Amidst a fierce campaign leading to the general election on the 3rd of June, the Labour Government and the Opposition Nationalist Party have found themselves united on a common front.

Both the Government and the Opposition have taken the same position, categorically rejecting an extensive report nicknamed ‘Malta Files’ issued by the network of investigative journalists, ‘The European Investigative Collaboration (EIC)’. This report describes Malta as a base for rich people and oligarchs to exploit the taxation system consequently avoiding and evading taxes due.

The Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil insist that there is nothing illegal in the Maltese tax system. Moreover, they maintained that the information published in the Malta Files is public information and accessible through the register of the companies held by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

The Maltese taxation system charges 35% tax rate to companies but permits its foreign shareholders to claim a rebate of 85% on tax already paid. Through this system, Malta approximately generates over € 240 million per year.

Both the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil rebuffed accusations that in Malta there are offshore companies.

In the past days, whilst addressing a joint press conference together with the Prime Minister of Malta, the Finance Minister of Malta, Edward Scicluna described this attack as ‘bullying’ from other European countries who are envious of the Maltese taxation system and the regulatory framework for remote gaming. They appealed for a unified position against this unprecedented assault to defend Malta and safeguard investments and employment.

Minister Scicluna affirmed that neither the European Commission nor the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OSCE) has ever criticized the taxation system in Malta, besides the fact that no reference was made to Malta in the recent report on the avoidance of taxation systems in the EU.

Unofficial sources in Brussels, have declared that France and Germany are behind these claims on Malta’s taxation system. France is currently experiencing a period where it wants to develop and strengthen its financial sector. 

The French authorities want to lure big companies willing to leave the UK following Brexit and so exploit mechanisms that have brought success in the financial services sector in small countries such as Malta and Luxembourg.

On several occasions, Germany requested Maltese authorities to provide information on particular German companies, and the Maltese authorities concerned responded with full documentation. The Maltese Minister of Finance was recently in Berlin where he met with the media and explained that there is no secrecy in the Maltese tax system.

The Maltese Prime Minister declared that he would defend the interests of Malta against all odds, “Malta is a full-time member of the EU, not part-time. And a basic point of the single market is freedom of establishment. So I have no difficulty to defend the system. We’re not alone in the European Council – a prime minister I speak to, told me ‘the day they touch our taxation is the day we’ll say no to everything.”

According to the transparency criteria applied by the Tax Justice Network, Malta ranks at number 50 whilst Luxembourg and Germany are at 54 and 55 respectively whereas Panama and Switzerland both hit the bottom of the list.


Source: medNews


In the presence of King Mohammed VI, agreements were signed concerning the beginning of the project of the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline. During the ceremony held at the Royal Palace in Rabat, the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, illustrated the main lines of this south-south energy development and cooperation project. Once realized, the pipeline will have a positive impact on over 300 million Africans, enabling acceleration of electrification projects in the western part of the continent. The beginning of such collaboration had been discussed during an official visit to King Mohammed VI in Nigeria last December. The agreement for launching feasibility studies for the gas pipeline was signed by the National Hydrocarbons and Mines Office and, for Nigeria, by the National Petroleum Company. Nigeria, which has the highest GDP in the continent, is the 22nd global gas producer, the fifth global exporter and the 1st exporter in Africa. The gas pipeline project would be 4,000 kilometers long and would cross 15 West African countries, then move on to Europe via the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Morocco, in continental terms, is a country with recognized infrastructure capacity, thanks also to the large logistic port projects of Tanger Med and solar energy, with the Noor central station in Ouarzazate. Western Africa has an important energy potential, with almost 31% of natural gas reserves in the continent (3.6 billion cubic meters). The gas pipeline project would allow all the countries in the West African Economic Community (CEDEAO) to dispose of energy with a low environmental impact (as it produces less greenhouse gases than coal and oil).


Source: medNews


At the conclusion of the meeting of the Council for the Internationalization of the Slovenian Economy, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec announced the opening of three new diplomatic offices in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bulgaria. At present, the Slovenian diplomatic-consular network is made up of 53 seats.


Source: medNews


The prestigious international tennis tournament, Kinder+Sport which is sponsored by Kinder Ferrero, will be staged on our shores as part of an international circuit that will touch nine nations in the coming months. The ‘Malta’ tournament will be held in two stages between May 20 and May 28 at the Marsa Sports Club and between July 3 and July 9 at the Pembroke Tennis Club. The winners of both tournaments will fly to Rome to represent Malta in the International Masters between August 20 and August 25 2017. Anyone can participate and there is no registration fee. Participants will compete in age group which range between U10- category to U 16.  During the past editions, the finalists can the opportunity to meet several tennis personality including Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Sara Errani, Jo Wilfried Tsonga, Fabio Fognini, Simone Bolelli, Corrado Barazzutti and Nicola Pietrangeli. The Kinder+Sport Tennis Trophy is being organised by the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) in conjunction with Kinder Ferrero Group and supported locally by the Malta Tennis Federation. This initiative first brought up by former Italian champion Rita Grande, has been extended to the international circuit this year with similar tournaments being held in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Israel Luxembourg, Monaco, Hungry and Malta, before the final tournament held in Rome to determine the overall winners. “This is another feather in the Maltese Tennis Federation’s cap, an initiative born out of the close collaboration between the Maltese Federation and its Italian counterpart. I would like to thank the Italian Tennis Federation and Kinder Ferrero for bringing the tournament in Malta. I would like to convey my best wishes to all participants,” the Malta Tennis Federation president Dr David Farrugia Sacco said. On may obtain more details by sending an email on info” or visit the Federation website (

Source: medNews


LUISS Guido Carli, in collaboration with the Terzo Pilastro Foundation – Italy launches “Progetto Mediterraneo”: a support initiative for students from the Near and Middle East, including refugees which, thanks to the agreement with Petra University of Jordan and the University of Malta, will have the opportunity to attend university courses in the Departments of the Free International University of Social Studies. The “Mediterranean Project” was presented in the new LUISS premises of Villa Blanc, in the presence of Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, President of the Third Pillar Foundation Italy and Mediterranean Emmanuele F.M. Emanuele, President of LUISS Emma Marcegaglia, Executive Vice President Luigi Serra, Rector Paola Severino, General Manager Giovanni Lo Storto and Marwan El Muwalla, President of the University of Petra, Jordan. Connected with Skype, the President of the Republic of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

“It is an initiative that puts LUISS as a privileged interlocutor between the two sides of the Mediterranean, strengthening dialogue and knowledge among young talents coming from neighboring countries but too often perceived far and different. The future of new generations also lies in the possibility of being connected and united in a common development plan. The objective of the Project is to attract young people of quality, laying the foundations for a new dimension of exchange and cooperation, in a strategic high potential area like the Mediterranean. Students will be given the opportunity to study at LUISS thorugh scholarships, and return to their countries as members of the future ruling class”, says LUISS President Emma Marcegaglia.

Twenty young people will be joining the prestigious initiative. A first phase, which has already started, involves the selection of young talents from Petra University, from different nationalities, who will be able, from the next academic year (2017/18), to attend a three-year degree course at LUISS in collaboration with the Jordanian Faculty of Administrative & Financial Sciences. The Mediterranean project will also be joined by Morocco with a mobility initiative between LUISS and Universities of Cadi Ayyad, Mohammed de Rabat University and the Fès Euro-Mediterranean University, which will include the selection of at least three Moroccan students who may, starting from 2019/20, attend a MA degree in LUISS.

“The great challenge facing the” Mediterranean Project “promoted by the Third Pillar Foundation together with LUISS University is to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean political and economic cooperation through a common educational path for young people, focusing on dialogue and on cooperation at the highest levels of training and research, as well as to encourage the meeting between economic operators, institutions and representatives of Universities in order to create a knowledgeable management class aware of the opportunities arising from a greater interaction between economic, social, cultural and political aspects of the area. Once the graduate course is completed, the 20 selected students will be provided with basic skills to continue their studies in the country of origin and become the managers of the future, assuming that the culture and knowledge of the principles of finance and business techniques are the basis for the revival of the Mediterranean area”, says Emmanuele Emanuele, President of the Third Pillar Foundation – Italy and the Mediterranean.


Source: medNews


According to MONSTAT (National Statistical Office of Montenegro) data, 27.3 thousand tourist presences were recorded in March, +10.3% over the same month last year. The number of overnight stays was slightly over 70 thousand (+11% more than the same month of 2016), of which 67.5% were made by foreign tourists.

The highest number of overnight stays were made by tourists from Serbia (17.6%), Albania (8.8%), Russia (7.9%), China (6.9%), France (5.9% ), Bosnia and Herzegovina (5.2%), Italy (4.5%), Croatia (3.9%) and Turkey (3.9%). 63.2% of the overnight stays were carried out at the coastal areas.


Source: medNews


 This past year has demonstrated once again that the scope and scale of the challenges faced by the Euro-Mediterranean region relating to security, migration, unemployment and climate change require swift collective and concerted responses. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) works proactively to achieve greater levels of integration and cooperation in the region through a specific methodology that has yielded positive results in terms of political dialogue and the implementation of region-wide initiatives in which young people play a key role.

Under the active leadership of the UfM Co-Presidency – held by the EU and Jordan – and with the active involvement of the UfM Member States, 2016 has marked a turning point for the institution at the political and operational levels. The UfM 2016 Annual Report showcases 10 new labelled projects during the last year aimed at SME development, job creation, women’s empowerment, renewable energy and depollution, infrastructure development and education. Altogether, the UfM adds up to 47 projects with a budget of €5.3 billion. The tangible positive impact from the first wave of projects is already visible involving over 200,000 beneficiaries in the region, mainly women and young people.

UfM initiatives aim to consolidate human development (26 projects) and promote sustainable development (21 projects) as the main drivers for stability and integration in the region.

The first pillar of action includes initiatives linked to job creation, entrepreneurship and gender equality, such as the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs). More than 50,000 women benefit from women’s empowerment programmes. In terms of sustainable development, in 2016 the UfM launched emblematic projects such as the depollution of Lake Bizerte, under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Initiative for a cleaner Mediterranean Sea, and the SEMed Private Renewable Energy Framework (SPREF), developed in cooperation with the EBRD to encourage the growth of private markets for renewable energy in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.


Source: medNews


Stability Program 2017-2020 and Spain’s National Reform Program 2017 have been approved. The positive revision of growth forecasts for the coming years is among the main innovations of the Stability Program. In fact, the Spanish economy is expected to increase by 2.7% in 2017 (2.5% in the previous estimates) and by 2.5% in 2018 and by 2.4% in 2019 and 2020.

In addition, the unemployment rate will be around 11.2% at the end of 2020. This forecast, in the event of occurrence, would represent a decrease of 16 percentage points compared to the maximum achieved during the crisis period. It should be noted that at the present time (1st quarter 2017) unemployment rate is 18.75%. The government plans to create 500,000 jobs per year, reaching a total of 20.5 million workers in the coming years.

The Stability Program also keeps the fiscal consolidation targets set for Spain; therefore, the public deficit should amount to 3.1% of the GDP in 2017; to 2.2% in 2018 and to 1.3% in 2019. It should be noted that the expected deficit target for 2020 is 0.5% of GDP, which would allow Spain to reach an almost balanced budget.


Source: medNews


At the conclusion of the meetings held in Washington between 17 and 23 April, the International Monetary Fund raised its forecasts for economic growth in the North African and Middle East (including Afghanistan and Pakistan). Overall, the economic outlook for these regions is declining, with the growth passing from + 3.9% in 2016 to + 2.6% this year, due to the reduction in oil extraction decided by OPEC in November, in addition to the political instability in the area. Saudi Arabia would see its growth fall from + 1.4% in 2016 to +0.4% in the current year, while the United Arab Emirates would move from +2.7% to +1.5%. In North Africa, growth prospects in 2017 are decreasing for both Algeria and Egypt, while Morocco, according to analysts at the International Monetary Fund, would see a significant increase in its economic dynamics, which would go from +1.5% in 2016 to + 4.4% in the current year. The positive outlook for the Moroccan economy, developed by the IMF, is expected to continue to grow even in the coming, provided that the country implements the planned reforms aimed at improving the business environment, tax policies and the education system.


Source: medNews


The International rating agency Standard & Poor’s has lowered the country’s long-term rating from BB to B, mainly due to weak fiscal flexibility and rising public debt and due to a number of national and regional factors.

Jordan was placed in the seventh group of BICRA, along with Bulgaria, El Salvador, Indonesia, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal and Slovenia.

The report cited “tax resistance”and credit risk in Jordan, with “intermediate” economic imbalances, while industrial factorswere described in a “high” institutional framework, characterised by competitiveness.

S&P’s report states that regional tensions continue to challenge economic growth. However, it states that the reopening of trade routes with Iraq should benefit from export and transit revenues and thus reduce financial and economic burdens. The report noted the “comforting” performance of the Jordanian banking system and fiscal policies of the Jordanian central bank, despite a slight decline in foreign exchange reserves due to the need to balance the losses caused by the closure of the borders with neighboring countries.

Jordanian economist Mifleh Aqel said he disagreed with the negative outlook given by S & P report, arguing it did not take into account the economic indicators for the first quarter of this year. The economist stressed that the vital sectors recorded positive performance indicators over the last three months, including tourism, exports and remittances by Jordanian expatriates, citing good financial market activity this time of year. He also noted that the Jordanian economy survived 6 years of conflict in Syria and a year of border closure with Iraq. As for investments, he said the whole region is witnessing a drop in the volume of investments, mainly due to the fall in oil prices.


Source: medNews

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