengineering

the Department of Contracts’.

In 2016 the Government of Malta had

instituted a new regulatory framework

which transposed the 2014 EU Directives

covering Public Procurement Concession

Contracts and Utilities Contracts, which

were intended to increase effectiveness,

transparency and accountability.

Following this significant movement

forward in the regulatory landscape a

raft of changes in the organisational

and operational areas pertinent to

public procurement followed suit.

Major improvements continued in

the area of e-procurement and also

through decentralisation of the public

procurement processes with the

establishment of Ministerial Procurement

Units (MPUs), similar to other European

countries, like Portugal. The European

Single Procurement Document (ESPD) was

also introduced and good progress was

made in the areas of environmental and

social procurement.

Most of the reforms undertaken to date

are aligned with the abovementioned

EU Directives, but some reforms

such as the establishment of MPUs

fall under the discretionary power

of the Member States. To achieve

the desired improvements in Malta’s

public procurement efficiency and

effectiveness it is acknowledged and

recognised that a concerted and

planned programme of change will be

able to accelerate and enhance the

programmes already underway.

This report is a result of a joint initiative

of the Government of Malta, OECD and

European Commission. The Finance

Minister was accompanied by his Chief of

Staff, Dr. Paul Debattista and Permanent

Secretary, Mr. Joseph Caruana. MBR

Courtesy: Ministry of Finance


Goz oexpo





A 2-day B2B/B2C Trade Show,

Conference, Exhibition and

The Gozo Business Awards 2019

Under the auspices & patronage of

The Hon. Minister for Gozo

Dr. Justyne Caruana

Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June 2019

0930 – 2000hrs & 0730pm onwards

The Royal Lady Suite & The Grand Ballroom

Grand Hotel Gozo, Mgarr Harbour


The Breitling Cinema Squad

Charlize Theron

Brad Pitt

Adam Driver






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