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STATE AID NEWS: EU Commission gives green light for public funding for five ferry connections

Sunday, 29 July 2018 22:22

On 12 July, 2018, the European Commission has found Croatian plans to grant HRK 250 million (€34 million) out of public funds to ensure regular ferry connections on five routes between Croatian islands and the mainland for the purpose of connectivity and development of the islands, to be in line with EU State Aid regulations and deemed not to distort competition within the Single Market.

The Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Croatia's plan to grant public service compensation for the operation of five ferry routes serving passengers and vehicles between Preko on the Island of Ugljan, the Island of Ošljak and Zadar/Gaženica on the mainland, Tkon on the Island of Pašman and Biograd on the mainland, Sućuraj  on the Island of Hvar and Drvenik on the mainland, and Stari Grad on the Island of Hvar and Split on the mainland.

The public service compensation will be granted to maritime companies which will be selected through public tenders organised by the Agency for Coastal Lines and Maritime Traffic (Agencija za obalni linijski pomorski promet), which will cover the difference between revenues from ferry tickets and the cost of operating the ferries regularly so as to allow the islands' inhabitants to commute daily to work or study, as well as to transport vehicles and supplies to and from the islands. The aid has been found to be necessary to ensure operation of the routes with adequate frequencies over the whole year, since ticket revenues exceed the cost of the ferry operations only during the summer peak season.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, is quoted to have said: "For citizens living on Croatian islands, a connection to the mainland is essential. So I'm happy that we are approving public support for ferry connections ensuring the link between five Croatian islands and the rest of Croatia not only during the peak tourist season in the summer, but throughout the year."

The Commission assessed the measures under EU State aid rules on services of general economic interest (SGEI) and EU rules on maritime cabotage.

EU State Aid rules allow Member States to grant aid in the form of SGEI compensation for maritime links to islands aimed at ensuring territorial continuity and improving the living standard of the islands' inhabitants.

State aid for maritime links to islands with average annual traffics above 300 000 passengers must be notified to the Commission, prior to their implementation, for an assessment of their compatibility under the SGEI Framework. The Commission verifies, among other criteria, that the aid is granted to a service meeting a real public need which could not be delivered by market forces without this aid. Moreover, the Commission assesses whether the parameters for compensation are set out in advance, the aid is limited to the minimum necessary and the service provider is selected in line with public procurement rules.

 

 

TD&A NEWS: Participation at EU Competition and Consumer Conference in Malta

Monday, 01 May 2017 17:45

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall, Senior Partner at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates participated at a conference organized as part of the official program of events scheduled during the six months Malta’s EU Presidency – Malta EU2017.

The well attended conference with over 200 participants from all Member States, was held at the Radisson Hotel in St Julian’s between the 23rd and 24th April, 2017 specifically to coincide with the EU Consumer and Competition Day.

The conference was opened by the Hon. Minister Dr Helena Dalli responsible for Consumer Affairs and Competition and Ign. Helga Pizzuto, Chairperson of the Malta Competition and Consumers Affairs Authority and attracted key note speakers on the subjects so discussed during the conference, including Johannes Laitenberger, Director General, DG Competition, Francisco Fonseca Morillo, Deputy Director, DG Justice and Consumers, Ulrich Kelber, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Germany, Olga Sehnalova, MEP, Member of IMCO Committee, Marie Paule Benassi, Head of Unit, Enforcement of Consumer Law and Redress, DG Justice and Consumers, Kris Dekeyser, Policy Director, DG Competition and Gianluca Sepe from the Italian Competition Authority.

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall was chosen as moderator of the second panel at the conference which addressed the topic “Business Practices in e-commerce. Is competition being stifled?” which panel had four distinguished expert speakers: Jacque Steenbergen, President of the Belgian Competition Authority, Guido Lubrano, Deputy Director, IMLAD, Business Europe, Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General, BEUC and Thomas Kramler, Head of the Digital Single Market Task Force, DG Competition.

In Brief, Dr Tanti-Dougall introduced the subject for discussion, e-Commerce, as rapidly growing in Europe with some 296 million on-line shoppers and total sales of almost € 510 billion in 2016. As was the case for the last years, the United Kingdom, France and Germany are clearly the major e-Commerce countries in Europe and in 2015 together, they accounted for more than 60 percent of all online business on the European scenario. In fact, with € 157.1 billion, the United Kingdom is leading in B2C e-Commerce market with 43.4 million online shoppers whilst Germany has had 51.6 million online shoppers last year. However, notwithstanding, he explained that there existed a number of issues with were deemed to be anti-competition such as geo-blocking that were required to be addressed by the EU.

The successful conference was closed by Godwin Mangion, Director General [Competition] within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

 

 

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TD&A NEWS: Paper on Resolution 2309 published in Aviation Security International

Saturday, 15 April 2017 23:43

A paper entitled “The UN Security Council Resolution: squaring the circle?” by Dr Rebekah Tanti-Dougall, Senior Associate at Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates, has featured in the April 2017 Edition [Volume 23, Issue 2] of the prestigious publication ‘Aviation Security International’ - The Global Journal of Airport & Aviation Security. [To download relative article, kindly click on the paper's title above].

In brief, in September 2016, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 2309 (2016) at is 7775th meeting, focusing on Aviation Security, recognizing the vital importance of the aviation system for the global economy and called upon the ICAO Member States to ensure that security standards are continuously reviewed and implemented to adapt effectively to threats perpetuated by terrorists. States and organizations are expected to assist each other in delivery of capacity building, strengthen security screening procedures and promote innovation in technologies and techniques to maximize the capability to detect security threats.

Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates provide various aviation related services including aircraft registration, airport emergency plans, airport security and advice on aviation cyber terrorism.

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TD&A NEWS: Advocates Tanti-Dougall & Associates feature in Yachting in Malta [2017-2018 Edition]

Saturday, 15 April 2017 23:26

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates features in the Twelfth Edition [2017-2018] of prestigious publication "Yachting in Malta", which is deemed as a comprehensive yachting industry directory carrying all related information any person operating in the industry would need including information about all existing marinas in Malta and Gozo, the benefits of the Malta flag, yacht repairs facilities, maritime museums in Malta and yacht chartering.

"Yachting in Malta" is a Wilfred Sultana & Associates publication.

Advocates,Tanti-Dougall & Associates provide a number of maritime related services including ship and yacht registration.