Fearne confident Malta will join EU certificates system on July 1 – Malta News Briefing – Thursday 10 June 2021

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Covid-19 Update: Four new cases of coronavirus was reported, while five persons recovered. Active cases now stand at 67. 2,123 swabs were carried out yesterday.

Malta will join EU certificates system on July 1- Chris Fearne– Health Minister Chris Fearne has expressed confidence that Malta will link up with the European green certificates system on July 1. This will facilitate travel, he said. A total of 60,000 people have downloaded their vaccination certificates so far, he added. The Health Minister told the media that 76% of adults in Malta had received their first dose and 56% were fully vaccinated. He was speaking as Covid-19 restrictions were being slowly scaled back. Fearne added that the government will be announcing various activities for those who have vaccination certificates.

Five planning board members recuse themselves from db project meeting – Five members of the planning board have recused themselves from the db Group City Centre project hearing. Planning Board Chairman Vince Cassar, Environment Authority Chairman Victor Axiak, NGO representative Annick Bonello and board member Joseph Brincat cited a court sentence that led to the revocation of the first permit issued in 2018 to justify their withdrawal from the meeting. Board member Chris Cilia also recused himself due to a
conflict of interest stemming from his professional role. Apart from Cilia, the four members
who recused themselves were part of the PA board that first approved the permit in 2018.

Updated 0822 – Newspaper Review

The Times reports that the European Commission sent Malta a letter of formal notice over its Individual Investor Programme arguing that acquisition of nationality in member states should respect EU law. The case could be taken before the European Court of Justice.

The Independent quotes a government statement insisting that citizenship is the competence of national governments in the EU. Malta was reacting to a formal letter of notice by the European Commission raising concerns about its passport scheme.

Business Today quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela who declared that Malta wants an open dialogue with the European Commission about the golden passport scheme. He said, however, that the government will defend the programme.

In-Nazzjon quotes a statement by the PN spokesperson for citizenship, Beppe Fenech Adami, who said that the opposition had warned the government about the risks to Malta’s reputation posed by the passport scheme.

The Malta Business Weekly carries an interview with the chairman of the professional diving schools association, Simon Sciberras, who warned that the industry in Malta will take years to recover after it was neglected during the pandemic.

L-Orizzont says that more than 70,000 people crossed to Gozo over the long weekend, most of them on the Sette Giugno national holiday. Compared with the same period last year, travel increased by 52 per cent.

Business Today reports that over 6,000 passengers have boarded the Gozo Fast Ferry service in the first week of operations. The company said that its app has been downloaded 3,000 times since launch.

The Malta Business Weekly quotes Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo who expressed surprise at the UK government’s decision not to lift a travel ban on Malta. The minister said the Conservative government ignored scientific data.

In-Nazzjon reports the launch of a nine-point plan for mental health by the Nationalist Party. The reform envisages the building of a new dedicated hospital and expanding community services.

The Independent reports that EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has replied to a letter from Alfred and George Degiorgio, advising them to refer their queries to Europol. The murder suspects claim they have important information to share on several crimes.

The Times says that the hunters’ lobby denied claims that turtle doves captured as part of a monitoring project died soon after they were released into the wild. The suppliers of the monitoring equipment said that five of the six protected birds are showing no signs of life.

L-Orizzont publishes an interview with personal trainer Isabelle Zahra who said that physical exercise is a treatment for many health conditions. She urged people to get out of their comfort zone and start training.

In-Nazzjon follows PN Leader Bernard Grech to a visit to the open market in Birkirkara. He said that the party is committed to reducing electricity bills and refund families for overcharges by Arms. 

Morning Briefing

Edward Debono passes away: Edward Debono, the academic and doctor who developed the world-famous lateral thinking method, passed away, aged 88. Debono published numerous books translated in more than 40 languages, having achieved global fame with his innovative creative thinking. He held appointments at some of the best Universities around the world, including Cambridge and Oxford.

Malta pushes for stronger controls on human trafficking from Libya: The Maltese Government offered full support to Libya so that its maritime frontiers in the Mediterranean as well as its land frontiers bordering the Sahara Desert be better safeguarded in an effort to curb the phenomenon of human trafficking and criminal organisation be curbed. During meetings held in Tripoli, Internal Affairs Minister for National Security and Law Enforcement, Byron Camilleri, insisted that Malta and Libya have a common and important role of maintaining stability and security in the Mediterranean. In comments to the national broadcaster, Camilleri said that besides the problems of irregular immigration, discussions are also taking place with Libya for investment in Libyan commerce with Malta appearing to be strongly committed to bring about Libya’s economic recovery and more direct foreign investment is placed in Libya.

EU Infringements against Malta: The European Commission has announced a number of infringement decisions vis-a-vis Malta in the latest package of infringements announced earlier on Thursday. The infringements vary from the passport selling scheme to bird trapping and include issues related to waste management and residency permits.
Regarding the citizenship scheme, the Commission said that by establishing and operating investor citizenship schemes that offer citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments and investments, these two Member States fail to fulfil their obligations under the principle of sincere cooperation and the definition of citizenship of the Union as laid down in the Treaties.
On car taxation, the Commission said that Maltese legislation discriminates against imported products since cars imported from other Member States are taxed more heavily compared to domestic cars.

Covid-19 Update: For the second day running, Malta reported just one new coronavirus case. Two persons recovered, lowering the active case tally to 68. 1,658 swab tests were held yesterday. 243,252 persons are now fully vaccinated.

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