Minister for Foreign Affairs addresses first EU presidency meeting
The first meeting under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union was held in Valletta yesterday.
The informal Meeting of State Secretaries and Secretaries-General in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the EU Member States is traditionally held a few weeks before an EU Member State assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Malta will take on this role on 1 January 2017.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Fiona Formosa welcomed her counterparts to Malta and led four sessions of discussions.
Minister for Foreign Affairs George. W. Vella presented the main areas of focus of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, namely: migration; the single market; security; social inclusion; the European neighbourhood; and maritime affairs. The programme of this event concluded with a visit to the European Asylum Support Office where presentations on the status of asylum in Europe were held.
Minister Vella focused on the European Union’s Southern Neighbourhood, in particular the situation in the Mediterranean, Minister Vella said Malta will give substantial consideration to the European Neighbourhood Policy, which is now embedded in the new Global Strategy, as it is Malta’s conviction that it can play a vital role in improving the daily lives of people.
their premises and if this is not done legal action will be taken against them.
The Performing Rights Society Ltd is a registered private company claiming to represent musicians all over the world. Having been recognized by the Copyright Board it has been collecting such fees over the years but recently it has been much more aggressive in its efforts to collect what it perceives as its dues.
The licence needs to be paid yearly and is applicable to all forms of music being played. This includes playing background music in a shop or waiting area, even if music is played from original CDs that have been bought and utilised in the premises only frequented by employees on the basis that music increases staff performance and improves morale.
The fee is far from being a standard one since it is calculated by PRS Ltd and the enterprise is sent a quotation, without recourse. The basis of the calculation is made on the square meters of premises, the type of premises and the nature and extent in which the music is used.
Turning on the television in commercial
He also underscored that Malta will ensure that the Western Balkan Region will be conferred its due attention. In this respect, Malta will continue to promote EU Enlargement and the Stabilisation and Association Process.
In his closing remarks, Minister Vella underscored the role of regional and international organisations in enhancing regional cooperation and complementing the bilateral relations that exist between the EU Member States and
premises, playing music in a taxi, and even the ice-cream van jingle also require a licence. The licence fee could cost hundreds of euros and runs in the thousands for larger establishments. In the case of restaurants, fees could go up to Eur8.24 per seat/cover annually just for background music, excluding additional fees in cases of live performances and other.
GRTU is concerned as to how these 'approved' tariffs are drawn up. The calculation of these fees must be done in a transparent manner and be subject to scrutiny. The approval of such tariffs as well as future increases seems to be undertaken without any impact assessment on businesses and without any consultation whatsoever. It is also evident that the copyright board, which is the entity approving of PRS Ltd’s operation and fees, does not have a member representing businesses and retailers, who are the major stakeholders in this issue.
Business owners are very frustrated and are finding difficulty in justifying the needs for this hefty, yearly running cost and license neighbourhood countries. The further consolidation of EU policies towards both the south and the east has a fundamental role to play in helping us build a secure, peaceful and stable neighbourhood.
Minister Vella also expressed his genuine conviction that diplomacy and dialogue pay dividends in the long term.
In conclusion, Minister Vella noted that Malta is always keen to propose new and innovative ways of engaging with our neighbours; and in this spirit announced that Malta will be organising an event that brings together EU Foreign Ministers, Southern Partners and GCC countries in April.
The meeting continued at with further discussions on the European Neighbourhood Policy through a presentation on its southern dimension by Prof Stephen Calleja, Director of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, and another by the European External Action Service on management issues.
when the country is moving in a direction where even the basic trade license is being removed to diminish the burden on business. In this digital age where music is borderless and is available to anybody through the smartphone enterprises are finding having to pay for the use of this music incomprehensible. Businesses in fact are already paying for both for the music and the technology and they work very hard to get clients and no law secures their enterprises’ viability.
Apart from this PRS Ltd is only one operator carrying out such work. More operators could apply with the copyrights board to represent musicians not already represented by PRS. Will Maltese businesses start receiving other quotes they need to pay?
GRTU has requested its members to forward copies of any related correspondence or invoices from PRS ltd to GRTU with immediate effect. GRTU has also written to the Copyright Board, which is part of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses portfolio, to request an urgent meeting to discuss this matter.