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Maltese report
by Euro Reporter
2012-07-18 07:49:42
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Transport Malta calls on Labour Party to remove 'dangerous' billboards

Transport Malta has filed a judicial protest calling on the Labour Party to remove billboards which it considered as being a hazard to motorists. The Authority referred to a recent court ruling which allowed the PL to retain its billboards. It said the billboards were manifestly dangerous as well as illegal.

While it was not its intention to deny freedom of expression to anyone, TM said it was duty bound to follow and apply the law and it could not allow the placing of billboards without a permit and/or billboards which constituted a danger to road users.  The Authority said it had consistently removed illegal billboards, removing nine non-political billboards from the roads between June 12 and 13.

It was illogical and unacceptable that a political party argued that its billboards should not be removed, not even if they constituted a danger, TM said. It therefore called on the Labour Party to act responsibly and to remove the billboards. It also said it should not be held responsible for any accidents caused as a result of the billboards. In its protest TM listed the billboards outside the Sta Venera tunnels, the Birkirkara Bypass, the coast road and Marsa near the Turkish cemetery.


Malta risking the ‘kiss of death’

Labour MEP Prof. Edward Scicluna condemned the PN-led government for repeatedly ignoring the implications of its actions during the European Semester while giving the impression that it is business as usual. According to Prof. Scicluna, the Maltese government is seriously risking falling under the Excessive Deficit Procedure. This would lead intervention by the EU Commission, which would apply stringent austerity measures that have proven to be "the kiss of death" to all countries they have been applied to.

He also maintained that the government has only superficially managed to stay off the Commission's radar by making promises in documents it has submitted to the Commission. However, the government has submitted no credible plans for how it intends to deliver on these promises. “The €40 million budget cut was just the pinnacle of things to come,” Prof. Scicluna said. Moreover, he added, Malta's negative vote on the raising of the age of retirement and the reform or abolishment of COLA carries no weight as the negative qualified majority voting procedure enacted through the sixpack last year ensures that single countries carry no political clout.

Prof. Scicluna reminded the media that while the Minister of Finance had stated that Malta has a positive economic forecast, this same mindset has led the country in a number of pitfalls as in the first quarter, the debt ratio increased to 75%. The deficit has also increased to 5.5% when estimated to the GDP and the government is facing a total actual and contingent debt burden of 92%. In view of this, PL will hold the present Prime Minister responsible for the financial burdens a new government will inherit due to this government's financial blunders, Prof. Scicluna concluded.


Malta has one of the highest rates of inflation in the EU

Euro area annual inflation was 2.4% in June 2012, unchanged compared with May. The highest annual inflation rate was in Hungary (5.6%), this was followed by Estonia and Malta (both 4.4%). A year earlier the Euro area annual inflation rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in June 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.6% in June 2012, up from 2.5% in May. A year earlier the rate was 3.1%. Monthly inflation was 0.0% in June 2012.

In June 2012, the lowest annual rates were observed in Sweden (0.9%), Greece (1.0%) and Bulgaria (1.6%), and the highest in Hungary (5.6%), Estonia and Malta (both 4.4%). Compared with May 2012, annual inflation fell in eight Member States, remained stable in eight and rose in ten. The lowest 12-month averages4 up to June 2012 were registered in Sweden (1.1%), Ireland (1.6%) and Greece (1.9%), and the highest in Estonia and Hungary (both 4.7%) and Slovakia (4.1%).

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