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Malta

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Report [COM(1999) 69 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 508 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1751 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1407 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1206 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

The February 1999 Report finds that, since the 1993 Opinion, progress has been made in the anti-trust field with the adoption of the "Competition Act" in 1995. In other areas such as merger control, state aid, public companies and state monopolies, adoption of the acquis is a priority. On the institutional front, the existing organisations and procedures must be improved and a state aid monitoring system must be put in place.

In its October 1999 Report the Commission considered that no substantial progress had been made in 1999. No specific system of state aid and merger control existed as yet in Malta. Malta also should ensure full transparency by presenting annual state aid report and by setting up a state aid monitoring authority. Lastly, measures should be taken to apply the competition rules to state monopolies, public undertakings and private undertakings having special rights.

The Report for 2000 felt that Malta had made little progress in the area, while acknowledging that the setting up of the State aid monitoring Council was a step in the right direction.

The Report for 2001 stated that some progress has been made. With regard to restrictive agreements, the Competition Act has been amended, and in the field of State aid, a new law on the promotion of firms has come into force.

The Report for 2002 stated that Malta had made progress in the area. It needed, however, to make an effort to improve results in the field of application and implementation of legislation on State aid.

The 2003 Report indicates that Maltese law is generally in line with the accession commitments made in the antitrust and State aid fields. However, it notes a worrying delay in implementing the restructuring plan of the shiprepair/shipbuilding industry.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The competition rules of the European Community derive from Article 3(g) of the EC Treaty, which provides that the activities of the Community are to include "a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted". The main areas of application are agreements between undertakings, abuses of dominant positions and State aid, dealt with under Articles 81, 82 and 87 (ex-Articles 85, 86 and 92) of the EC Treaty.

Malta is therefore called upon to apply progressively the provisions of the Merger Control Regulations (4064/89) and Articles 31 (ex-Article 37) and 86 (ex-Article 90) concerning monopolies and special rights of the EC Treaty.

EVALUATION

Overall, Maltese legislation in the field of competition is largely in line with the acquis, apart from exemption for public undertakings, and Malta has achieved reasonable results on implementation.

From 2002 onwards exemption of certain firms from the Competition Act will be justifiable only in the defence of public interest.

In administrative terms, the Office for Fair Competition, the body responsible for seeing that the anti-trust legislation is observed, and the Council in monitoring state aid, have produced positive results.

With regard to State aid, Malta has adopted the system in force in the EC. However, further efforts must be made to ensure that Community State aid rules are implemented effectively. In addition, Malta benefits from transitional arrangements until 2008 for the granting of State aid for shiprepair/shipbuilding. However, the Commission has serious concerns regarding the correct implementation of these arrangements and has called for remedial action to be taken as a matter of urgency to bring Malta into line with Community law and to ensure that it complies with the conditions laid down for accession.

Negotiations on this chapter are still under way. Malta must make additional efforts to ensure that the State aid rules are properly applied and implemented.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 04.03.2004
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