MBR_ISSUE 50_APRL_lowres

bdarmanin

COVER STORY

ONE-ON-ONE

EVENT STORY

SPECIAL FEATURE

EP ELECTION SPECIAL

Interview with Robert Micallef,

MEP Candidate making a

difference p.06

EMISSIONS CUTS AND

ECONOMIC GROWTH

Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of

Stockholm admits that climate has

become a major political issue p.16

LEADERS WHO CREATE A HIGH

PERFORMANCE CULTURE

David J Dingli’s take during the

“Breakthrough Leadership

Conference” p.20

HOW THE UK LOST THE

BREXIT BATTLE

A full account of the Brexit Story

by Tom McTague p.26

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 50 | 2019

Meet Robert Micallef: Malta’s EU Presidency Negotiator,

candidate for the European Parliament

Newspaper Post


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Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

Issue 50

06

COVER STORY

EP ELECTION SPECIAL

An interview with Robert Micallef,

MEP Candidate making a difference

6

SPECIAL FEATURES

26 HOW THE UK LOST THE BREXIT BATTLE

The course of Brexit was set in the hours and days after

the 2016 referendum. Here is a full account of

the Brexit Story by Tom McTague

30 BLUE ECONOMY IN EUROPEAN REGIONS:

A GATEWAY TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND JOBS

Members of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT)

of the European Committee of the Regions met in Gozo

with the blue economy on top of the agenda

32 THE GLOBAL SEARCH FOR EDUCATION:

CREATIVE CHANGE MAKERS FOR A BETTER WORLD

C.M. Rubin & Emer Beamer write about The Designathon

Method, which combines aspects of Design Thinking and

Maker Education

EU ELECTIONS

10 ELECTIONS WATCH: EU ELECTION

Your one-stop shop for 2019 EU Election news and data

ONE-ON-ONE

16 EMISSIONS CUTS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm admits that

climate has become a major political issue in Sweden

18 MALTAPOST OFFERING FREE OF CHARGE EASIPIK

LOCKER SERVICE

Recognising the ever-increasing working population,

MaltaPost is incorporating Easipik lockers into its parcel

delivery operations

16

20

BREAKTHROUGH LEADERSHIP

CONFERENCE 2019

20 LEADERS WHO CREATE A HIGH PERFORMANCE

CULTURE

Article covering presentation that Mr. Dingli delivered at

the “Breakthrough Leadership Conference” with the same

title on the 29th March 2019

SIMON

ESTATES

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

FEATURES

36 RULE OF LAW

32

34 SUMMIT OF THE TWO SHORES

Investing in a #MediterraneanGeneration: Preparations

underway for Malta’s participation in the Summit of the

Two Shores

32

John Scharnz and Estefania Narillos latest on Malta and

Slovakia: MEPs warn of lack of judicial independence and

corruption

38 TECH.MT

Launch of Tech.MT in collaboration between the

Government of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Commerce

4


MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

EDITORIAL

Malta Business Review

This month we are publishing a special feature on the Brexit

vote, bringing you the story from its trumped up instigation

to the present quagmire. The UK’s economic future is

really now in the hands of Theresa May’s successor, and

the future looks forlorn, to say the least.

PUBLISHER

MBR Publications Limited

OFFICES

Highland Apartment - Level 1,

Naxxar Road,

Birkirkara, BKR 9042

+356 2149 7814

EDITOR

Martin Vella

TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Marcelle D’Argy Smith

SALES DIRECTOR

Margaret Brincat

DESIGN

MBR Design

ADVERTISING

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

Email: margaret@mbrpublications.net

or admin@mbrpublications.net

CONTRIBUTORS

Emer Beamer; George Carol; Neil Corlett; David

Crous; Florian Eder; Michaela Findeis; Ryan

Heath; Neil Katkov; Dorota Kolinska; Estefania

Narillos; Tom McTague; Michele Pace;

C. M. Rubin; Claire Coe Smith; John Schranz;

Nicholas Wallace

SPECIAL THANKS

Celent; City Wealth; DOI; European Parliament

Information Office in Malta; European Parliament,

Directorate - General for Communication/Press

Office; European Research Council; HSBC;

LinkedIn; Edwards Lowell & Co.; Morgen Europa;

Politico SPRL; Politico Playbook; PTV Group;

Taylor & Francis Group; Virgin

PRINT PRODUCTION

Gutenberg Press Ltd

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the

courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston S. Churchill

Disclaimer

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.

Sterling will rally and the UK economy would have had a

growth spurt had UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit

deal passed on the first Friday in April– but this could be

reversed if Boris Johnson becomes PM. This is the warning

from Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group,

one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory

organizations, on the day the UK was originally meant to have officially left the EU.

His comments came ahead of UK politicians voting on that fateful Friday on the

withdrawal agreement - the legally binding document that sets out the terms of the

UK's departure from the EU. In a bid to end the impasse, the government has split the

original deal into two parts: the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration.

Nigel Green notes: “MPs will vote (today) on whether to accept the Prime Minister’s

version of Brexit, face crashing out without a deal on 12 April, a much longer extension,

or a general election. No-one – really no-one – wants this uncertainty to continue.

“Since she vowed to quit, if has she gathered some more support in parliament, there

is seemingly a gradual shift towards Mrs May’s plan as it will allow the UK to leave

in, supposedly, a more orderly manner.” He continued: “Should the PM’s deal pass

on Friday, sterling will rally and the economy will have a growth spurt as pent-up

household spending and investment kicks in. “Domestic-focused small and mid-cap

stocks would outperform large caps in a stock market rally.”

He went on to say: “However, the economic future of the UK now really depends on

Theresa May’s successor. By the way, it’s not just the parliament, but all of Britain that

remains split over the long-term benefits of Brexit, and united in opposition to the

prime minister’s deal, so Nigel Green should have known this! “Boris Johnson, who is

now also widely expected to be backed by arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg amongst

others in the leadership contest, is seen as the likely winner. He would push for a

much harder Brexit. This can be expected to create more uncertainty, spook markets,

and negatively impact sterling and UK financial assets.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Whatever happens in the UK parliament with today’s

vote, or on Monday’s, many question marks remain. We don’t know who the

successor, the one who will shape the UK’s future relationship with the EU and

global trading partners, will be, and what their approach will look like. “This is why

to mitigate risks and to take advantage of the potential opportunities the volatility is

creating, investors must ensure their portfolios are properly diversified.”

In the weeks leading up to Britain’s original exit date from the EU — which is a past-bydate

of course — something strange happened at Brussels’ biggest English-language

bookshop: It became a Brexit confessional for its worried clientele, who came to voice

their anxieties and search for answers. Anyone wishing to read further, Esther King

has a lovely story about Brussels Brits’ Brexit blues!

The MBR team has put in a lot of hard work to provide our readers with the best top

quality informative news, articles, stories and high profile interviews, which we are

proud set us apart from the rest. Enjoy the read!

Martin Vella

Editor-in-Chief

Talk to us:

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

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

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

analysis of local and international news.

Agents for:

www.maltabusinessreview.net

5


Malta Business Review

EP ELECTION SPECIAL

Malta Business Review –

European Elections Special

Meet

Robert Micallef

An EU expert primed for

the job of MEP

By Martin Vella

From a list of 41 MEP

candidates vying for six seats

in the European Parliament

on 25 May there is one that

stands out with his experience and

expertise on European matters.

Having worked as an economist

with the European Commission and

as a Maltese diplomat in Brussels,

Labour candidate Robert Micallef is

well prepared for the challenge of

representing Malta as an MEP. He

has a track record as a negotiator

that includes leading the European

Union’s preparations for a €44 billion

plan to stop irregular migration

flows from Africa to Europe. MBR

caught up with Robert Micallef, an

Oxford trained economist, to discuss

his views on how Europe can make a

difference in people’s lives.

MBR: EU citizens will carefully evaluate

candidates and programmes, before

making choices that will shape the future

of our continent and our role in the world

for years to come. What are the most

important issues which the EU should be

addressing right now?

RM: We must begin with social

sustainability to ensure that nobody is left

behind. We must pay women and men

equal salaries. We must take concrete

measures across Europe to ensure that

everyone can live a decent life. People

throughout Europe need affordable

housing, better social conditions and

more support for enterprise and small

businesses. This can be done through

proper use of EU funding, incentives,

investment plans and by enacting relevant

European legislation. We need to advance

the circular economy. On migration, we

need to ensure that we find the right

balance between national security and

individual rights while pushing for a greater

facilitating role for the EU. At the global

level, Europe should be a strong voice to

promote respect for human dignity, the

principles of equality and solidarity and

respect for the principles of the United

Nations Charter.

I will work for a better

business environment

across Europe.

MBR: What does being European mean

to you?

RM: Essentially, being European means

believing in fundamental values such

as respect for human dignity, freedom,

equality and the rule of law. Being

European also means believing in an

open society as opposed to living in a

closed, exclusive society. We should say

No to politics that create exclusion and

social divisions. Maltese people are true

Europeans who deeply respect others and

deserve equal respect. We must consider

Europe as our home, a place where

Maltese and others can live together in a

safe and secure environment. However,

for Europe to remain relevant we need

more policies that commit us to a better

distribution of wealth, knowledge and

power across the continent.

MBR: How much do you intend to deliver

if you are elected as an MEP, and how

capable are you of delivering?

RM: If elected, I will use my experience

in Europe to work in the interests of all

Maltese and Gozitans irrespective of

political colour or orientation and will

do my best to help shape a better, more

socially stable Europe. I have professional

experience at the three main European

Union institutions and was posted

as a diplomat in Malta’s Permanent

Representation to the European Union

representing my country at the Council

of the European Union. I will not need

any long period of familiarisation upon

election and will get straight down to the

business of improving people’s lives by

helping to shape new European legislation.

I will work at full capacity from the very first

day. If elected, I promise that I will continue

meeting civil society organizations,

constituents and any interested parties

throughout my mandate to ensure that I

stay in touch with people’s expectations.

6


EP ELECTION SPECIAL

Malta Business Review

MBR: Can you give us an over-run of

your working experience within the EU

and why do you think this is so valuable

for voters to keep in mind when voting

the new EP members?

RM: I was a negotiator for the Maltese

Presidency of the Council of the

European Union. Ask anyone in Brussels

and they will tell you that the Maltese

Presidency was one of the most effective

and productive in terms of output,

agreements and accomplishments. My

experience with the EU goes back to the

times before Malta became a member

state. I was employed as an economist

with the European Commission during

the Malta-EU accession negotiations

and, as a member of the EU’s Delegation

to Malta, I played a direct role in the

technical preparations. Later, I worked

as editor of the European Commission’s

Eurobarometer surveys and then as an

adviser to the Group of Socialists and

Democrats in the European Parliament.

I know the European corridors of power

well and can easily navigate the complex

decision making process in the EU.

MBR: What was the main achievement

of your European career?

RM: I was in charge of the Council’s

preparations for the creation of the

European External Investment Plan that

will mobilise €44 billion of investments

in Africa and the EU’s neighbourhood

and successfully led the negotiations

with the European Parliament. This is

now the EU’s adopted long-term plan to

address the root causes of migration to

Europe by creating social and economic

opportunities and decent jobs across the

African continent.

MBR: Why do you think we have to

change Europe and make it more

effective by answering citizens’

concerns and building upon what we

have already achieved?

RM: It’s time for a Europe that is fairer

and more sustainable. There is a need

for a sustainable planet, as there is no

planet B! We must focus on people’s

genuine concerns and avoid dedicating

time to issues and debates that are

irrelevant or outdated. I want to work

in a European Parliament that is more

committed to a better quality of life and

a better environment while ensuring

equality and creating job opportunities

for everyone. I am ready to use my

experience from the very first day to

work for a better business environment

across Europe.

Being European means

believing in fundamental

values such as respect for

human dignity, freedom,

equality and the rule

of law.

MBR: Can you outline your vision for

a new Europe and a new incoming

Parliament?

RM: Elected legislators from all EU

countries must employ the right tools

that can lead to a positive change in

people’s lives. I want to see the new

European Parliament as a respectful,

visionary, innovative and less bureaucratic

institution that listens to people’s

expectations. I also think that the

European Parliament should not be a

battleground for partisan bickering but

a platform to help create social and

economic opportunities. I will adopt

a pro-active and consensus building

approach.

MBR: Is Europe the best continent to

live in?

RM: We, Europeans, represent just

ten percent of the world’s population

but many look towards Europe for

inspiration. I am a proud Maltese and

a proud European. I think that the best

way to care for Malta’s and Europe’s

interests is to have a rules-based and

value-based approach. The European

Union should be a modern institution

that takes into consideration the

interests of small nations, including the

welfare of hardworking Maltese and

Gozitan families, and individuals with

respect to our traditions, our values, our

business environment and our wish for a

stable future for our children. MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

7


Malta Business Review

BANKING REPORT

FIMBank Announces

USD10.2 Million After-

Tax Profit for 2018

Amongst others, in the year under review

we embarked on the upgrading of the

Bank’s core system. This has significantly

bolstered process efficiency, security,

availability, and a stronger capacity to

support new business. As a result of

various operational improvements, our

staff can focus on servicing clients” said Mr

Subramanian.

FIMBank Group Chairman Dr John C. Grech

stated that “The Bank’s performance,

despite the myriad of challenges we faced

throughout the year, reflects the resilience

of our dynamic business model. It bolsters

our commitment and resolve to respond to

future challenges, ensuring sustainability

for the years to come.”

The FIMBank Group’s

Consolidated Audited Financial

Statements show that for the

year ended 31 December 2018,

the Group registered an after-tax profit of

USD10.2 million, compared to an after-tax

profit of USD7.7 million in 2017.

As disclosed in the Preliminary Statement

of Annual Results published, during the

year under review, net operating results

more than tripled, from USD6.5 million to

USD21.1 million, as the Group improved

its revenues by USD9.9 million, and

reduced its costs by USD4.7 million. A 20

percent increase in net revenues, from

USD48.8 million to USD58.7 million, was

generated on the back of both higher

asset levels, as well as improved margins.

During 2018, the Group recognised

a higher level of impairments when

compared to 2017 due to a number of

non-performing exposures. These are

being addressed with recovery efforts

already underway.

FIMBank Group CEO Murali Subramanian

highlighted that “The performance across

the Group in 2018 is underpinned by

growth in the forfaiting, factoring, local real

estate financing, and shipping businesses.

London Forfaiting Company Ltd (LFC),

reported its highest profit ever since being

acquired by FIMBank in 2003. At the end of

2018, Egypt Factors had returned to its first

full year of profit, since the acquisition of

the company by the Group in 2016.”

Mr Subramanian stated that in 2018 his

team vigorously pursued the further

upgrading of FIMBank’s asset origination

and product differentiation efforts.

Further improvements in operational

efficiencies also allowed it to continue

making inroads into greater revenue

generation, while optimising on its capital

and funding resources.

“The past years have been marked by rapid

changes in the nature of our business and

the technology which supports it. During

2018, we were successful in keeping up

with these developments, primarily by

attracting and retaining the best talent,

and by maintaining a leading edge in

our Information Technology capabilities.

The 2018 Rights Issue, leading to a cash

injection of USD105 million, enabled

an increase of USD225 million in total

Consolidated Assets, which by 31

December 2018 had reached USD1.87

billion, when compared to the USD1.64

billion reported at end-2017. Total

Consolidated Liabilities as at 31 December

2018 stood at USD1.59 billion, up by

USD119 million from USD1.47 billion at

end-2017. The growth in liabilities was

largely due to increases of USD177 million

in deposits from corporate and retail

clients, offset by a marginal drop of USD8

million from wholesale funding sources.

The Rights Issue, a significant milestone

in the Bank’s development allowed

FIMBank to strengthen its capital base.

“This year, FIMBank celebrates its 25th

year anniversary. The Bank has developed

a reputation for trustworthiness and

reliability, as we continue building strong

banking relationships with our varied

clientele. When looking back at our

achievements, we must highlight the

importance and consistent support of all

our stakeholders, without whom we would

not have achieved such significant results

across the years” said Dr John C. Grech.

For 2019, the Group is expected to

continue evolving within rigorous

parameters and frameworks, aimed to

solidify its origination and risk processes,

achieving growth at a sustainable pace.

For further information about FIMBank plc

please visit www.fimbank.com MBR

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Malta Business Review

EP ELECTIONS

Your one-stop shop for 2019

EU election news and data

ELECTION

WATCH

EU ELECTION CORNER …

“If I were to compare Great Britain to a

sphinx, the sphinx would be an open book

by comparison and let’s see how that book

speaks over the next week or so.” Jean-

Claude Juncker on Brexit negotiations.

Facebook this week rolled out its

EU election transparency tools: Ads

that show up on Facebook within the

European Union will contain a “paid

for by” disclaimer, allowing voters to

know when they are being targeted

by political groups. Part of the new

tool is an ad library that will allow

NGOs, journalists and researchers to

scrutinize the data. Advertisers will also

be required to include contact details

on their pages so watchdogs can get

in touch, something Facebook until

now didn’t require. But Facebook’s

registration procedure opened just now,

and it said it will only start blocking noncompliant

advertisers mid-April, just a

month before the EU election.

Watch out for — French Europe

minister to lead EU election

campaign: Nathalie Loiseau is to lead

La République En Marche’s election

campaign, which could make her a

liberal kingmaker in the next Parliament.

Watch out for — Copyright to emerge as

an election campaign issue: The reason

is this week’s vote by MEPs to back

copyright reforms that will eventually

lead to upload filters and licensing

fees for companies such as Google for

linking to news and content from other

organizations. The political drama may

be limited to certain constituencies

(such as young voters) and in countries

(such as Germany) with strong internet

rights movements, but it is certain to be

a campaign plank for Pirate parties and

others opposed to the reforms.

Greece allows MEP candidates to keep

their national parliament seats: “Two

independent lawmakers backing leftwing

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are

expected to run in the May 26 European

election but their departure could

have toppled the government,” the

Washington Post reported. MPs voted

148 to 105 to change the rules and let

them stay.

ELECTION INTEGRITY — PLEDGE GETS

104 SIGNATORIES: The campaign

(organized by the Anders Fogh

Rasmussen-led Alliance for Democracies),

for political parties and candidates seeking

office, has backing from 20 countries

and seven European political groups.

The notable gaps are no Italian or French

pledges and very few from the EPP. The

104 signatories comes from a pool of

around 2,000 declared candidates.

EU countries from which no candidate

has signed: Austria, Cyprus, France,

Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and

Slovenia.

Country with most signatories:

Germany (22), Belgium (21) and

Denmark (13).

Party with most signatories: ALDE

(35), Socialists and Democrats (24) and

Greens (19).

Country with highest percentage of

eligible voters: Malta

Country with easily predicted result

outcome: Malta (recent poll suggests

Maltese do not vote according to

environmental, climate, transport

network priorities, but to party

allegiances!!!)

VOTE VEGAN! The green wave sweeping

parts of Europe could take on a more

radical form in Spain. An animal rights

party, Pacma — which promotes

veganism to fight global warming and

wants to ban zoos, circuses, bullfighting,

fishing and hunting — is predicted to

send one or two MEPs to the European

Parliament in May.

The European Parliament has published

a new set of projections on how the

next chamber might look, based

on polling data published in the EU

member states until 26 March 2019. The

data is based on a collection of reliable

polls conducted by national polling

institutes in the member states and

aggregated by Kantar Public on behalf of

Parliament.

Parties are only allocated to existing

political groups or where they are

already affiliated to an associated

European political party. All new

political parties and movements that

have not yet declared their intentions

are categorised as “other”. The next

Parliament will have fewer MEPs (705)

than the outgoing Parliament (751). MBR

Credit: POLITICO SPRL/EP, Valletta

10


15% Discount


Malta Business Review

GAMING

Altenar continues regulated market

mission with Malta licence

Altenar has set about acquiring more customers

from regulated gambling markets after collecting a

B2B sports betting licence from the Malta Gaming

Authority (MGA).

This recognition allows Altenar to work with Malta-licensed

operators to offer betting services including extensive in-play

coverage and the popular cash out feature.

The licensing process for this Type 2 B2B licence took just over

five months which, according to Altenar CEO Stanislav Silin,

is “relatively quick given that the regulatory regime in Malta

changed in August 2018, and quite a number of providers had

to go through the process of getting a new licence all at the

same time”.

and is, therefore, a good base standard to cater for subsequent

expansion into such jurisdictions.

Silin added that securing the licence - which followed the firm’s

approval to service the Romanian market in September 2018

- was a key stepping stone towards becoming “one of the best

sportsbook providers on the market”.

“This isn't our first licence, as we already have one issued in

Romania,” he explained. “It definitely won’t be the last either,

but it is certainly the most significant so far, and one that

should allow us to progress further along our path following

our strategy of gaining recognition and acquiring customers in

regulated markets.

“Meeting the stringent compliance tests and regulatory

requirements set by the MGA is definitely an important step as

we seek to become one of the best sportsbook providers on the

market - an ambitious vision that we are slowly making a reality.”

It’s been a fast start to the year for Altenar, who secured its

first regulated customer for the Romanian market in January

through Red Sevens (www.redsevens.ro).

The MGA licence covers a lot of common ground in terms of

requirements typically present in country specific regulation,

Just two months later, the firm powered the launch of Fastbet.

it, a new brand for established Italian sports betting and

gaming operator Replatz - one of 70 licensees confirmed by

the country’s gaming regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei

Monopoli (ADM). MBR

12


Malta Business Review

ICT

DELIVERING PROJECTS ON

TIME AND WITHIN BUDGET

BY CHARLIE WILLIAMS

B

u siness software projects

are often complex and

require a high degree of

commitment from both the

customer and supplier – commitment to

effort and commitment to change. This

is an area of Information Technology

that is full of failed projects and of

projects which fall short of meeting

customer objectives.

In fact, a recent CIO survey placed

the level of customer satisfaction

with ERP and CRM projects at the

very lowest levels of all IT projects. At

Computime Software we understand

these challenges and implement

strict best practices to circumvent

potential project pitfalls. In doing so,

we enjoy a consistently high customer

satisfaction rating. In fact, 96% of our

clients say that Computime exceeds

their expectations, while 99% would

recommend Computime to their peers.

Proven track record

Computime have a positive track

record of 40 years in successful

business software implementations.

Our philosophy is to be completely

transparent with our clients from day

one to completion – ensuring they

understand the amount of time, effort,

and cost required to implement a

successful software project.

Clear and consistent communication

The client engagement process that

we adopt starts with our first meeting

and builds one layer at a time. The

main objective is always delivering the

maximum benefit at the minimum risk

and cost to the client.

Cutting edge technologies

We utilise cutting edge technologies

from leading suppliers, along with

our own IP, to optimise the use of

the various technologies available

nowadays. At the same time, we

provide our clients with choices, as

we understand they each have unique

technical requirements.

First-class project management

We firmly believe that most software

projects should deliver value in stages.

Expecting a project to meet all objectives

in one single ‘big bang’ is often a recipe

for failure and it puts a massive burden on

both the client and the implementation

team. As a result, we recommend to

initially focus on delivering a few small,

but measurable objectives. Together with

the client, we ensure these are met, and

then move on to subsequent phases,

always at the client’s pace.

Experienced consultants and

developers

We employ an experienced and

multi-disciplined team of business and

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Malta Business Review

ONE-ON-ONE

Emissions cuts

and economic

growth By Ryan Heath

Credit: Playbook; POLITICO SPRL

Anna König Jerlmyr,

mayor of Stockholm

Emissions cuts and economic growth don’t have to be

incompatible. That was the message from Anna König

Jerlmyr on the EU Confidential Goes Green podcast, when

she visited Brussels for Eurocities’ second Mayors’ Summit.

Stockholm has achieved high growth while cutting carbon

emissions by 58 percent since 1990, the city’s mayor told

POLITICO’s Kalina Oroschakoff. König Jerlmyr said climate change

is personal and at the center of her political agenda in a way

that’s rare for center-right politicians. “I am a mother of three

children and I am very engaged in the issues of the future, of how

will the system, the world, look like when they grow up?”

“I really try to walk the talk on engaging young people. I make

my six-year-old go with me and pick up plastic in the park and I

always ask him ‘Do you know where the plastic will end up if we

do not pick it up?’ And he says ‘in the ocean.’ ”

König Jerlmyr said climate has become a major political issue in

Sweden: “I could see that in the last election campaign that the

young people really asked questions about climate, global heating

[warming], air quality, transport and water quality. “

König Jerlmyr warned her fellow politicians to get smart on

climate, or risk being labeled a fake. “You really have to know

what you talk about and show that you are for real.” She said that

in Stockholm, one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities, “we want to

be fossil fuel-free” and “we also want to reduce the plastic within

our organizations,” and “work with air quality congestion charges

and so on. It’s really to improve the quality of life.”

Stockholm already has a congestion charge, and König Jerlmyr

is conscious that while “people actually want to contribute to a

better world,” moving too quickly could spark the Swedish version

of France’s Yellow Jacket movement. König Jerlmyr said air quality

is another problem looming on her political horizon, but she’s

hopeful that the solutions are at hand: using big data and artificial

intelligence to make sure people use transport in smarter ways.

“We are using digitalization and 5G and artificial intelligence more to

find out how people move and … make them aware of how they can

change daily habits. We could be even better if we plant trees and so

on and really work with biofuel, buses and electric cars.” MBR

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Malta Business Review

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Malta Business Review

BREAKTHROUGH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2019

Leaders Who Create a

High Performance Culture

This article covers the presentation that Mr. Dingli delivered

at the “Breakthrough Leadership Conference” with the same

title on the 29th March 2019.

By Ing. David J. Dingli M.Phil(Maastricht); MBA(Brunel);

B.Elec.Eng.(Hons.)

US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Mark A. Schapiro, David J Dingli & Martin Vella during the Breakthrough

Leadership B2B Networking Conference 2019

designed to allow an element of

flexibility to remain reactive to changing

circumstances

• A clear believe in training and

development

• And a company whose leaders believe

in people.

However, as not all companies operate in

the same industries, countries or face the

same circumstances one could argue that

the above list is very dependent on the

situation a company is in.

Research has shown that there are five

characteristics of High Performance

companies that transcend all the

above variables and are found in all top

companies. These are:

• Having a high quality and decisive

leadership talent

• Being long-term oriented, hence

strategic in its thinking

• Being very proactive with a bias for

action, hence capable of getting things

done

• Very open and transparent

communication approach and finally

• A very people oriented company

Companies chose to be high performers

for a number of reasons, some of which

could be:

• To empower and energise a clear

vision, mission, and purpose

• To have a non-linear expansion

of performance, efficiency or

effectiveness

We all know that even if

nothing is done to develop

a culture in an organisation,

there will always be one.

The question we need to ask, as leaders

are: “Is it the one we created and shaped

or is it the one that just happened to our

company?” Now, the simplest definition

of culture would be to say that it’s about

“The way things are done around here”.

Leaders have the ability to shape this

culture to ensure that what happens in the

organisation is aligned to business goals and

objectives.

Various reports have been written over the

last 3 years that focus on the importance

of organisational culture in driving a

company’s success so there is no doubt that

culture has a very important role to play in

organisations.

• An E&Y report stated that 55% of the

FTSE 350 companies have seen a 10%

increase in operating profits driven by

their investment in culture.

• 82% of Deloitte’s survey respondents

believe that “culture is a potential

competitive advantage.” and

• According to PwC, 84% of leaders

believe that culture is critical to their

organization’s success.

For companies to enjoy being labelled as

High Performance companies we would

expect to find the following attributes pretty

much alive and well:

• A pleasant work environment

• A clear corporate mission where

employees are well aligned to its vision

• Strong values that are brought into

action and adhered to by all employees

• A strategic driven company where

expected results and objectives are

clearly defined.

• Ideas are well communicated and

shared within teams and across

divisional boundaries

• A well engaged workforce

• Communication that is transparent and

honest

• Processes and structures that are

"Research

carried out by

“Entrepreneur” and

“CultureIQ” found

that Leadership,

communication,

employee wellness,

mission alignment

are some of the key

difference between

High performance

companies

20


BREAKTHROUGH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2019

Malta Business Review

David J. Dingli delivering his presentation

• To develop a ‘breakthrough result’

• To make the extraordinary become the

ordinary

• To be the pace-setter / world class

Research carried out by “Entrepreneur”

and “CultureIQ” found that Leadership,

communication, employee wellness,

mission alignment are some of the key

difference between High performance

companies “The Winners” and the

“Non-Winners”.

Too many companies are still facing

leadership challenges and problems

Too many of the environments in which

people work today frustrate their natural

inclinations to trust and cooperate. Metrics

have taken over the corporate world and

leaders are not seeing their employees

as people anymore. We label people as:

Customers, employees, online profiles,

email addresses and expenses.

An even bigger problem has been created

with abstraction (predominant in large

organisations). When companies are too

large, leaders do not know their staff and

often do not even see them. This is the

case were humans have really gone virtual.

Leaders are not creating a safety net for

employees. They are not making it evident

to employees that they will be there to look

after them, care for them, develop them,

promote them, support them and pay them

well. Leaders are not providing a feeling

of belonging and that is where trusting

relationships are not formed and loyalties

are fragile.

Leadership is the driving force behind

creating and maintaining a high

performing culture, so as leaders we have

obligations to:

• Serve as a role models through positive

actions and behaviours

• Commit to rallying people around a

deep sense of purpose

• Be an expert communicator

• Have the ability to translate ideals into

action

• Be transparent, congruent and

authentic

• And finally to Lead by example

Leaders of high performing organisations

recognise that it takes committed people to

succeed. As leaders we should be personally

involved in:

• employee development and coaching,

• development of future leaders,

• Employee engagement and recognition

• Various organisations have solved big

company problems by focusing their

attention to culture.

Between 2004 and 2008 The Royal Bank

of Canada faced big problems in their

returns, mainly due to poor decision

making discipline, a badly designed

structure, low employee engagement and

poor collaboration. The then CEO, Gordon

Nixon solved the problem by changing

leadership behaviour expectations and

carried out operational, organisational

and cultural transformations.

Siemens is a company that focuses

on people. They have their people

management program labelled as “People

Excellence”. Siemens wants all its employees

to be truly involved in the business and to

feel part of its success. Employees need to

know how they fit in. Siemens establishes

clear expectations.

Microsoft’s Nadella’s mission has been to

rebuild Microsoft brick by brick until it can

happen again. He got to work on Microsoft’s

culture of infighting.

IKEA has been named One of PEOPLE’S

50 Companies That Care” by Great

Place to Work® and PEOPLE (2018). Lars

Petersson, IKEA U.S. President describes

Ikea as a company that is building a

diverse and inclusive work environment

for its co-workers, where everyone feels

valued and respected.

Costco Wholesale's culture focuses on

excellence in performance where Good

enough is not enough. This pushes its

employees to achieve high quality service

to satisfy customers. “Costco is built on a

culture that values passion, pride, integrity,

and treating employees right.

And as Richard Branson says: ““People

are fundamental in driving the success of

a business. If you treat your staff like the

smart and capable adults they are- and give

them choice to make informed decisions

you will cultivate an environment in which

employees can flourish” MBR

References

David J. Dingli is the managing consultant of Resource

Productivity Consulting Services, a management

consulting firm specializing in strategic planning,

Internationalization of SMEs, operational efficiency

improvements and management development &

training. He is also an Assistant Professor with

Maastricht University, MsM School of Management, The

Netherlands and the HR Executive at Dhalia Real Estate.

He has lectured at MBA level in 29 countries throughout

Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. He may be

contacted at: djdingli@gmail.com; or Tel: +35699430196

Barrett R; The Values-Driven Organization: Cultural Health

and Employee Well-Being as a Pathway to Sustainable

Performance (London: Routledge), 2017.

www.thetimes100.co.uk “Siemens – Creating a high

performance culture”

CultureIQ; Building a High Performance Culture: Key

Lessons from Top Cultures 2017

Bhalla V.; Caye J.M.; Dyer A., Dymond L.; Morieux Y.;

Orlander P.; BCG Group; High Performancer Organizations –

The secrets of their success, 2011

Oehler K.; AON Group; Getting Real about Creating a High

Performance Culture- 2013

Lear G.; Seven Steps to creating a high performance culture;

Resource Development Systems, 2004

www.maltabusinessreview.net

21


Malta Business Review

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Malta Business Review

BLOCKCHAIN

Gibraltar

thriving as

blockchain

outshines

Brexit By Claire Coe Smith

Fears of an exodus of assets

and wealthy individuals from

Gibraltar when the British

overseas territory exits the EU

along with the rest of the UK in 2019

have proved unfounded, as a massive

uptick in the Rock’s blockchain business

has continued to attract newcomers.

Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly in favour

of remaining in the EU in the 2016

referendum, not wanting to give up its

easy access to the European mainland via

a land border that also sees thousands

of Spanish workers come in every day.

But the uncertainty that has loomed

ever since has not slowed the number

of the world’s wealthy still looking

to call Gibraltar home. Rather, the

government’s decision to introduce the

world’s first comprehensive regulatory

regime for distributed ledger technology

(DLT), which includes blockchain and

cryptocurrencies, has put the Rock firmly

on the map. The rules came into effect at

the start of 2018.

Emma Lejeune, a private client partner

at the law firm Isolas, says: “We have

seen an increase in individuals wishing

to relocate to Gibraltar, which is perhaps

surprising given Brexit. But ultra-high

net worth individuals are coming

here because of DLT – both start-ups

and entrepreneurs with diversified

businesses who are now building out

that technology.”

She adds, “Private clients are suddenly

becoming interested in investing in

businesses that are active in blockchain

and crypto in Gibraltar, and that makes

Gibraltar very visible. The charities and

philanthropic sector is also looking at

blockchain, and that means getting to

know Gibraltar.”

The Gibraltar Financial Services

Commission created the first bespoke

licensing regime for fintech firms using

blockchain, formally recognising the use

of blockchain records as an accepted

mechanism for transmitting payments

and stealing a march on many global

cities trying to attract the business. The

move emulates the GFSC’s efforts to

lead the way on e-gaming by regulating

the industry early, and the Rock

continues to be one of the world’s top

e-gaming hubs.

The next step will see the government

regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs),

with most tokens not currently

considered securities under either EU

or Gibraltar law. In a white paper in

2018 the Gibraltar regulator proposed

an authorised sponsors regime that

would require every ICO issuer selling

or distributing tokens in Gibraltar to

appoint an individual to supervise

the sale and ensure it complies with

regulations. A Bill to take forward the

proposals is expected imminently.

Ian Felice is a partner with the law firm

Hassans. He says: “We have seen some

migration back into Gibraltar from Spain,

driven by Brexit. That is one effect, and

that has impacted the price of property.

Rental stock continues to be very

difficult to find; we are constructing like

crazy, but we can’t build quick enough

to meet the demand.”

The Spanish tax authorities have also

been working hard in recent years to

identity HNWIs claiming residency in

Gibraltar but actually living in Spain,

reportedly netting more than €20

million in unpaid taxes from about 160

individuals as a result. At the same time,

those that do opt for Gibraltar residency

are taking more steps to prove they

genuinely live there.

Lejeune says: “We are seeing quite a

lot of movement on the family office

side. We see UHNWIs now putting more

substance here due to changes in the

tax climate that require their centre of

main interest to be in their jurisdiction of

residence. Some of those have gone as

far as to get licensed in order to provide

services to other families, developing

single family offices into multi-family

offices. We are also seeing family offices

relocating to be based in Gibraltar or

establishing branches in Gibraltar.”

While the private client portfolio of

Gibraltar’s lawyers used to be focused

on the UK and mainland Europe, the

arrival of DLT businesses has changed

the proposition completely, to now

include clients and families from Asia,

Latin America and the US.

Felice says: “We are certainly still seeing

interest from the Far East, from China

and from Morocco. But it is no secret

that part of our attraction has been

our status as an EU territory, and that

is currently compromised. People are

waiting to see what is going to happen

in the next few months.”

The government of Gibraltar is praised

for representing the interests of the

Rock robustly throughout the Brexit

negotiations, and also for its businesscentric

approach to flexible, innovative

regulation. For now, the blockchain

experiment is reaping rewards. MBR

Credit: Citywealth

24


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: BREXIT

HOW THE UK LOST THE BREXIT BATTLE

The course of Brexit was set in the hours and days after the 2016 referendum.

Here is a full account of the Brexit Story By Tom McTague

British envoys — including Prime

Minister Theresa May — would

reach out to national leaders in

an attempt to overhaul Brussels’

legalistic approach with a diplomatic discussion

about mutual interests, flexibility and

“imaginative solutions.” They would meet with

no success. An attempt to strike side deals on

citizens’ rights, an effort to begin talks on the

future relationship before the divorce was

settled, a go at starting bilateral discussions

with Dublin over the contentious issue of the

Irish border — none of these would shift the

direction of the talks set forth by the EU in the

earliest days.

POLITICO has spoken to dozens of leading

officials, diplomats and politicians in Dublin,

Paris, Berlin, Belfast, London and Brussels

— including in No. 10 Downing Street and

chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s team

in the European Commission — about the

nearly three years of negotiations. The story

that emerges is of a process in which the EU

moved inexorably forward as Westminster

collapsed into political infighting, indecision

and instability.

The only concession the EU would make

regarding its core principles over the course

of the talks was at the request of one of its

members, the Republic of Ireland — and to the

disadvantage of the U.K. The rules of the single

market could be bent, but only for Northern

Ireland — and only to help the Republic’s

unique problem on the border. For the U.K.,

there would be no special deals. In the words

of the EU’s negotiators, there would be “no

cherry-picking.”

As Westminster descends into increasing

political turmoil, it has become highly

uncertain whether British Prime Minister

Theresa May will be able to secure

parliament’s approval for the Brexit deal she

struck with the EU in November. Twenty-nine

members of the government have resigned

over Brexit since June last year, and party

discipline has all but disappeared in both

May’s Conservatives and the opposition

Labour Party. The prime minister has suffered

a succession of defeats, including the largest

in parliamentary history, when lawmakers

rejected her deal first in January and then

again in March. She even promised to step

down once Britain’s divorce from the European

Union is seen through, although she gave no

date for doing so.

With Brexit day postponed, MPs have voted

to take control of the parliamentary timetable

to chart a new Brexit course. Just when and

how — and even if — the U.K. will leave

the EU has never been less clear. Even if the

prime minister does eventually force her deal

through parliament with grudging Euroskeptic

support, Brexit is far from over. Despite months

of negotiations, many of the key questions

raised by the Brexit vote remain unanswered.

Such is the opposition in Westminster to the

terms on offer, that leading figures on both

sides of the talks fear that Brexit, far from

settling the U.K.’s place in Europe, will continue

to poison British politics for years to come,

with knock-on effects for Ireland and the EU.

May’s opponents blame the current crisis on

her decision to pursue one interpretation of

Brexit, with little real attempt to reach out

to MPs on the opposite benches of a hung

parliament. But, as this story reveals, many

of the unstoppable forces that led to this

moment were set in motion long before the

prime minister took office.

United front

The European Council’s “lines to take”

were the product of months of planning.

Ahead of the Brexit referendum, Tusk had

spoken to every EU leader urging a united

front regardless of the result. Draft political

responses had been drawn up, ready to go

— for either eventuality: Leave or Remain. As

it became clear what direction the U.K. had

elected to take, the document was circulated

among EU ambassadors by the European

Council — complete with a typo in the subject

line: “PEC messages.”

Across Brussels’ gray Rue de la Loi in the

Commission’s Berlaymont building, President

Jean-Claude Juncker and his then chief of

staff, Martin Selmayr, had worked up an even

tighter, technical response that would follow

shortly after as a joint statement from the

heads of the four EU institutions. In days

following the referendum, the EU ratcheted

up its position. The first turn of the screw

came at 11:57 a.m. on June 24, 2016, less

than five hours after the result was declared,

in the joint statement drawn up by Juncker

and Selmayr.

Released in the names of Tusk, Juncker,

then European Parliament President Martin

Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark

Rutte, then head of the Council of the EU’s

rotating presidency representing national

governments, the EU ruled out any talks

with Britain before it triggered Article 50, as

required by the EU treaties.

26


SPECIAL FEATURE: BREXIT

Malta Business Review

“We have rules to deal with this in an orderly

way,” the statement read. “Article 50 of

the Treaty on European Union sets out the

procedure to be followed if a Member State

decides to leave the European Union. We

stand ready to launch negotiations swiftly.” The

leaders also urged London to trigger Article

50 “as soon as possible” and declared that

the future relationship between the two sides

would only be determined after the U.K. had

left. They also made clear there would be costs

for walking away.

The EU’s thick yellow and blue lines were

set — and formalized by EU ambassadors on

Sunday, June 26. Four days later, EU leaders

met in Brussels to formalize their position. The

summit — first at 28 with a chastened British

Prime Minister David Cameron and then at 27

a day later — would set the tone for the next

two years and 10 months.

On Brexit, EU leaders rowed in behind the

heads of the institutions in Brussels, barely

changing the opening positions drawn up

by the Council and Commission. Only one

major change was introduced — a hardening

of the EU’s position. German Chancellor

Angela Merkel demanded that a specific line

on the indivisibility of the four freedoms —

the movement of goods, services, capital

and people — be included in the final

communiqué. Cameron had told his fellow

leaders at the summit that immigration had

been a driving factor in the Britain’s decision to

leave, but he hoped the U.K. would stay close

to the single market. The EU’s conclusions,

ruling out the possibility of carving out the

free movement of people from the rest of the

single market, looked like a rebuff.

National interest

Had London been prepared for Brexit on June

24, 2016, the negotiations might have played

out differently. “The British government should

have offered something very, very quickly,” said

one high-ranking official of a large EU country.

“If the U.K. had said: ‘Here’s the plan,’ we

might have accepted it.” “The British strength

was being one member state, being able to

define its national interest quickly and making

its move quickly,” the official said. “It did not

do that.”

Instead, in the aftermath of the referendum,

Cameron resigned as prime minister; Labour

MPs attempted to oust their party’s leader

Jeremy Corbyn; Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish

first minister, vowed to hold a second

independence referendum; and Martin

McGuinness, then deputy first minister of

Northern Ireland, called for a vote on whether

the British territory should leave the U.K. and

become part of the Republic of Ireland.

The seeds of the crisis Britain faced today

were planted by Cameron, said Foreign

Office Minister Alan Duncan. “He called the

referendum too early, ran a crappy campaign

and then walked out, leaving a vacuum.” “It is

a crisis caused by bad decisions on top of bad

decisions, turning a short-term gambit into a

long-term catastrophe,” he added. “You can

trace the whole thing back to the start. The

crash was always coming.”

On the morning after the referendum,

Cameron announced he would be standing

down to allow a new prime minister to prepare

for the negotiation with the EU. “Above all,”

he said “this will require strong, determined

and committed leadership.” On July 11, 2016,

the Conservative Party chose Theresa May

to replace him. By selecting May — a former

home secretary known for her hard line on

immigration — the Tory Party put in place a

prime minister whose personal definition of

Brexit would put her in conflict with the goals

set out by the EU.

"We are not leaving the

European Union only

to give up control of

immigration all over again

May began her premiership with a simple —

if enigmatic — definition of leaving the EU:

“Brexit means Brexit.” By her first Tory Party

conference as prime minister in October 2016,

she had clarified her position. Brexit meant

controlling immigration from the EU, shrugging

off the jurisdiction of EU courts and regaining

the ability to strike independent trade deals.

“We are not leaving the European Union

only to give up control of immigration all

over again,” she said, to the ovation of Tory

members. “And we are not leaving only to

return to the jurisdiction of the European

Court of Justice. That’s not going to happen.

We are leaving to become, once more, a fully

sovereign and independent country.” She

would spell out in a later speech at Lancaster

House in January 2017 that that also meant

leaving the single market and the customs

union. If the EU didn’t accept her red lines,

“no deal was better than a bad deal.” But even

as May staked out her position, she was also

making a commitment that would define the

rest of the negotiations.

In the same speech, on the first day of the Tory

Party conference, May reiterated a promise

she had made in a newspaper interview

published that morning: The U.K. would trigger

Article 50 before the end of March 2017.

“That duly forfeited at a stroke any leverage

over how that process would run,” said Ivan

Rogers, former U.K. ambassador to the EU, in

a lecture at Liverpool University in December

2018. “And it gave to the 27, who had, by the

morning of June 24th, already set out their

‘no negotiation without notification’ position,

the first couple of goals of the match in the

opening five minutes.”

Jonathan Faull, a British former director

general at the European Commission, who led

a task force on the strategic dilemmas posed

by the U.K.’s EU referendum, agreed: “It was

not entirely inevitable … but much of what

followed should have been obvious from the

way Article 50 is written and how we know the

EU works.”

For Matthew Elliott, the Vote Leave campaign’s

chief executive, May’s decision to trigger

Article 50 was a defining moment. “Vote Leave

always had a plan — the key plank of which

was not to trigger Article 50 pre-emptively, but

to instead use the time after the referendum

to prepare and plan,” he said. “It is deeply

regrettable that the advice wasn’t heeded

among officials.”

May had planted her flag. The question was

how the EU would react.

Ireland plans

Brussels was not the only European capital

where politicians and civil servants had been

preparing for Brexit. One adviser on European

affairs to a prominent EU27 leader said Dublin

had begun lobbying other EU countries in

the months before the referendum to ensure

Ireland was protected in the event of decision

by the U.K. to leave. “If there is one player

which made Ireland go to the top of the

agenda, it was Ireland,” the adviser said.

The Irish were pushing on an open door. EU

members were always going to give priority

to the vital interests of a member state over

those of a country that had decided to turn

its back on the Union — just as they had

sided with Cyprus over the Turkish Cypriots,

despite Brussels’ support for a peace deal for

the divided island that the Turkish Cypriots

had accepted and the Greek Cypriots voted to

reject.

Northern Irish peer Paul Bew, one of the chief

architects of the Good Friday Agreement, said

Dublin’s preparation was typical of the Irish in

their long history of negotiations with Britain.

“They are on top of the detail, and we [the

British] are incurious. The people at the top

of the U.K. government are also paralyzed by

imperial guilt.”

The contrast with London was stark. While

Cameron refused to allow officials to prepare

for a Leave vote — barring officials from

putting anything on paper — Ireland had

Cont. on Pg 28

www.maltabusinessreview.net

27


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: BREXIT

the EU — the institution representing national

governments — was the first out of the gate,

with the appointment of the little-known but

well-liked Belgian civil servant Didier Seeuws to

coordinate its response. Juncker and Selmayr

then laid their trump card: Barnier.

General Secretary of the European Commission Martin Selmayr, behind Commission President Jean-Claude

Juncker in Strasbourg | Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images

Cont. from Pg 27

produced a 130-page Contingency Plan with

an hour-by-hour checklist. On the morning the

referendum result was announced, then Irish

Prime Minister Enda Kenny made a statement

intended to reassure the markets and Irish

citizens. Its central thrust was blunt: Ireland

would remain a committed member of the EU.

The point was so important he repeated it.

“Ireland will, of course, remain a member of

the European Union,” Kenny declared. “That

is profoundly in our national interest.” His

government, he said, had “prepared to the

greatest extent possible for this eventuality.”

That Ireland, which joined the bloc along with

the U.K. in 1973, felt the need to reiterate its

commitment is illustrative of how the country’s

leaders saw Brexit as an existential threat.

Not only do the two countries share a lengthy

and complex colonial history, they remain

uniquely intertwined. The two countries share

a common travel area — a mini Schengen —

a language, and of course, a common land

border, one with a violent history quieted

by a delicate peace agreement that Brexit

threatened to unravel.

Hard border

The problem posed by the border between

Northern Ireland and the Republic of

Ireland was evident long before the U.K.

voted to leave.

On June 9, 2016, two weeks before the

referendum, former U.K. Prime Ministers

John Major and Tony Blair visited Northern

Ireland to warn that the future of the union

was “on the ballot paper” and that a Leave

vote risked the return of border controls

with the Republic of Ireland. The Republic of

Ireland and the U.K. had agreed a common

travel area in the 1920s and joined the EU

together in 1973. There had never been a

moment when one country was in the EU and

the other not. And yet, for all its preparations,

Dublin had not come up with a solution.

In Cameron’s statement to the House of

Commons on June 27 he said the British and

Irish governments would start discussion

that week to “work through the challenges

relating to the common border area.” In early

scoping exercises, according to “Brexit &

Ireland,” by Tony Connelly, Europe editor at the

Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Dublin had proposed

a U.K.-Ireland bilateral trade agreement for

agriculture to avoid the return of a hard

border. This had been rejected out of hand by

the EU as illegal.

The Anglo-Irish talks went on for months. Even

as May was setting out her “red lines” at the

Tory Party conference, Irish and British civil

servants were meeting in the Foreign Office in

London for a two-day summit, with Brexit on

the agenda.

These bilateral talks — taking place before the

Brexit negotiations had officially started —

soon caught the attention of Brussels, where

officials were becoming concerned. “From the

autumn onwards, they had their diplomacy

on the ground, taking everyone through the

details of the Good Friday Agreement,” said

one senior EU official intimately involved in the

negotiations. “But there was always a worry

that the Irish were the Brits’ Trojan Horse.”

A few days after May’s speech at the party

conference, Michel Barnier, the Commission’s

chief Brexit negotiator, arrived in Dublin. The

message was clear: Stop negotiating with the

British. From then on, it would be Brussels that

took on responsibility for the Irish border.

United front

The appointment of Barnier, a tall, suave

former French minister and two-time

European commissioner, is credited as one

of the primary reasons the EU was able to

maintain a united front in the face of Brexit.

“As soon as we had found our ‘face,’ it was a

second-rate problem,” explained one Europe

adviser to a major EU27 leader. “This is the

main reason the U.K. was not seen as a threat.”

A second senior official, a sherpa for an

influential EU leader, added: “Brexit is a loselose

game. We want to focus on the future of

the Union and let Barnier settle the accounts

of the past.”

That it would be Barnier who would be tasked

with the talks was not obvious the morning

after the referendum. In the aftermath of

the vote, control of the negotiations was the

subject of a turf war between the EU’s major

institutions. Should it be the Council leading

the talks — or the Commission? In the end it

wasn’t much of competition. The Council of

“The decision to appoint Barnier and to do so

quickly was a big decision,” said the Europe

adviser to a major EU27 leader. “This was a

decision taken by Juncker. I don’t think he

saw all the consequences, but it was a very

good decision. Seeuws was a coordinator,

not a leader. We needed a political guy. That

was clever.” A Frenchman and a member

of Merkel’s center-right European People’s

Party, Barnier had the endorsement of the

German chancellor and the French president.

He also knew the U.K. and the City of London

well, having been in charge of EU financial

regulation in the aftermath of the global

financial crisis.

“He’s a politician who is reassuring for France,

but is identifiable in Germany,” the Europe

adviser explained. “He’s a Brussels man, but

from a national capital.” Most important, he

had enough stature to allow national leaders

to step back from the process.

No matter how hard May and her officials

tried to turn the Brexit talks into a diplomatic

discussion, a negotiation among equals,

Barnier would ensure it remained an

institutional process — between the U.K. and

the much larger EU. Brexit would be — in the

words of Pascal Lamy, a former head of the

World Trade Organization — not a negotiation,

but an “amputation.”

“The Brits always want to make it a political

discussion, but it’s just the reverse of an

accession negotiation,” explained one EU aide.

“It’s not a negotiation. We unwind EU law in

your domestic system.” Even ardent Brexiteers

in the U.K. would come to share this view.

In March 2019, former Conservative Party

leader Iain Duncan Smith would complain

bitterly about the way the talks had gone. “The

negotiations up to now have been less a kind

of negotiation and more of a process which

allowed the European Union to get their way,”

he said.

France’s diplomatic establishment schools its

officials in the idea of a “rapport de force” —

the balance of power in any relationship. As

long as the negotiations remained between

Brussels and London, there would be no

question who had the upper hand. And that

was maintained by controlling the process.

There would be no negotiation without

notification, no future relationship without

the divorce agreement, and no divorce

agreement if the money, citizens’ rights and

the problem of the Irish border weren’t

sorted out first.

Cont. on Pg 40

28


Malta Business Review

LIL’ VILLE CHILDCARE, TRIQ SANT ANTON ABBATI, MOSTA

PHONE: +356 79434661 or +356 27223711

www.maltabusinessreview.net

29


Malta Business Review

EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

Blue economy in European

regions: a gateway to

sustainable growth and jobs

Credit: David Crous | david.crous@cor.europa.eu

+32 (0) 470 88 10 37

President of the Republic of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and

EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella join the European Committee of the

Regions in Gozo (Malta)

Members of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) of

the European Committee of the Regions met in Gozo with the

blue economy on top of the agenda. With a turnover of €566

billion, EU's blue economy generates 1.3% of total EU GDP

and employs 3.5 million people (EC 2018). Additional main

points discussed in Gozo include cross-border cooperation in

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and a new European agenda for

the development of maritime industries. Attended by over 100

delegates, the NAT conference and meeting has been organised

by Samuel Azzopardi (MT/EPP), President of the Gozo region and

Mayor of its capital, Victoria.

Opening the conference “Sustainable Development

of the Blue Economy” in Gozo, the Chair of the NAT

Commission Ossi Martikainen (FI/ALDE) said: “The

blue economy is one of the priority areas for the

Commission for Natural Resources of the European Committee

of the Regions. It has a great socio-economical impact potential,

not only for coastal and maritime regions, but also for the whole

European Union. From traditional sectors such as maritime

transport to more innovative ones such as blue biotechnology

and ocean energy, we believe that a joint European agenda is

crucial to roll out the full potential of the blue economy and

convert it into growth and jobs that are economically, socially and

environmentally sustainable.”

The conference host Samuel Azzopardi (MT/EPP), President of

the Gozo region and Mayor of Victoria said: “The blue economy

is the way forward to reconcile the use of maritime resources

with economic growth and jobs for our communities. We support

the CoR’s vision to place the blue economy as an integral part –

rather that peripheral, of the EU’s economic policy. Sustainable

growth is at the heart of Gozo political priorities. The island is

already a clean energy net contributor to the Maltese grid and

we are well on track to become an eco-island by 2020.” Gozo’s

eco-strategy was launched in 2009.

The President of the Republic of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro

Preca said: “Long-term sustainable investments must drive

our policies in order to protect the great biodiversity of the

Mediterranean while providing our citizens with new income

opportunities. On average, the blue economy has grown more

than national economies in all EU Member States. It has been

growing steadily in recent years and I am confident we can

duplicate its volume by 2030.”

Malta is amongst the top five EU Member states in which the

blue economy most contributes to its GDP (4.7%). The Maltese

blue economy employs around 10 400 people and generates

€406 million in Gross Value Added (GVA).

The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime affairs

and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “There is still a big investment

hole that only dedicated blue economy funding can plug. That

is why we are working very hard to attract investors. We are

preparing a Blue Economy Investment Platform that already

assembles 600 bankable pre-commercial ventures. Next, we will

use the European Maritime Day in Lisbon in May to launch a

service providing investment-readiness support to start-ups and

SMEs operating in blue economy sectors.”

Blue Economy refers to all economic activities related to oceans,

seas and coastal areas and includes sectors such as fisheries,

shipbuilding and 'coastal' tourism as well as blue biotechnology

and off shore renewable energy production. The development

of a sustainable blue economy is key to achieve the UN’s

Sustainable Development Goal #14.

During the 23rd NAT Commission meeting, members adopted a

draft opinion by rapporteur Roberto Ciambetti (IT/ECR) on “Crossborder

dimension in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)”. The President

of the Regional Council of Veneto said: “We need to ensure

increased resilience to natural disasters to show responsibility

vis-a-vis our citizens. We must develop mapping risks and assessing

them as well as to invest in expert groups, university courses and

training of local administrators.” The opinion is to be adopted at

the CoR’s plenary session on 26-27 June 2019.

Members adopted a draft opinion on “A new European agenda to

speed up the development of maritime industries”. Rapporteur

Cristophe Clergeau (FR/PES), member of the Pays-de-la-Loire

Regional Council, said: “The blue economy must be at the

heart of the priorities of the next European Commission. Many

sustainable jobs can be created in the maritime industries if

European policies combine maritime ambition, industrial policy,

and commitment to ecological transition. To succeed, it is

necessary to rely on the ecosystems of Europe's major maritime

regions, to finance innovation and the development of new

products, and to support traditional fishing and shipbuilding

activities, as well as new technologies such as renewable marine

energy or bio-based blue economy businesses.” The opinion is to

be adopted at the CoR’s plenary session on 26-27 June 2019.

Members also adopted a draft opinion by rapporteur Uno Silberg

(EE/EA) entitled “Towards a comprehensive European Union

framework on endocrine disruptors”. The Member of the Kose

Municipality Council said: “Endocrine disruptors have devastating

long-term effects not only on human health but also on fauna and

flora. While their presence is widespread there is very little public

awareness on the dangers they pose. We need public awareness

actions and coordinated measures at all levels to prioritise citizens'

health while also considering the interests of consumers and

industry.” The opinion is to be adopted at the CoR’s plenary session

on 26-27 June 2019. MBR

30


PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

Malta Business Review

Toly’s new €20 million investment demonstrates promise

and outlook of the Maltese manufacturing industry

“In a time when global trade is more uncertain than ever, and

supply chains are changing rapidly, Toly has chosen to invest and

continue building on their operations in Malta. This is a vote of

confidence in our country’s economy, people and policy”, said

Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Chris

Cardona whilst visiting ongoing works at Toly’s new state-of-the-art

manufacturing plant in Bulebel, spanning over 20,000sqm with an

investment of approximately €20 million plant.

“With their new project we are previewing today – they are

laying the blueprint for the next Maltese smart factory. Toly’s new

venture demonstrates opportunity to drive greater value within

the four walls of the factory and the importance of innovation

and adapting with the times. This sends a clear message of

reassurance to all of our manufacturing players, big and small, that

are dreaming bigger and thinking of scaling up.” Toly is led from

its Maltese headquarters and has been operating in Malta since

1971. Chairman and CEO of the Toly Group Andy Gatesy expressed

the company’s pride of its heritage in Malta and put down their

success in the core values of people, passion, pride and creativity,

which mimic exactly the core values of the Maltese nation.

“As a government we recognise your ambition and we will

continue to do our best to match it, as we know we can accomplish

more together. Make no mistake, a thriving economy means a

thriving population. More opportunities mean the freedom for

each and every individual to thrive, which are the fundamental

values of this administration,” the Minister concluded. MBR

Courtesy: The Ministry For The Economy, Investment And

Small Businesses

www.maltabusinessreview.net

31


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: EDUCATION

The Global Search for Education:

Creative Change-makers for a Better World

By C. M. Rubin

A

rapidly changing world has lots

of big problems to solve. Kids

love coming up with their own

ideas for big problems. How can

that creativity and passion be channeled

into both relevant learning and improving

the planet they will inherit?

Enter Emer Beamer. The impetus for her

start-up, Designathon Works, was the design

“work” she was doing with disadvantaged

young people across sub-Saharan Africa and

in a number of Asian countries. Time and

time again she noticed that young people

wanted to be change agents for their world.

The Designathon method combines aspects

of Design Thinking and Maker Education.

Both these learning approaches are gaining

ground in education systems around the

world. Today, Designathon has chapters

located in the Netherlands, Dubai, South

Africa, Aruba, Canada, India, Croatia, Serbia,

Poland, and Spain, plus an annual event

hosted by over 25 cities around the world.

MBR, in collaboartion with The Global

Search for Education is pleased to welcome

Emer Beamer, the founder of Designathon

Works, to talk about how her model is

innovating learning.

MBR: Emer, how would you describe

the unique value proposition you offer

your learners?

EB: Our unique value proposition for

learners lies in the combination of

these three pillars: creative thinking,

technological literacy, and being invited

to apply themselves to global issues.

To explain, many programs for children

presume to offer them small and relatively

inconsequential issues to tackle, such as

where a street light should be placed. In

a design-athon, however, children get to

work on issues such as plastic soup, climate

change, and refugee problems. The size

of the issues is highly motivating and also

corresponds to the level of concern children

experience. They want to think big.

MBR: Tell us a story that illustrates HOW

the program works – the goals and the

challenges?

EB: During the Global Children’s

Designathon, the children learned about

deforestation through an interactive

themed presentation followed by

a discussion. In order to have the

highest impact on future endeavors,

the children are urged to tackle the

causes of deforestation rather than the

consequences. The causes for cutting down

trees are (1) materials (wood & paper),

(2) to make space for cities and roads, and

(3) to use land for agriculture, specifically

cows. After exploring the topic as a group,

“We want all education systems to teach children to become creative changemakers for themselves and

for a better world.” – Emer Beamer

the children split into teams to ideate using

the ideation worksheet which helps them

channel their ideas, exchange with each

other, and step-for-step agree on an idea

to help solve the problem. As they work,

we, as facilitators, check in to see if they

need help. A few teams then share their

ideas with the whole group to clarify their

concepts and inspire the others. The next

step is to make a functional drawing of

their idea. The children then visualize their

idea and explain with words and arrows

how it will work. After this step, another

few teams share their sketch and idea with

the whole group for more feedback. It’s

almost time to start making now, but first,

we are going to exchange via Skype with a

group of children in South Africa. They are

working on the same theme so we can find

out what they have come up with.

A few of the ideas so far include:

The Mazingira App is designed by children

to raise awareness amongst children

about the effects of climate change. It

helps them acquire enough information,

resources, and knowledge necessary for

protecting the environment.

The planting organization device (POD) is

a rolling robot fit to detect deforestation

and find fertile ground to immediately plant

a tree as a replacement. The making part

of the project is the longest and the best

according to most children. There are a

great variety of materials to work with to

create your idea, from recycled materials

and clay to a whole Maker Kit with a motor,

a light, propellers, and switches, so you can

make the prototype really work.

There is never enough time to finish the

prototype as well as we want. But the time

is up, and the parents and experts are here

for you to present to. Each team gets two

minutes to present their idea and what they

made. The experts ask questions. Every

child gets a certificate of participation. The

government representative chooses three

projects which will be presented to the

local government to see if they can take this

idea a step further. The photographer takes

pictures of all the children, the facilitators,

and the experts. The children run to their

parents to celebrate.

32


SPECIAL FEATURE: EDUCATION

Malta Business Review

“Our unique value proposition for learners lies in the combination of these three pillars: creative

thinking, technological literacy, and being invited to apply themselves to global issues.” – Emer Beamer

MBR: It sounds inspiring! What feedback

do you get from teachers and kids on your

method?

EB: We regularly survey both teachers and

children, and the main takeaways we get

from children are:

1. We love coming up with our own ideas

for big problems.

2. Working together in a team is fun.

3. We love making with electronics.

This is irrespective of gender. The age group

we target is 6-12 years. Here are a couple

of quotes from the children from our last

global event:

“I learned to respect nature and to have a

positive influence to save the world.” – GCD

2018 participant in Tunis, Tunisia

“If there were more Designathons around

the world, we could save forests.” – Ilyas,

10, Montreal68% of the children felt that

the Global Children Designathon had a large

positive impact on their creativity. From the

teachers, we hear nearly every time that

they didn’t expect the children to be so

creative and engaged. In informal interviews

and general feedback during and after the

workshops, we discovered that most adults

were surprised by the way children were

able to tackle the problems. Comments

like “surprisingly creative” or “the way they

think is really unexpected” are examples.

This lack of expectation shows us that adults

don’t realize that children have the potential

to produce some of the ideas. Unwittingly,

we suspect that these low expectations

conspire against the possibilities for

cultivating creativity and agency in children.

MBR: How involved are your learners in

shaping your curriculum?

EB: We have a series of themes which all

follow the same design thinking and maker

education approach; we call them a designathon

project. The themes the projects

work on are linked to the sustainable

development goals (SDGs). When we are

choosing the themes, we check in with a

group of children who have worked with us

over the years, then we draft them in order

to test it with at least two different groups

of children. We also gather input on the

themes from the global hosts of the event

in countries around the world. For example,

last year’s theme was Deforestation (part

of SDG 15 Life on Land), so we gathered

input from teachers on how that issue was

perceived in their country to provide further

information on the theme.

More importantly, with a design-athon

project, the children always get to decide

themselves which aspect of the theme

they want to focus on. In this way they

contextualize it for themselves and make

it relevant. For example, one theme

we offer is ‘Mobility,’ which is all about

getting from A to B. Relevant problems

can include the individual’s inability to

move around freely, regardless of age or

income. However, it also relates to the

environment. Do we have sustainable

forms of transport? When we do this

theme in Amsterdam, children often

choose to focus on C02 or air quality in

relation to car pollution. Or, they may

want to tackle traffic jams which stress

their parents. In Nairobi, children chose

to tackle the problem of drunken drivers

causing crashes and Matatu drivers who

race on the roads. Each team of three

children choose their own perspective,

thus ensuring that the problem they work

on is one they consider to be an important

problem worth solving.

MBR: Where do you see Designathon

Works going in the next five years?

EB: If we look at the life cycle of social

innovation, we find ourselves after four

years to have gone through two main

stages: exploring the problem mentioned

above and designing a solution. Then we

spent another two years validating our

business and impact models. We have made

quite some progress towards replicating

and scaling our methodology to schools

and cities globally. At the same time, we are

not yet satisfied that the approaches we

have for scaling are the best ones. Thus, we

plan to spend another year on two tracks:

one is to validate the methodology and it’s

learning impacts, and the other is to revisit

and fine-tune our methods to achieve

system change. We are looking into having

an endgame of open sourcing our method

wherein we become a knowledge hub and

collaborate with governments as they adopt

new learning practices. Ultimately, we want

all education systems to teach children

to become creative change-makers for

themselves and for a better world. MBR

Credits: C. M. Rubin/CMRubinWorld

Editors’ Note

Inspired by children and their

capacity to imagine better futures,

Emer Beamer founded Designathon

Works to enable children to creatively

resolve issues in a continually

changing world. The Designathon

Works learning method is grounded in

design thinking. It empowers children,

supported by teachers and aided by

modern technology, to explore their

interests in and engagement with

social issues. Through the learning

journey, students research problems

and develop real-world solutions.

In a design-athon, Beamer explains

to C.M. Rubin, children “work on

issues such as plastic soup, climate

change, and refugee problems. The

size of the issues is highly motivating

and also corresponds to the level of

concern children experience. They

want to think big.” The projects

offered to children are all linked to

the UN’s sustainable development

goals (SDG’s). “Ultimately, we want all

education systems to teach children

to become creative changemakers for

themselves and for a better world,”

says Beamer.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

33


Malta Business Review

SUMMIT OF THE TWO SHORES

Minister for Foreign Affairs and

Trade Promotion, Carmelo

Abela, gave an overview

of the preparations that

have been ongoing with regards to Malta’s

participation in the upcoming Summit

of the Two Shores (Le Sommet des Deux

Rives), which will take place in Marseille on

24th June 2019, on the initiative of French

President Emanuel Macron.

This French initiative seeks to generate new

momentum in the Western Mediterranean

through an inclusive and open agenda

that gives an important role to the region’s

particularly active civil society. The summit

will, in fact, consist of both a meeting of

the Heads of State and Government and

a regional dialogue with prominent civil

society representatives.

Minister Abela said, “Malta has always

been a location of dialogue, tolerance,

cooperation, trade, and exchange of cultures

in the Mediterranean. This approach is

not just a matter of consequence but is

rooted in a strong and principled belief

that peace, stability, and prosperity in the

region represent Malta’s and the region’s

vital interests. Hence, Malta has, over time,

consistently supported any initiative that

seeks to enhance collaboration in the region.”

34

Investing in a

#MediterraneanGeneration:

Preparations underway for

Malta’s participation in the

Summit of the Two Shores

Mediterranean and Mediterranean issues

On the 24th-25th April 2019, in Valletta,

Malta will host one of the five regional

civil society fora that are being organised

in preparation for the Sommet des Deux

Rives, focusing on ‘Youth, Education, and

Mobility’. For each of the five fora, Malta

will be represented by a man and a woman

with Professor Simone Borg as the chef

de file. This fits in perfectly with the vision

of the government to give women every

opportunity to engage in key leadership and

decision-making roles.

“Together with other personalities from

the nine other Mediterranean countries,

these participants will have the opportunity

to propose a number of initiatives which

will be presented to the Heads of State

and Governments in Marseille for their

endorsement. These will then be translated

into real and tangible projects,” continued

Minister Abela.

Development (OECD); the Mediterranean

Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC);

the Centre for Mediterranean integration

(CMI); the World Bank (WB) Group, and

Aġenzija Żgħażagħ.

Following the completion of the five fora,

the Maltese representatives will participate

in L’Assemblée des Cent, where the ten

participants from every 5+5 country,

therefore in total hundred participants, will

meet in Tunis, and there, they will present

the conclusions of the five fora highlighting

the main initiatives/proposals to be carried

forward to Marseille for the second event.

During the Sommet des Deux Rives - Forum

de le Méditerranée, the Heads of States and

Government of the countries of the 5+5

Dialogue, together with the EU and Germany

and Mediterranean organisations (UfM and

ALF), international organisations (WB, EBRD,

EIB and OECD) and the 100 civil society

representatives from the two shores of the

Mediterranean, will meet to endorse the

projects which will be carried forward in the

1

five thematic areas in the Mediterranean.

Those interested List to of participate ten Maltese in personalities the

pre-Summit Sommet Forum des deux in Malta, rives: Forum may send de la méditerranée

Prof. Lucia

semiconductor materials and

email to s2r.mftp@gov.mt by no later University than of Malta.

Forum on the Economy and

17:15hrs of Friday, 12th April 2019 including

a concise motivation letter, an updated CV List of

and, preferably, a support letter from the Sommet des de

CEO/Leader/Head of an appropriate entity/

Ing. Carolin

organisation relevant to the sectors

Forum

covered

on Energies, Algiers, 8 Ap

2

Prof. Luciano Mule-Stagno, specialises

currently

in

working

renewable

at the

energy

Resea

a

by this forum. MBR

1

Forum on Energies, Algiers, 8 April 2019

List o

Sommet des d

Forum on Energies, Algiers, 8 A

He added that Malta works hand in hand

with Mediterranean organisations such the

Union for the Mediterranean, the Anna

Lindh Foundation, the 5+5 Dialogue, and the

MED 7, and has always looked favourably

upon collaboration on projects of clear and

significant success when it comes to Euro-

semiconductor materials and is the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Mr Energy Kearo at

University of Malta.

Economic and Social Develo

Forum on the Economy and Competitiveness, Rabat, 26 April 2019

List of ten Maltese personalities

Sommet List of des ten deux Maltese rives: Forum personalities Forum on Youth, Education an

de la méditerranée

Sommet des deux rives:

Prof. Lucian

Forum de la méditerranéesemiconductor materials and is

Forum on Energies, Algiers, Ing. Carolina 8 April 2019 Sofia is a graduate in engineering University of and Malta. sustainable ener

currently working at the Research Support Services Directorate at the University Ms of Malta Vane

Prof.

Ing. Malta, The Sunday Times of

Luciano Carolina Forum on the Economy and C

Mr Kearon Bruno is an economist currently advising the M

Ms Mirana A

Economic and Social

Mule-

Development.

Sofia

programme aimed at increasin

Forum on Youth, Education Stagno, and Mobility, Malta, 24/25 April 2019

Prof. Luciano Mule-Stagno, specialises sports in renewable contributor energy

Ing. on Maltese Carolina

and

semiconductor materials and is the Director of the Institute

currently

Forum for Sustainable

working

on Culture, Energy

at the

Medias at

Researc

the a

University of Malta. Ms

Mr

Mirana

2 John

Agius

Luke

Ms Vanessa Macdonald is the head of business

Mr

content

Kearon

The Malta Forum entitled, ‘Investing

Silvio

Ellul

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Malta, Forum on The the Sunday Economy

Ms Mirana Times and Competitiveness,

Agius of Malta Silvio and Rabat,

is an the assistant Business 26 Economic April 2019

Co-ordinator Observer.

and Social Mr Developm John Lu

of LEAD, an educatio

in a #MediterraneanGeneration’, will

programme aimed Ing. at Carolina increasing Sofia the is number a graduate of female Forum Pulse

in engineering candidates on – Social Environment Democratic in sustainable Maltese politics, and Stud

energy, anS

conceive innovative and scalable projects currently sports contributor working at the on Mr

Research Maltese TV Support national Services station. Ms

Directorate at the University of Malta.

Kearon Vanessa

in the domain of youth, education and

Bruno Macdonald

Mr Pierre

mobility which can be presented at the

3

Forum on Culture, Medias and Tourism, Montpellier, conceptual 2/3 May and 2019 installation a

summit in Marseille. The Forum is being

Mr Kearon Bruno is an economist currently advising the Malta Ms Ms Council Mirana Vaness for Ag

Forum on Youth, Education and Mobility, Malta, 24/25 April 2019

Economic and Social Development.

Malta, programme The Sunday aimed at Times increasing of M

organised in collaboration with the Anna

Mr John Pierre Luke Ellul is a student Ms activist sports currently contributor serving on as Maltese President TV

Pulse – Social Democratic Students.

Lindh Foundation, supported by the

Portelli Antonella

Forum on Environment and Sustainable

European Commission, and in association

Axisa Development, Dr Mark Caus P

and Director of Genista Resea

with two Swiss Universities (L’Università

Ms Vanessa Macdonald is the head of Forum business on content Culture, for The Medias Times an of

Malta, The Sunday Ms Times Mirana of Agius Malta Silvio and the is an Business assistant Observer. Co-ordinator of LEAD, an educational

della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and

Mr Ms John Anton Luke

programme aimed at Dr increasing Mark the number of female Prof. candidates in Maltese politics, and a

Mr Pierre Portelli is an artist, curator Pulse – Social and Democratic researcher Studen who

L’Institut de hautes études internationales sports contributor on Maltese TV national station.

conceptual and installation Causon art. Simone

et du développement in Geneva); the

Borg

Forum on Culture, Medias and Tourism, Montpellier, 2/3 May 2019

Union for the Mediterranean (UfM); the

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and

Mr John Luke Ellul is a student activist currently serving as President Prof. Simon of

Pulse – Social Democratic Students.

environmental law. Mr In Pierre 2017, P

Dr Mark Causon, freelance conceptual consultant and installation in ar

More information can be obtained by contacting 22042325 or 22042292 or 22042262. Ms Antonella Axisa is an actress, presenter and voiceove

and Director of Genista Research Foundation, a leading o

Mr Pierre Portelli is an artist, curator and researcher who works mainly in

conceptual and installation art.


EP ELECTIONS

Malta Business Review

The European Parliament launches a

website on European election results

This new, dynamic website contains all

results from past and present European

elections and is now available in all official

EU languages.

www.election-results.eu will be updated

in real time on election night on 26 May

with overall European election results,

including national breakdowns, as details

are transmitted by national authorities.

Past European elections

The website contains the composition of

all outgoing European Parliaments since

1984, breakdowns by national parties and

political groups since 1979 and all results

at national level since 2009. The site also

offers information on trends in European

elections, for example on gender balance.

A dynamic and interactive website

• The comparative tool can compare data

between different elections.

• Users can also explore possible

parliamentary coalitions with the

majority calculator once the first

official projections are made available

on 26 May.

• A widget can tailor the website to your

needs. It will publish historical results

of European elections on your website

and provide live results.

• Download datasheets in open data

formats (json, xml and csv) and graphic

image formats (jpg and png).

If you wish to embed the raw data on

election night, subscribe to receive details

on how to do so and updates by email to:

election-results-data@europarl.europa.eu.

Tests will be carried out on 25 April, 7

May and 14 May to ensure transmission,

reception and other functions are

running correctly. To take part in these

test sessions, send requests by email to:

election-results-data@europarl.europa.eu.

The press tool kit provides more

information on the elections such as facts

and figures on the electoral process, the

lead candidates and achievements of

the EU. It also offers regularly updated

information on the Eurobarometer surveys

and useful contacts for journalists who

cover Parliament’s activities. MBR

Links:

European-elections.eu

election-results.eu

Contacts:

Neil CORLETT

Head of the Press Unit

neil.corlett@europarl.europa.eu

Michaela FINDEIS

Press Officer/Editorial Coordinator

for Plenary

michaela.findeis@europarl.europa.eu

La Giara

A “Giara,” Jar in English, is a storage

container, cylindrical in shape, typically

made of earthenware and very common in

the Mediterranean area.

It seemed to us that a “Giara” would be

the perfect symbol of the rustic genuine

world of the Italian peasants from which our

cuisine takes inspiration.

At La Giara you will discover the pleasures

of authentic and delicious Sicilian regional

cuisine. A tavola.

Opening Hours : Mon-Sat Lunch 10.00am

to 4.00pm Dinner 6.30pm to 11.30pm

Sunday : 10.00am to 4.00pm

75/76 Republic Street, Valletta Malta

T: +356 21231255 MoB:+356 99496010

E: lagiaramalta@gmail.com

www.lagiaramalta.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

RULE OF LAW

RULE OF

LAW

Malta and Slovakia: MEPs warn of lack

of judicial independence and corruption

• All indications of criminal acts,

particularly money laundering and

tax evasion, must be promptly and

fully investigated

• Ensure safety of journalists

• Malta must terminate its investor

citizenship and residence schemes

MEPs deplore serious shortcomings in

the rule of law in Malta and Slovakia,

also warning of rising threats for

journalists throughout the EU.

Parliament passed on Thursday, with

398 votes to 85 and 69 abstentions, a

resolution summarising the conclusions

of the working group set up within the

Civil Liberties Committee to monitor

the situation of rule of law in the EU,

particularly in Malta and Slovakia,

following the murders of journalists

Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak

and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

The House condemns the “continuous

efforts of a growing number of EU

member state governments to weaken

the rule of law, the separation of

powers and the independence of the

judiciary”. The text underlines that the

assassinations of Ms Caruana Galizia

in Malta and of Mr Kuciak and Ms

Kušnírová in Slovakia, and the murder of

journalist Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria,

had “a chilling effect on journalists”

across the EU. It recalls that a strong

democracy based on the rule of law

cannot function without strong and

independent media.

Malta

MEPs call on the EU institutions and

the member states to initiate an

independent international public

inquiry into the murder of Daphne

Caruana Galizia and the alleged cases

of corruption, financial crimes, money

laundering, fraud and tax evasion

reported by her, which involve Maltese

high-ranking current and former public

officials.

The text insists that all libel cases

brought by members of the Government

against her and her family be

withdrawn.

It also demands an investigation into

the Panama Papers revelations and

the links between the Dubai-based

company ‘17 Black’ and the Minister

for Tourism, former Minister for

Energy and the Prime Minister’s Chief

of Staff.

Parliament wants the investor

citizenship and residence schemes ,

which allow foreigners to gain residence

or citizenship rights in Malta in exchange

for a high investment, terminated

immediately, as these programmes

pose “serious risks” to the fight against

money laundering and “result in the

actual sale of EU citizenship”.

Slovakia

MEPs welcome the charges brought

by the Slovak authorities against the

alleged instigator of the murders of Ján

Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and urge

the investigation to continue at both

national and international level, by all

means available. All aspects of the case

should be fully investigated, including

any possible political links to the crimes,

they add.

The resolution voices concern about

the allegations of corruption, conflicts

of interest, impunity and revolving

doors in Slovakia’s circles of power. It

also warns over the politicisation and

lack of transparency in selection and

appointment processes, such as for the

position of Chief

of Police.

Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL), Chair

of the Rule of Law Monitoring

Group, said: "European pressure

and cooperation can certainly

lead to results. There is evidence

of this: thanks to the cooperation

with Europol, the Slovaks could

arrest the suspects in the murder

of Ján Kuciak and Martina

Kušnírová and due to the EU’s

pressure, the Maltese government

is now slowly gearing into action

to modernise problematic laws.”

Background

Following the

murder of Daphne Caruana

Galizia, MEPs of the Civil Liberties

Committee and the Special committee

on the Panama Papers travelled to

Malta on 30 November-1 December

2017. Civil Liberties and Budgetary

Control Committee MEPs also visited

Slovakia in March 2018, in the wake of

the assassination of Mr Kuciak and Ms

Kušnírová.

The rule of law monitoring group

headed by Ms Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE,

NL) made a follow-up visit to both

countries in November 2018. MBR

Credit: Estefania Narrillos; John Scharnz

36


TECH INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

TURNING

YOUR EVENT

INTO A

SUCCESS

STORY

TAILOR-MADE TO THE

LAST DETAIL

| Weddings

| Conferences

| Themed Nights

| Corporate Events

| Digital Signage & more!

powerhousemalta.com

info@powerhousemalta.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net

37


Malta Business Review

TECH.MT

TECH.MT

Launch of Tech.MT in collaboration between the Government of Malta and the Malta

Chamber of Commerce—“Tech.MT will serve as a marketing arm for a technology driven

economy and deliver the message of what makes Malta the Powerhouse of Economic

Innovation” – Parliamentary Secretary Schembri

Parliamentary Secretary for

Financial Services, Digital

Economy and Innovation Silvio

Schembri launched Tech.MT, a

non-profit foundation that will function

between the Government of Malta and

the Malta Chamber of Commerce.

“The launch marks the successful

execution of yet another budget promise.

Tech.MT will serve as a marketing arm for

a technology driven economy and deliver

the message of what makes Malta the

powerhouse of economic innovation”,

explained Parliamentary Secretary Silvio

Schembri while adding that this year’s

budget tripled the budget allocated for

this measure.

Silvio Schembri said that while the Malta

Digital Innovation Authority will be

focusing on its regulatory role, through

its diligent efforts Tech.MT will ensure

that Malta is positioned as an attractive

working location within key tech areas

as are: Cloud Apps, Internet of Things,

DLT, Artificial Intelligence, Regulatory

Technology and Big Data Analytics.

“Through Tech.MT, Malta will be actively

promoted in foreign fairs, conferences as

well as educational institutions such as

universities. The interest in Malta and its

activity within this new emerging sector

was quite remarkable, giving rise to

companies which had already announced

their decision of relocating to Malta. Tech.

MT will be supporting these companies

by assisting them in promoting their

services away from our shores”, said the

Parliamentary Secretary.

He added that strengthening our

workforce’s digital skills within the digital

realm and beyond has topped the national

agenda. “We want youths to be part of

our vision, in fact one of the Government’s

appointees on the board will be a student

representative who shall chair the

youth sub-committee that will support

the governors’ vision and help them to

keep abreast of students’ educational

aspirations related to these tech areas”,

said Silvio Schembri.

“I am honoured, that as President of

the Malta Chamber, I am joining the

Parliamentary Secretary to launch Tech.MT,

a new foundation that shall seek to promote

Malta as a tech centre for innovative

technologies. The aim of Tech.MT shall

be to promote Malta as a tech centre for

innovative technologies. That means that

through this new body, we want to assist

tech companies based in Malta in exporting

their information and communications

technology beyond our shores. With this

clear aim, I am convinced that it will be

instrumental in taking this prolific industry

to the next level, building on the strengths

that it already enjoys and move forward

to new ambitious highs. So I appeal to all

practitioners in the field of tech to come

forward and talk to the Chamber and see for

themselves how we can help them”, stated

that President of the Malta Chamber.

Chairman of Tech.MT Mark Bugeja

explained that Tech.MT’s vision is based

on four main pillars: to promote Malta as

a tech centre for innovative technologies

within industry verticals, innovate, assist

operators and investors, and attract talent.

Credit: THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT

FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES, DIGITAL

ECONOMY AND INNOVATION MBR

38


ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

Malta Business Review

Deal Trends in the

Anti-Money Laundering

Systems Market

By Neil Katkov

Celent analyzes the client base

and recent deals of the 45 AML

transaction monitoring and

watchlist screening systems

profiled in our recent AML vendor report

series.

Recently Celent's Neil Katkov published a

report titled Deal Trends in the Anti-Money

Laundering Systems Market. In his research,

Neil Katkov, found that sales of AML systems

will continue at a steady pace in the

midterm. Investments will be increasingly

geared toward improving AML process

efficiencies and supporting digital channels.

In a series of three recent reports, Celent

profiled 45 AML transaction monitoring

and watchlist screening systems provided

by 28 vendors. These studies use the

Celent ABCD Vendor View, which shows at

a glance the relative position of vendors

in the following categories: Advanced

Technology, Breadth of Functionality,

Customer Base (number and distribution

of clients), and Depth of Client Services on

two separate X/Y scales.

The data-gathering process for these reports

provided considerable insight into the AML

software market, as well as data on AML

software deals globally in recent years. By

consolidating and analyzing data published

in the three ABCD Vendor View reports, this

report provides a view of market and deal

trends globally for AML systems.

Celent believes that the information

provided by vendors in response to our

requests for information (RFIs) provides

an adequate basis for the analysis in this

report. However, some vendors contacted

by Celent chose not to participate in the

RFI process. Additionally, space and time

constraints prevented us from including all

of the many regional and local providers in

the market. Consequently, the data must

be interpreted with caution.

"While driven primarily by regulatory

requirements, in recent years AML

compliance investments are increasingly

geared toward improving efficiencies in

AML processes through improved rules,

algorithms, and analytics; assisted alert

and case management workflow; more

powerful visualization tools; and enhanced

reporting capabilities," says Neil Katkov,

Head of Risk and Compliance at Celent.

"Business and efficiency objectives,

including AML-KYC support for digital

channels as well as streamlining KYC

processes to improve the customer

experience, are leading to requirements

for real time monitoring and analysis,

as well as some degree of automated

processing," he added.

KEY RESEARCH QUESTIONS

• What is the outlook for AML systems

sales?

• What is the overall composition of

the client base for AML systems?

• How many new sales of AML

systems do vendors report?

ABSTRACT

The anti-money laundering (AML) software

market is large and complex, with many

international, regional, and local providers.

In a series of three recent reports, Celent

profiled 45 AML transaction monitoring

and watchlist screening systems provided

by 28 vendors. These studies use the

Celent ABCD Vendor View, which shows at

a glance the relative position of vendors

in the following categories: Advanced

Technology, Breadth of Functionality,

Customer Base (number and distribution

of clients), and Depth of Client Services on

two separate X/Y scales. MBR

Credit: Michele Pace, Celent PR & Digital.

Celent, a division of Oliver Wyman

INSIGHT DETAILS

Sector

Banking, Capital Markets, Insurance,

Investment Management, Securities

& Investments, Wealth Management

Content Type

Reports

Focus

Benchmarking, Legacy and Ecosystem

Transformation, Platforms, Risk

Management & Compliance,

Technology trends, Vendor landscape

Location

Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North

America

www.maltabusinessreview.net

39


Malta Business Review

Cont. from Pg 28

“The EU, while strategically myopic, is

formidably good at process against negotiating

opponents,” said Rogers. “No one was paying

much attention to how the EU was patiently

constructing the process designed to maximize

its leverage.” At every turn, Barnier pressed

home his advantage, and the U.K. — with little

alternative — bowed to the inevitable. “We

don’t need to create rapport de force. It was

there on the day it [Brexit] was triggered,” was

how one French official put it.

Upper hand

Where was the imbalance of power more

important than on the Irish border? By

February, 2017 — before Britain had even

triggered Article 50 — Brussels had taken

ownership of the problem and come up with

the beginnings of a solution. In a confidential

Brexit note, titled “Brexit and the Border

between Ireland the U.K.,” the Commission

proposed a soft land border for goods — and

no border controls for agriculture and food. In

effect, the island of Ireland would be treated

as unified when it came to food and farming.

Northern Ireland would be subject to EU law

even after it had left. The kicker: This meant

there would have to be border controls within

the U.K. — between Britain and Northern

Ireland. Ireland asked for something,” one

European Commission official said. “But

so did the EU: single market integrity in

Northern Ireland.”

According to Connelly’s “Brexit & Ireland,”

the memo “acknowledged the sensitivity

of this idea,” because of the fury it would

cause among unionists in Northern Ireland.

“As the Commission’s Irish interlocutors have

indicated,” the note stated, “insisting on such

a solution could harm the peace process.”

But it was the only way under EU law, the

Commission concluded, given the U.K.’s

decision to leave the EU’s customs union.

The discussion about the border was part of

the EU’s work on its Brexit negotiating “bible,”

in preparation for the U.K.’s official declaration

of departure. It was published, after extensive

consultation with national governments, at

the April leaders’ summit shortly after Theresa

May triggered Article 50 on March 29, 2017.

Like a balloon slowly expanded from its

original form, the negotiating guidelines were

simply a blown-up version of the statements

published by the EU in the hours after the

result was announced. As the talks dragged

on, the balloon continued to expand but

never substantially changed shape. There

must be a “balance of rights and obligations”

the agreement declared. “The integrity of the

single market must be preserved, which means

the four freedoms are indivisible and excludes

any cherry-picking,” it read.

Crucially, it also declared there would be a

“phased approach” to the negotiations. Only

SPECIAL FEATURE: BREXIT

after the divorce had been settled could work

on the future relationship begin. It was exactly

what Vote Leave had feared. Britain would

have to agree to settle its bills and agree to

the EU’s solution to the Irish border before

talks could start on what kind of relationship

would come next. This would deprive the U.K.

of much of its leverage in the discussion about

the future relationship. “Where we are now

has been obvious for a long time,” said a senior

member of Theresa May’s Downing Street

operation. “By setting up the sequencing like

they did, and putting Northern Ireland in the

first phase, this was always going to happen.

It was their choice, it doesn’t say anywhere in

Article 50 that it had to be like this.”

"There was always a worry

that the Irish were the

Brits’ Trojan Horse

Irish wins

When the EU’s negotiating “bible” was

published in April 2017, Brussels was still

publicly toying with “creative solutions” for the

Irish border. It also restricted its commitment

to the “aim” of no hard border between the

Republic and Northern Ireland. Yet the frenzied

Irish diplomacy had already resulted in three

substantial achievements.

First, Enda Kenny visited the U.K. prime

minister in July 2016, the month that May

took office, and won a public assurance that

there would be no return to the borders of

the past. Second, the border problem had

been put explicitly on Brussels’ agenda — a

top-ticket divorce item that needed to be

resolved before the U.K. could depart. Third,

Dublin had persuaded the EU as early as

April 2017 to confirm that should Northern

Ireland ever reunify with the Republic it would

automatically become a member of the EU.

The British were furious, but the EU had

proved it had Ireland’s back.

In November 2017, after the U.K. had failed

to propose a solution to the Irish border,

the Commission unveiled its proposal: a

“backstop” to ensure that whatever happened

in the future, the border would remain open.

Barnier’s team had concluded that the only

way to protect the EU single market while

avoiding a hard border in Ireland was for

the U.K. to ensure that there would be “no

regulatory divergence” between Northern

Ireland and the rules of the single market and

customs union.

May, already struggling politically, the

implications were deadly. Doing so would

require one of two painful compromises,

each of them anathema to political factions

supporting her government. The entirety

of the U.K. would have to abide by EU rules

(something hard-line Brexiteers would

never accept), or Northern Ireland would be

subject to different laws to the rest of the

country (a measure to which the Northern

Irish unionists whose votes she depended on

were sure to object).

Bending the rules

The reaction in London was apoplectic. The

Commission had proposed bending the rules

of the single market to apply bits of EU law to

Northern Ireland, but not the rest of the U.K.

The proposal was designed to answer the goals

laid out by Brussels and Dublin: to protect the

integrity of the single market and maintain an

open border. It ensured the price for Brexit

would be paid by the British and not the Irish

who otherwise faced the “ghastly choice,” in

the words of one high-ranking EU official, of

erecting border controls with Northern Ireland

or diluting its membership of the single market

and customs union.

Olly Robbins, Theresa May’s chief negotiator,

travelled to Brussels to complain. “Among

our many arguments was a key democratic

deficit point,” said one U.K. official who was

in the room with Robbins. “You will leave

Northern Ireland with no say in the laws

governing it. That is tyranny and will be

unsustainable.”

But the EU were immovable — and eventually,

in December 2017, the British agreed to the

proposal. In Dublin they could not believe

the U.K. had agreed, one senior EU27 official

said. “I remember being in a taxi that Sunday

night. We just could not believe the British

had accepted the text. We knew it would

not be acceptable to the unionists. The truth

is, Brexit was always going to poison the

atmosphere and it has.” The Irish backstop

would remain the key sticking point for the

rest of the negotiations, even after May

convinced the EU to widen its scope to ensure

the whole of the U.K. remained in the customs

union. Ultimately, it caused May’s deal to be

rejected in parliament in January 2019 — the

largest government defeat ever. That raised

the prospect of the U.K. crashing out without

a deal, plummeting Northern Irish politics

further into crisis.

“There were a number of missteps, but the

two most serious were on the sequencing

and the language on the backstop,” said

former Brexit Secretary David Davis. “By

giving way on the sequencing right at the

start we broke the linkage with the future

relationship that was vital. From December

2017 onward [after the backstop was

40


SPECIAL FEATURE: BREXIT

Malta Business Review

agreed] it went from a standard, fairly tough

negotiation to a struggle to escape from the

positions [May] fell into.”

One senior Downing Street official said the

U.K. had warned the EU about the risks the

backstop posed domestically, but felt it had

no choice but to agree. “It didn’t feel like

we had much choice, it felt like it would all

fall apart quite quickly if we didn’t. But that

sowed the seeds for where we are now.”

Asked directly whether the EU knew what

it was getting itself into, one senior official

close to Barnier said: “Oh, we know what

we’re getting ourselves into. We just have

no choice.”

Salzburg reality check

For the U.K., the reality of its position finally

came crashing down in September 2018,

at special EU summit in the Austrian town

of Salzburg. On, Wednesday September 19,

May’s most senior advisers were relaxing

on a rooftop hotel bar. The mood was light.

Hopes were high. May was due to address EU

leaders the following day and had one-to-one

meetings lined up with key leaders Donald

Tusk and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

By lunchtime the next day, the prime

minister — and British diplomacy — would

be publicly humiliated, her best-laid plan for

Brexit rejected. May had started her tenure

riding high in the polls — the dominant,

domineering figure in British politics.

Parliament was rarely consulted; only because

of a court order did the prime minister seek

the chamber’s consent before triggering

Article 50.

It all went wrong for May after she called a

snap election in the hope of securing the

strong majority she would need to push

through whatever deal she struck with

Brussels. The plan backfired. In a stunning

rebuke, voters stripped the Conservative

Party of its majority. As the leader of the

largest party, May remained prime minister,

but she became reliant on the votes of the

conservative Northern Ireland Democratic

Unionist Party, a fiercely pro-union party

that had opposed the 1998 Good Friday

Agreement that brought peace to the island.

Weakened, May became unable to soften

her red lines — or compromise on the

Irish border — without losing the support

of the hard-line Brexiteers in her party or

the Northern Irish unionists. Her red lines

kept her in power, but they made it nearly

impossible for her to strike a deal with the EU.

“She drew bloody red lines which she has

consistently tried to blur afterwards,” one

of the EU’s most senior Brexit officials told

POLITICO shortly after the deal had been

agreed. “It wasted a lot of time because it

made every single step very painful.”

Forced retreat

As the negotiations dragged on, Britain was

repeatedly forced to retreat. May would make

a stand, only to be forced to back down as the

EU pressed on relentlessly. Efforts to whittle

down Britain’s financial accounts with the

EU were rejected, until May finally agreed

to honor them in full. Rows over the role of

the European Court of Justice protecting EU

citizens’ rights dragged on. British pride was

badly piqued when the EU made clear the

U.K. would not remain full partners in EU

programs it had once played a leading role in,

such as Galileo, European defense or security.

The law was the law, and Britain would be a

third country.

British concessions were large and small. Staff

at the U.K. parliamentary representation in

Brussels — UKREP — were left exasperated

after each visit from David Davis, May’s first

Brexit secretary. On each occasion, Davis

demanded that they prepare to host the joint

press conference with him and Barnier on

British soil in the city. But every time, despite

the staff going to great lengths to ensure

the U.K. could put on a press conference at

the last minute if necessary, Davis always,

eventually, relented to take questions in the

European Commission.

Theresa May, right, was humiliated by EU top

brass in Salzburg in September 2018 | Barbara Gindt/

AFP via Getty Images

The first significant blurring of Theresa May’s

red lines came in December 2017, with her

acceptance of the backstop.

“It was every bloody time,” said one British

official. “Every time. And every time we ended

up at the Commission.”

There were other small indignities. Before

the negotiations started there had been,

in London at least, talk of alternating the

negotiations between the British capital and

Brussels. By the end, no technical talks had

taken place in London.

Officials from both sides often met in

meeting room 201 of the European

Commission’s “Charlemagne zone” on floor

five of the Berlaymont building, one EU

official said. On the side of the wall outside

the room sits a picture of Conwy Castle

in Wales, a building renovated using EU

structural funds — a neat statement of the

EU’s position on Brexit.

Climbdown

The first significant blurring of Theresa May’s

red lines came in December 2017, with her

acceptance of the backstop. Then came May’s

Chequers proposal, in July 2018. For May, the

proposal — named after the prime minister’s

country retreat — was a huge climbdown. It

envisioned the whole of the U.K remaining,

to all intents and purposes, in the EU’s single

market for goods. It would allow the U.K.

to avoid a border being erected — on the

island of Ireland or in the Irish Sea. But it was

politically costly. May’s foreign secretary, Boris

Johnson, and her Brexit secretary, David Davis,

both resigned in protest, along with six other

junior members of the government.

It was this proposal that May had brought

to Salzburg, in an attempt to break the

deadlock by appealing directly to EU leaders.

Doing so was a gamble — and an enormous

miscalculation. At the leaders’ summit, Donald

Tusk quickly dismissed any chance it would

be accepted. The Chequers proposal was

“not acceptable” he said. “Especially on the

economic side of it.”

French President Emmanuel Macron broke

with diplomatic niceties, attacking British

Brexiteers as “liars” and dismissing May’s

proposal as a “brave step” that remained “not

acceptable.” “The Chequers plan cannot be

take it or leave it,” he added.

In Westminster, the episode became known as

the “disaster of Salzburg,” epitomizing months

of failure. “Salzburg was the moment British

diplomacy came crashing down,” said one U.K.

diplomat. “It was a big misunderstanding, a big

mistake,” agreed the senior adviser to an EU

leader intimately involved in the negotiations.

Westminster had underestimated the EU’s

determination to ensure the Brexit talks

remained a bureaucratic process — and not be

sucked into political horse-trading with the U.K.

“It misread the legal nature of the EU,” one

senior French official said. “This is what makes

it strong.”

The British “seemed to think this was the

moment it would be taken out of Barnier’s

hands to become a political negotiation,” the

adviser continued. “That was the last time

the U.K. thought it could all be sorted out

politically.”

MPs take control

I feel like, when people look back at this, they

shal realize this was the real beginning of the

end,” texted one member of May’s inner circle.

It was 10:20 p.m. on March 25, 2019, and

MPs had just voted to begin the process of

“indicative votes” on alternative Brexit plans.

With less than one week until Brexit day —

already kicked down the road into April after

parliament had twice voted down the deal

May struck with the EU in November MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

41


Malta Business Review

VFA AGENT PROVISIONAL LICENCE

BDO receives in principle approval as a

VFA Agent from the MFSA

By Karl Saydon

BDO, through its group company BDO Fintech

Advisory Limited, is delighted to be one of the

very first entities in Malta to receive ‘in principle

approval’ as a Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) Agent in

terms of Malta’s newly launched VFA regulatory framework.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has issued

the first wave of provisional appointments and the licencing

process is expected to be completed within the coming

months when provisional VFA agents are expected to be

officially given a full licence to operate as VFA Agents.

The granting of this appointment enables BDO to assist both

VFA issuers and VFA service providers in obtaining their

licence to operate in a regulated environment. Specifically, a

VFA Agent can assist in the setting up of an exchange and to

advise investment advisors, OTC brokers, custodians and VFA

portfolio managers on the relevant structures, policies and

procedures to conduct VFA business in Malta.

Malta has been one of the leading jurisdictions providing for

legislative frameworks to spearhead innovation in Distributed

Ledger Technology (DLT), Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.

Mark Attard, Chief Executive Officer at BDO Malta stated “BDO

Malta has adopted a first-to-market approach in adding VFA

Agent services and the related advisory support to its service

portfolio. Our Fintech advisory team has already successfully

assisted clients to register their White Papers during and

after the Transition Period. We believe that our experience,

knowledge and end-to-end service offering uniquely position

BDO as a go-to service provider for VFA Issuers, VFA Service

Providers and Blockchain companies seeking to grow their

business through Malta’s innovative regulatory framework.”

Josef Mercieca, Tax Partner, stated, “Following the

introduction of new legislation in Malta regulating the

crypto and blockchain space, and now the appointment of

VFA Agents, entrepreneurs and technologists can launch

their ideas to market with legal certainty, within a welldefined

regulatory environment and a respected jurisdiction.

The possibility of obtaining licences to conduct crypto or

blockchain business is very valuable to any business seeking to

grow in an otherwise uncertain market.”

BDO offers full tax advisory services in relation to the trading

of cryptocurrencies, legal services for companies seeking

to establish a blockchain business in Malta, including the

launching of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platforms

and any initial coin offerings ancillary thereto.

Forming part of BDO Global, BDO in Malta is a fully-fledged

corporate services firm assisting international and Maltese

companies in driving their business towards further growth.

BDO is represented in 162 countries and territories, with over

80,000 people in over 1,500 offices worldwide. With over 40

years of practice in Malta, BDO has shaped into the leading

mid-tier firm. Today, the firm assists clients across a wide

range of industries, supported by solid technical expertise,

deep market insights and an international business mind-set

plugged into the BDO global network. MBR

42


EDITOR’S CHOICE

Malta Business Review

DoDo is an Italian luxury charms

brand founded in 1994

The Italian maison, Pomellato

declared its commitment to

the protection of the natural

heritage by creating a new

brand – DoDo. Instead if trying to fix the

existing brand into a new product sector,

Pomellato had an idea of launching a

new line of jewellery that would have a

different image and character.

DoDo was the first Luxury brand to

offer composable, high-end jewelry to a

broader unisex audience by combining

playful aesthetics and expressing a

personal message. DoDo’s jewelry

pieces combine sustainably sourced

precious metals and stones, high-end

artisanal know-how, and the creativity

of Italian design. DoDo is present in

Europe, the Americas and Asia through

a network of 50 retail stores and

franchises, and in over 500 authorized

dealers. Edwards Lowell are the official

retailers of Dodo in Malta.

A DoDo piece is more than a simple

jewel. Every charm tells a story that

conveys a personal meaning or celebrates

love, luck, freedom and friendship.

Dodo’s talking charms carry strong

emotional and sentimental significance

for the person who wears them. Their

anti-conformist style and upbeat

philosophy appeal to all generations from

millennials to baby-boomers.

DoDo jewellery is characteristic for its

quirky and light-hearted design that can

be worn by anyone, regardless of age

or gender. The brand is heavily inspired

by Pomellato ability to tell a story

with a piece of jewellery. DoDo main

products consist of animal motifs that

have meaning in the realm of love and

friendship.

The name of the brand comes from

a bird – DoDo – that was driven into

extinction by the Dutch and Portuguese

colonists on the island of Mauritius. The

name itself pays respect not only to a

magnificent bird but also to all other

beautiful things around us. New animal

charms are added every year, but the

classic pendants are made in yellow

or pink gold on a black-waxed cotton

cord. Charms have become a symbol of

the brand that is nowadays recognised

around the world and can often be

spotted on celebrities. DoDo’s charms

also come accompanied by a rhyme

that matches the meaning behind the

pendant.

Despite being a brand associated with

the younger generation, DoDo’s value

is justified by the valuable materials

used. The jewels evoke positive feelings,

filling those who wear them with an

impression of good vibrations. Apart

from coming in various colours to suit

each mood and personality, some

charms can be found more luxurious,

enriched by diamonds. DoDo has several

collections in its portfolio – from various

animals to lucky charms and love

symbols that can be mixed depending

on the preference.

The meaningful design and luxury

finishing influenced DoDo’s global

recognition and allowed the brand to

establish itself as a forward-thinking and

young-at-heart jewellery maker. MBR

Visit: www.elcol.com/shop/brand/dodo/

for more information and latest pieces

valletta - T. +356 21 24 7447

st. julian’s - T. +356 21 38 4503

info@elcol.com - www.elcol.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net

43


Malta Business Review

GAMING

Wazdan games now available

for Nektan’s B2B operators

27th March 2019, Malta –

Wazdan announce a new

partnership with Nektan which

will see more than 110 HTML5

Wazdan games distributed via Nektan’s

platform to their B2B operator partners.

Nektan is a fast-growing international

gaming technology and services provider.

They specialise in providing fully managed

white label casino solutions and in the

distribution of mobile and online casino

content to global operators. Their growing

portfolio of partners have access to a

breadth of content from a variety of

providers including Microgaming and

NetEnt, as well as NextGen, Realistic

and Aristocrat. Nektan invests heavily

in the continual development and

implementation of unique gaming

experiences. Their content distribution

platform "E-Lite" allows their catalogue

of premium games to run smoothly

and effortlessly across all devices and

operating systems. Nektan’s partnership

with Wazdan is set to further enhance

their offering to operators, as well as the

experience for players.

For Wazdan, the partnership with Nektan

is a great win in increasing their reach

in the UK, as well as other jurisdictions.

Operators are already looking to take

Wazdan games through Nektan, as soon

as the integration is complete; highlighting

just how in-demand Wazdan games are to

operators and players alike. Nektan is the

latest in a line of big platforms to take an

interest in Wazdan content, following the

likes of Iforium, Relax Gaming, iSoftBet,

Microgaming, Groove Gaming and more.

It is the Unique Wazdan Features that set

Wazdan games apart and generate highdemand

amongst players and operators.

All new Wazdan games contain these

innovative features, including the world's

first Volatility Levels, Energy Saving

Mode, Double Screen Mode, Unique

Gamble Feature, Ultra Lite Mode, Ultra

Fast Mode and Big Screen Mode, which

was unveiled at ICE London 2019 in

February. These features are continually

enhanced and added to, offering players

tech-packed games compatible with

desktop, tablet and mobile.

"Partnering with Wazdan allows us to

further enhance our B2B offering; giving

operators a breadth of more quality

games for their portfolios, while delivering

players with a thrilling gaming experience

that Wazdan consistently produces. The

notable demand for Wazdan games is a

testament to the value they can bring to

the Nektan offering. We look forward to

a long and prosperous relationship," says

Jane Ryan, Chief Operating Officer of B2B

at Nektan.

"Seeing Wazdan games become available

to Nektan's B2B operator partners is

a true joy for our team, and a great

opportunity for Wazdan to increase

our reach in the UK, and the other

jurisdictions Nektan operate within.

Learning that our games are already

in demand by Nektan operators is a

humbling moment for us and really must

be credited to the dedication our team

has in producing engaging, innovative,

high-tech games," says Andrzej Hyla, Head

of Sales at Wazdan. MBR

ABOUT WAZDAN:

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 Wild

Guns as well as amazing new and

upcoming slot games, including Los

Muertos, Mayan Ritual and Larry

the Leprechaun. Wazdan releases

new, exciting titles on a regular

basis and equips them with Unique

Wazdan Features: innovative Volatility

Levels, exciting Unique Gamble

Feature and mobile-friendly 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 regulations. Furthermore,

their games use the RNG certified by

the NMi, which ensures reliable, fair

and secure gameplay.

Contact: Laurie McAllister, Digital

Fuel, laurie@digitalfuel.marketing

ABOUT NEKTAN:

Nektan is a fast growing, international gaming

technology and services provider, specialising in

mobile casino. It licenses its proprietary technology

to leading operators including BetVictor and

provides end-to-end technology and white label

casino services for leading brands including News

International’s, The Sun Play.

Nektan's full end-to-end technology platform,

Evolve, enables the management of the full customer

experience and back-office operations, allowing

partners to focus on marketing the product to their

consumers.

The E-Lite platform is Nektan’s B2B gaming content

aggregator and bonusing platform that delivers a

wide range of premium content from the world’s

leading game studios. It is an easily-integrated add

on module for operators, giving them an array of

options and flexibility on how they manage and

distribute a breadth of premium gaming content

across their networks.

Nektan’s US operating subsidiary, Respin,

provides US land-based casinos with an in-venue

mobile gaming solution. It allows operators to

add mobile technology and content to their

existing offerings, with products accessible to

players across both cabinets and mobile devices

inside casinos.

Headquartered in Gibraltar, Nektan is regulated by

the Gibraltar Licensing Authority, the UK Gambling

Commission and the Information Commissioners

Office. As a socially responsible license holder,

Nektan endeavours to deliver a safe, secure and

robust player gaming experience.

Nektan plc was admitted to the AIM market of the

London Stock Exchange in November 2014.

For more information on Nektan, head

over to www.nektan.com.

44


TRANSPORT

Malta Business Review

Mobility package:

Parliament adopts position

on overhaul of road

transport rules – By Jaan Soane

• Clear rules on drivers’ pay and on rest

times

• Three-day limit for cabotage operations

• Fewer but better controls and roadside

checks

MEPs amend rules to fight illegal practices

in road transport and improve working

conditions for drivers.

On Thursday, Parliament approved its

position to negotiate with the Council on

revised rules for posting of drivers, drivers’

rest times and better enforcement of

cabotage rules. They also want to put an end

to distortion of competition by hauliers using

letterbox companies.

Fairer competition and fighting illegal

practices in international transport

To help detect when rules are being breached

by road hauliers, Parliament wants to replace

the existing restriction on the number of

cabotage operations (i.e. transport operations

in another EU country following a crossborder

delivery), with a time limit (3 days)

and introduce registration of border-crossings

through vehicle tachographs.

There should also be “cooling-off period” for

vehicles to be spent in the home-country (60

hours) before heading for another cabotage,

to prevent “systematic cabotage”.

To fight use of letterbox companies, road

haulage businesses would need to have

substantial activities in the member state

where they are registered. Since operators

increasingly use light commercial vehicles to

provide transport services, those operators

would also need to follow EU norms for

transport operators, MEPs say.

Clear rules on posting of drivers and less red

tape for operators

EU-wide rules on posting of drivers will

give a clear legal framework for applying

posting of workers rules in the highly mobile

transport sector, to prevent red tape caused by

differing national approaches and ensure fair

remuneration for drivers.

MEPs want the posting rules to apply to

cabotage, and cross-border transport

operations, excluding transit, bilateral

operations and bilateral operations with one

extra loading or unloading in each direction (or

zero on the way out and two on return).

MEPs want digital technologies to be used

to make drivers’ lives easier and reduce

road-check times. They also want national

authorities to focus on companies with poor

compliance records, while cutting back on

random checks on law-abiding operators.

Better working conditions for drivers

MEPs also proposed changes to help ensure

better rest conditions for drivers. Companies

will have to organise their timetables so

that drivers are able to return home at

regular intervals (at least every 4 weeks). The

mandatory rest period at the end of the week

should not be taken in the truck cab, MEPs add.

Video statements by the rapporteurs (available

at approximately 15.30)

https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/

vote-on-mobility-package-statements-by-therapporteurs_I170828-V_v

The EP position on rules on posting of drivers

was approved with 317 votes in favour, 302

against, and 14 abstentions.

The position on rules on drivers rest periods

was approved with 394 votes in favour, 236

against, and 5 abstentions.

The position on amending rules on access to

the occupation of road transport operator

and road haulage market, setting out rules on

cabotage and tackling letterbox companies was

approved with 371 votes in favour, 251 against,

and 13 abstentions. MBR

Credit: EP Press Officer

President George Vella visits

Ministry for Gozo Minister and staff

HE the President Dr. George Vella being led by the Hon.

Minister for Gozo Dr. Justyne Caruana

Gozo Ministry Staff

Credits: Ministry for Gozo | Photo Credit: DOI – Omar Camilleri

www.maltabusinessreview.net

45


Malta Business Review

EU: WORK-LIFE BALANCE

MEPs adopted measures to reconcile work and family life

• Minimum of ten working days paternity leave paid at the

level of sick pay

• Two months of non-transferable paid parental leave

• Five days of annual carer’s leave

• Flexible working patterns, including remote working

• Plenary adopted new rules on paternity leave and nontransferable

parental leave, in a final vote on Thursday.

The law, informally agreed with EU ministers, and adopted by

MEPs with 490 in favour, 82 against and 48 abstentions, sets

minimum requirements for all member states, in a bid to boost

women’s representation in the workplace and strengthen the

role of a father or an equivalent second parent in the family. This

would benefit children and family life, whilst reflecting societal

changes more accurately, and promoting gender equality.

Paternity, parental and carer’s leave

• The right to at least 10 working days of paid paternity

leave for fathers and equivalent second parents (where

recognised by national law) has been granted around the

time of birth or stillbirth and paid at not less than the

level of sick pay.

• MEPs also added two months of non-transferable and paid

parental leave. This leave should be an individual right,

creating the appropriate conditions for a more balanced

distribution of caring responsibilities within the family.

• Member states will set an adequate level of payment or

allowance for the minimum non-transferable period of

parental leave, taking into account that the take-up of

parental leave often results in a loss of income for the

family and a higher-paid family member (who is often a

man) should be able to make use of this right.

• Member states must offer 5 days per year of carer’s leave

for workers providing personal care to a relative or a

person living in the same household and with a serious

medical condition or age-related impairment.

Member states that already guarantee a payment or allowance

of at least 65% of a worker’s net wage, for at least 6 months of

parental leave for each parent may maintain such a system.

Flexible working

Working parents and carers would be able to request an

adjustment to their working patterns including, where feasible,

through remote working or flexible schedules. When considering

flexible working requests, employers may take into account not

only their own resources and operational capacity, but also the

specific needs of a parent of children with a disability and longterm

illness and those of single parents.

Quote

Rapporteur David Casa (EPP, MT) said “This directive invests

in bringing about more gender equality and a better division

of responsibilities. Women have suffered from lack of equality

leading to difference in salaries and a pension gap. Now they

will be supported to enter the labour market and reach their full

potential, while fathers will have a bigger role in their children’s

upbringing. This directive benefits also family members taking

care of an older generation. It is good for men, women, families

and the economy.”

Next steps

The directive enters into force on the twentieth day following its

publication in the EU Official Journal. Member states will have to

comply with the rules within three years. MBR

Credit: EP Press Officer

46


EP HEARING

Malta Business Review

EU AUDITOR QUESTIONS

‘TRANSPARENCY’ IN THE EU’S

BIG STIMULUS PLAN By Nicholas Wallace

‘Juncker Plan’ auditor says more information about rejected

loan applications would have helped his analysis. Some east

Europeans question funding decisions.

As the European Union

contemplates a follow-on to

its main economic stimulus

programme, a senior auditor called for

greater openness about the details of how

the current programme operates.

In an interview following a recent

European Parliament hearing, Leo

Brincat, a member of the European

Court of Auditors, said the audit of

the so-called Juncker Plan would have

been aided if officials had provided him

more information about rejected loan

applications.

“How many projects were refused? Why

were these projects turned down? This

was data never made available to us,”

said Brincat in the Science|Business

interview. “I know transparency is

a trendy buzzword nowadays, but

seriously, you cannot have a big picture

of such an initiative […] if you only look

at what has been approved, and you

don’t have any idea of what has been

refused.”

The court’s audit, published in January,

said the Commission and the European

Investment Bank had overstated the

benefits of the Juncker Plan and that most

of the money was invested in a few west

European countries. Since the release,

Brincat has been explaining the findings

publicly – and some east European

politicians have raised questions about the

programme’s fairness.

At a 21 March European Parliament

hearing, Ivana Maletić, a Croatian

conservative MEP, asked Brincat about the

matter. “We all remember that at the very

beginning the Commission and EIB were

collecting project pipelines, ideas, and

ready projects from the member states –

so do you have information on what they

refused?” she asked Brincat. She said she

was particularly concerned by the finding

that more than 50 per cent of Juncker

Plan investments were concentrated in

five large western states (France, Italy,

Spain, Germany, and the UK) and said the

EIB should have been trying “to decrease

inequalities between the member states.”

The Juncker Plan was the flagship policy of

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

when he took office in 2014. It aimed

to boost Europe’s economy by targeting

investment where it was most needed. The

plan’s main instrument is EFSI, which uses

EU and EIB funds to guarantee loans that

would otherwise be too risky to provide.

EFSI’s planned successor is the InvestEU

programme, which would use the EU

budget to guarantee up to €38 billion of

higher-risk loans, including €11.25 billion for

research and innovation.

‘Nonsense’, says EIB chief

When the ECA report came out in January,

EIB President Werner Hoyer dismissed

concerns about geographic distribution of

the guarantees as “nonsense” because the

auditors did not factor in the relative GDP

of different countries. The Commission

protested that auditors had failed to show

“the full picture.”

In the interview, Brincat said it was the

Commission and the EIB, which work on the

programme together, that didn’t present

auditors with the complete picture of what

happened. Due to limits to the court’s

jurisdiction, auditors could not demand the

documents officially.

“I’m not saying that there was any bias

in the way things were judged. But

definitely, we are not privy to the big

picture,” said Brincat. “We are not here

to put them on trial,” he added; “we want

EFSI to be a success.”

When asked for comment, a Commission

spokesman said: “The ECA audit report

on EFSI (the European Fund for Strategic

Investment) does not list any weaknesses

related to access to documents and the

ECA was not refused access to any official

documents relevant to this audit. Decisions

on which projects are supported by EFSI

are taken by an independent Investment

Committee following EIB proposals. These

decisions are made public and available

online.” An EIB spokesman said the

information Brincat referred to wasn’t part

of EFSI, and was therefore beyond the

scope of the audit.

How EFSI works

The dispute is over some administrative

details of the programme. With EFSI,

applicants – who may be seeking to

fund new airports, broadband networks,

computer installations or other projects

– apply to the EIB for financing. EIB staff

screen the applications for their suitability

for EFSI loan guarantees then submit those

they select to an independent Investment

Committee for decision on whether to

guarantee the loan. The question Brincat and

Maletić raised involves those applications

that never made it to the committee.

Information on these proposed projects, said

Brincat, is necessary to judge the Juncker

Plan properly.

“Only by analysing the refused projects

and the reasons why they are refused

can one really understand whether there

were fair criteria throughout the whole

process,” said Brincat. "Unless we have

such data, no matter how deep our

analysis might be or our audit might be,

we never have the big picture."

An EIB official said that the bank doesn’t

regard loan applications as potential

EFSI projects until the EIB’s management

committee recommends them to the

EFSI investment committee. Applications

rejected before that point, from the EIB’s

point of view, have nothing to do with EFSI.

In Brincat’s view, greater transparency

would be in everyone’s interests, including

those of the Commission and the EIB.

“I think they should be more down to earth

in their communications, less triumphalist,

and I think when you give a warts-and-all

picture of what you are doing, you are more

credible, and you’ll be enhancing your own

image. It’s in our own interests to see the

Commission and the EIB gain the public

confidence that they deserve.” MBR

Credit: European Court of Auditors

www.maltabusinessreview.net

47


Malta Business Review

WORLD AUTISM WEEK

APPROACHING AUTISM

differently

During the second week of April the world

celebrates World Autism Awareness Week. It’s an

opportunity to drive greater attention to the issue,

but also to celebrate the millions of people living

with autism and their contribution to our workplaces, families

and wider society. There are around 700,000 adults and

children on the autism spectrum in the UK, that’s around one

in every 100 people. Despite this, it’s a condition most people

know little about. For this year's World Autism Awareness

Week, Virgin have interviewed game-changing theatremakers,

met a philanthropist who has set up incredible

schools for autistic pupils, and learned how to support autism

in the workplace.

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects

people in different ways. It is not an illness or disease and

cannot be 'cured'. Autism affects how people see, hear and

experience the world. While each autistic person will have

their own strengths and challenges, it often affects how

they understand and relate to other people. This can lead to

difficulties interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language

like gestures or tone of voice. To learn more about autism,

please visit the National Autistic Society’s website.

What is repeatedly overlooked is that people with autism also

often have wonderful cognitive abilities when it comes to

logic, pattern recognition, precision, and concentration. It is

also quite common for many of them to have great interest in

IT, physics, mathematics, and technology.

These are skills that are vital to any business, and yet only

16 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-timeemployment.

This is because many autistic people find it

difficult to secure mainstream employment despite over three

quarters wanting to work.

Thankfully, progress is being made. A few years ago, I

was fascinated to learn about Auticon - a multinational IT

consultancy and social enterprise, which exclusively employs

adults on the autism spectrum as IT consultants.Virgin Group

invested in Auticon back in October 2016, and I’m proud that

Virgin Money and Virgin Management are among their clients,

alongside the likes of KPMG, Experian, GlaxoSmithKline,

Channel 4 and Allianz. It’s companies like Auticon that are

creating enabling environments that allow all of us to flourish

and thrive.

After all, celebrating neurodiversity is not just about autism.

Many people also view conditions like dyslexia as negative,

rather than a positive, different way of thinking. Last year, I

was interested to read a report that says the skills dyslexic

people have, such as problem solving and storytelling, can

help companies meet the business challenges of the future.

The report explains how dyslexic people hold a unique set of

skills that will be really important to business – the ability to

think flexibly and creatively and solve really complex problems

by thinking differently.

My dyslexia has given me a massive advantage in life. It has helped

me to think creatively and laterally, and to simplify things, which

has been a huge asset when building our Virgin businesses.

Whether we are talking about autism or dyslexia, employers

and educators should do more to make the most of this

untapped potential to allow people to flourish. We could

all learn a lot from approaching conditions like autism and

dyslexia differently. Rather than encouraging everyone to

conform to thinking the same way, let’s support and celebrate

our differences - in doing so, we all stand to gain. MBR

Credit: Virgin

48


FOCUS: AUSTRIA’S SMES

Malta Business Review

SMEs and private foundations drive

Austria’s wealth industry

The Austrian economy thrives

on the strength of its SMEs,

according to Meinhard Platzer,

Co-CEO of the Austrian business

of LGT Bank, the largest family-owned

private banking group in Europe. He

says: “Austria is a wealthy country,

characterised by small and medium-sized

family enterprises. There are very few

large-scale companies and multinationals,

like there are in Switzerland, but there is

a lot of wealth being generated by strong

businesses, particularly in engineering and

manufacturing.”

Two of the best-known brands to originate

from Austria are Red Bull, the energy drink

company, and OMV Group, the global oil

and gas business. But the economy, and

the private wealth industry, continues to

prosper on the back of wealth creation in

the mid-market.

Platzer says: “After several years in the

doldrums following the crisis of 2008,

when Austria was quite badly hit, the last

year or so has seen quite good growth and

we expect that to continue. We are seeing

the creation of new wealth, with people

selling companies and illiquid assets

becoming liquid, which means it’s a good

time for our business.”

As well as owner-managers selling out,

there is also a generational shift occurring

in many businesses that requires the

support of specialist advisers. In 1993,

Austria introduced private foundations

into law which, unlike in most European

countries, do not need to pursue a

public purpose. There are now about

3,200 private foundations in the country

after the majority of wealthy Austrians

transferred their businesses into

foundations over the last 20 years.

"the economy, and the private

wealth industry, continues

to prosper on the back of

wealth creation in the midmarket

Niklas Schmidt, a partner and head of

the tax team at law firm Wolf Theiss,

says: “Foundations now control most

of Austria’s medium-sized businesses,

and what is interesting is that since

1993, many of the founders who set

those up have deceased, so there is a

next generation taking over and we are

seeing more litigation going on. These

foundations have boards of directors and

growing numbers of beneficiaries, so

there are often competing interests.” The

Austrian private foundation is also gaining

in popularity as an onshore alternative to

foundations and trusts available in places

like Liechtenstein and the Channel Islands.

Dr Paul Doralt is a partner with the law

firm Dorda and focuses on private client

work. He says, “We see a growing number

of international private clients, that is

wealthy individuals and their families,

choosing Austria as a place of residence.

There are people moving to Austria from

Russia and from the Middle East, because

it is attractive, with a high standard of

living, without being as expensive as

Switzerland. The private wealth industry is

really growing again in Austria.”

The Russian market was a huge source

of business for Austria’s private banks

historically, but the combination of EU

sanctions following the crisis in Ukraine

and Russia’s own de-offshorisation policy

has slowed that work. Schmidt says: “We

are still doing work for Russian clients,

often purchasing and selling real estate or

seeking citizenship. That work has shifted

away from tax planning into other areas.”

Instead, Austria continues to attract

assets from international families looking

to diversify their holdings in a stable

European jurisdiction, and keen on the

private foundation structure. The banking

sector is also highly developed: “We

have all the large Swiss private banks

represented here,” says Platzer, “but the

talent pool of bankers in this market is

not really deep. The knowledge base in

this market has grown significantly in the

last ten to fifteen years, which is another

reason why the Austrian private wealth

industry is doing well.” MBR

Credit: Citywealth

www.maltabusinessreview.net

49


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

Outgoing President thanks MBR

Publications Ltd’s MD

As part of her official visit to Israel, The

outgoing President Madame Marie Louis

Coleiro Preca wholeheartedly thanked

Martin Vella, Managing Director at

MBR Publications Ltd, and accredited

award-winning journalist, for the fund

raising initiatives he led during past

years, especially from funds collected

for The Malta Community Chest Fund

and Puttinu Cares, the Maltese children

cancer foundation, recognising the

sterling and genuine work initiated by

the Company for over ten years, with

over Euro 35,000.00 being generated in

the past two years alone. “People want

Taxation and workers’ mobility

discussed at the Informal ECOFIN

Meeting in Bucharest

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna

attended the Informal Meeting of the

Economic and Financial Council in

Bucharest on 5th and 6th April. The

meeting was preceded by a Eurogroup

meeting where the finance ministers

held an exchange of views with the Chair

of the European Parliament’s Economic

and Monetary Affairs Committee

Robert Gualtieri and were debriefed

on the developments related to the

Banking Union by the Chair of the ECB’s

Supervisory Board Andrea Enria and by

the Chair of the Single Resolution Board

Elke König. The ministers also discussed

the governance features of the budgetary

instrument for convergence and

competitiveness, which forms part of the

workstream to deepen the Economic and

Monetary Union.

to be a part of companies that are able

to engage better with their customers,

employees, investors, and stakeholders

who are tied to their social purpose.

This is where an improvement on the

traditional CSR practice called Purposeful

Engagement comes in. Implementing

Purposeful Engagement means giving

back to society, and we thank HE Madame

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca for recognisng

and appreciating our work and we hope

to continue practicing our CSR philosophy

with the new President Dr George Vella,”

commented Mr. Vella. MBR

Source: DOI

During the working session of the Informal

ECOFIN Meeting, the ministers held an

exchange of views on the EU mobile

workers and the challenges posed to public

finances. During the debate, Minister

Scicluna remarked that Malta’s experience

in this regard had been overall positive,

although a number of challenges have to

be faced. Remittances, especially to non-EU

countries, are meeting some difficulties in

view of the banks’ de-risking measures.

The ministers also discussed the role of

taxation in supporting economic growth.

Minister Scicluna said that there is no

such thing as a good tax which supports

economic growth. In fact, any discussion

on taxation should be in the context of

incurring the least damage to economic

growth. Taxes, especially new ones,

have to be closely evaluated as to their

economic impact. Similarly, cross-border

taxation including a change to corporate

taxation must be discussed at the global

Parliamentary Group meets new

President

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, along

with the parliamentary group from the

government’s side, met President George

Vella at The Palace, Valletta.

On behalf of all the parliamentary group

present, the Prime Minister formally

congratulated George Vella on his

inauguration as President. Prime Minister

Muscat said that it is an honour for

most Members of Parliament present to

have served with George Vella when the

latter was Minister. He maintained that

President Vella’s speech at his oath of

office ceremony served as inspiration to

level through international fora such as

the OECD.

Other topics discussed at the informal

ECOFIN meeting included the priorities

for the next Institutional cycle of the

EU and the way forward for the Capital

Markets Union. Minister Scicluna was

accompanied by his Permanent Secretary

Alfred Camilleri. The Central Bank of Malta

was represented at the meeting by its

Governor Dr Mario Vella and the Deputy

Governor Alexander Demarco. MBR

Courtesy/Photo: MFIN

all. Prime Minister Muscat continued to

say how President Vella’s mandate will no

doubt be characterised by integrity and

leadership.

On his part, the President thanked the

Prime Minister and all those present.

He said that once convinced to serve

as President of the nation, he is fully

committed to see the country move

forward. Referring to salient points he

mentioned in his inaugural address,

President Vella signalled his readiness

to serve as moral compass and share his

views on various issues. MBR

Credit: DOI

President George Vella pays

a courtesy visit on President

Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami.

Residence of President Emeritus,

Birkirkara

Photo Credit: DOI – Clodagh Farrugia

O’Neill.

50


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A 2-day B2B/B2C Trade Show, Conference & Exhibition

culminating in the Gozo Business Awards 2019

Under the auspices & patronage of

The Hon. Minister for Gozo

Dr. Justyne Caruana

EXPO DATES:

Friday 31st May 2019 | Time: 0930 – 2100hrs

Saturday 1st June 2019 | Time: 0930 – 1300hrs

GOZO BUSINESS AWARDS:

Saturday 1st June 2019

Time: 1900hrs onwards

The Royal Lady Suite &

The Grand Ballroom

Grand Hotel Gozo,

Mgarr Harbour

Featuring a

FREE concert by

THE

TRAVELLERS

FRIDAY 31 ST MAY AT 07.30PM

In collaboration with

2019

This event is

sponsored by

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

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