Fl-intervent tiegħu waqt skambju ta’ fehmiet dwar proposta għal Regolament tal-Parlament Ewropew u tal-Kunsill biex jiġu miġġielda s-sussidji barranin li joħolqu distorsjoni tas-suq intern Ewropew, Alfred Sant qal lill-Kumitat għall-Affarijiet Ekonomiċi u Monetarji (ECON) tal-Parlament Ewropew li r-Regolament se jkollu impatt strateġiku li jeħtieġ li jittieħed kont sħiħ tiegħu. Sant huwa r-relatur (rapporteur) tas-S&D dwar l-opinjoni li l-ECON qed iħejji dwar ir-Regolament.

L-għan wara r-Regolament huwa li ditti li jibbenefikaw minn għajnuna mill-istat minn barra l-Unjoni Ewropea ma jitħallewx jikkompetu fis-suq Ewropew ma’ ditti Ewropej li huma soġġetti għal regoli fi ħdan l-Unjoni Ewropea li jipprojbixxu l-għajnuna mill-istat. Investimenti u sejħiet għall-offerti ta’ akkwist se jsiru soġġetti għal skrutinju mill-Kummissjoni Ewropea biex tiżgura li sussidji barranin ma joħolqux kundizzjonijiet inġusti għall-kumpaniji Ewropej. Ir-Regolament għandu l-għan li jipprovdi għodda ġdida biex jindirizza din il-kwistjoni u jiżgura li fis-suq uniku Ewropew, kumpaniji Ewropej u barranin jikkompetu fuq bażi ugwali.

Sant esprima riżervi dwar il-metodu użat biex jinvestiga u jiġġieled is-sussidji barranin. Huwa nnota li l-firxa tal-problema għadha mhux definita. Kieku t-twemmin kien li r-Regolament kien jiskoraġġixxi l-użu ta’ sussidji barranin kien ikun jagħmel aktar sens li l-ewwel issir pressjoni għal ftehim multilaterali dwar il-kwistjoni.

Sant irrimarka li “t-tentattiv ta’ firxa globali għar-regoli tal-għajnuna mill-Istat tal-Unjoni Ewropea jista’ faċilment jagħti lok għal ritaljazzjoni ta’ patta parapatta” filwaqt li wera dubju wkoll jekk issa huwiex żmien tajjeb biex b’mod unilaterali tittieħed azzjoni fuq sussidji barranin pperċepiti jew reali. L-għajnuna u s-sussidji qed jingħataw mill-gvernijiet madwar id-dinja biex iżommu l-ekonomiji għaddejjin.

Fl-aħħarnett Sant sostna li “ir-Regolament jidentifika problema importanti iżda jista’ ma jkunx qed jipproponi s-soluzzjonijiet korretti”.


Sant sounds a note of caution on the proposed new European law to counter foreign subsidies

In his intervention during an exchange of views on a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council to counter foreign subsidies distorting the internal European market, Alfred Sant told the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) that the Regulation will have a strategic impact which needs to be taken into full account. Sant is the S&D rapporteur on the opinion which ECON is preparing on the Regulation.

The aim behind the Regulation is to disallow firms that benefit from state aid from outside the European Union to compete in the European market with European firms that are subject to rules within the European Union that prohibit state aid. Investments and procurement tenders will become subject to scrutiny by the European Commission to ensure that foreign subsidies do not create unfair conditions for European companies. The Regulation aims to provide a new tool to address this issue and ensure that on the single European market, European and foreign companies compete on an equal footing. 

Sant expressed reservations on the method employed to investigate and counter foreign subsidies. He noted that the extent of the problem is still undefined. If the belief was that the Regulation would discourage the deployment of foreign subsidies it would have made more sense first to push for a multilateral deal on the issue. 

Sant pointed out that “attempting a global reach for European Union state aid rules could easily give rise to tit for tat retaliation” while it was also questionable whether now is a good time to unilaterally take action over perceived or real foreign subsidies. Aid and subsidies are being dished out by governments worldwide to keep economies afloat.

Finally Sant argued that “the Regulation does identify an important problem but it might not be proposing the correct solutions”.

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