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A New Deal for Consumers: Operators of online platforms should also be liable
The rapporteur, Samuel Azzopardi, believes that the EC’s proposal is a move in the right direction, but regrets that rules on the liability of online marketplaces are missing
With an opinion drawn up by Samuel Azzopardi (MT/EPP), councillor, Rabat Citta Victoria, Local Council, Gozo, the European Committee of the Regions welcomes the publication of the EC’s proposal to lay down a minimum EU-wide framework for collective redress scheme mechanisms across the Member States, which could bring a real opportunity for consumers to obtain redress in cases of mass damage. The revision and update of existing consumer rules in response to current challenges ensures that such rules remain relevant and fit for purpose. This should, however, only be considered as a first step in the right direction.
The opinion, adopted at the plenary session on 10 October, reflects on the EC’s proposal to lay down a minimum EU-wide framework for collective redress scheme mechanisms, bringing an opportunity for consumers to obtain redress in the event of mass damage and thus plugging the current gap in the enforcement of EU consumer rights. It also seeks to modernise consumer rights. The Committee supports the broad scope of the proposal for making a real impact in areas where mass harm occurs and covering other practices that are detrimental to consumers and more largely to the public.
The rapporteur, Samuel Azzopardi, recommends that collective redress mechanisms be extended to other cases of mass harm, including cases of mass environmental damage, harm done to common goods, and in respect of health and safety regulations or violations of employment rights, in order to bring about easier access to justice for all Europeans. He also draws attention to the fact that consumer organisations which can be designated as qualified entities may have limited financial capacities. Consumer organisations in smaller Member States are concerned in particular. Lack of financial capacity should not hinder organisations from being designated as qualified entities.
“European consumers and citizens need stronger protection and legal security”, said rapporteur Azzopardi. “I believe that the right of withdrawal is an important consumer right that should not be weakened in the absence of any conclusive evidence of misuse”. In this respect, the report points out that the minimum fine for widespread infringements, amounting to 4% of a trader’s annual turnover, is not adequately dissuasive.
Finally, the report regrets that rules on the liability of online marketplaces are missing in the EC’s proposal. “Operators of online platforms should be liable in cases where they fail to inform consumers that a third party is the actual supplier of goods or services or where they fail to remove misleading information disseminated by the supplier, which has been reported to the operator”, said Mr Azzopardi.
The European Committee of the Regions
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Get ready for the cypto showdown of the century!
In just 2 weeks, some of the greatest crypto minds will illuminate the much anticipated Malta Blockchain Summit. The Regulatory Conference and The Marketing & Investment Conference will storm the stage during day one.
The Regulatory Conference
The Regulatory Conference kicks off the expo and attracts some of the most prominent personalities of the industry. Prime Minister of Malta, the Honourable Joseph Muscat will set the standard with his keynote speech, welcoming the movers and shakers of the crypto sphere. Around lunchtime, the cream of the crypto crop shake-up the conference with the ICO Pitch. The industry innovators of the sphere will battle it out for an illustrious 50k crypto prize.
The Marketing & Investment Conference
The afternoon heats up with the Marketing & Investment Conference. Liaise amongst some of the key figures of the crypto scene and spark up a debate about the topics that troop the industry. One of the most impressive instances of this Conference is the appearance of AI inspiration, Sophia the robot, where in collaboration with her creator, she will give her take on ICO investment.
With the countdown in its penultimate week, the curtain for final tickets is closing. Secure your spot in one of the most momentous conferences to shake the industry – not to forget the deluxe soirees that follow.
Trending News in Blockchain
Craftchain releases Top 50 influencers
ColdLar releases latest hardware wallet
Trending News in Blockchain
Craftchain released a first-edition global Top 50 Influencers Ranking. The ranking was issued through their partnership with the Malta Blockchain Summit.
Marco Mottana and Fabrizio Crimi will be launching CFX – CryptoFXForinvest at the upcoming Malta Blockchain Summit.
ColdLar Wallet released its latest product, Pro 3, a hardware wallet with a fully support EOS ecosystem with added NFC update synchronisation and an upgraded interactive experience.
New kid on the block
The inaugural edition of the Block is officially out. Packed to the rafters with interviews and cutting-edge features, the bi-annual publication illuminates the cutting-edge applications of blockchain and DLT, with a specific focus on how this exciting new tech has captured the imagination of the Maltese Islands.
MGA Publishes its 2017 Annual Report and Financial Statements
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2017. The report provides an overview of the activities and work performed throughout the year by the MGA which mainly focused on the finalisation of the new Gaming Act, coming into force in 2018, and on the enhancement of its compliance systems, including the implementation of the requirements of the EU 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
Throughout 2017, the MGA also focused on enhancing its IT systems, as reflected in the introduction of the Licensee Relationship Management System (LRMS), a secure and dedicated portal featuring a one-stop shop for licensing and reporting and a new communication channel.
The Annual Report also looks at 2018 and beyond, whereby the MGA will be focusing on the implementation of the new regulatory framework, the transition towards a risk-based approach to regulation, the continued implementation of onerous AML (Anti-Money Laundering)/ CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) obligations, and the application of the General Data Protection Regulation, and its impact on operators and the MGA alike.
The following are the key highlights from the Annual Report:
• During the year under review, the MGA generated a total revenue of €66.3m in licence fees, gaming tax and other administrative fees and fines, compared to €62.5m in 2016. This represents an increase of €3.7m or a 6% year-on-year increase;
• The direct contribution of the gaming industry to the Maltese economy was valued at €1.1 billion in 2017, with approximately 9,800 full time jobs created within operators directly in the sector and other associated businesses;
• In January of the same year, the MGA launched a licensing and regulatory regime based on the Skill Games Regulations for the online skill games sector, including the creation of a specific B2C and B2B licences for ‘controlled skill games’;
• It also conducted a thorough study to assess the application of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the use of cryptocurrencies in a sandbox environment, with the objective of issuing a consultation paper and subsequently, guidelines, in 2018;
• As highlighted above, the MGA kept investing in its IT systems, most notably on the introduction of a New Licensee Relationship Management System accessible through a secure and dedicated web portal. This system has changed the way the MGA interacts with its existent and prospective licensees through the digitisation of regulatory and licensing processes;
• In 2017, the MGA further enhanced its AML/CFT supervisory mechanisms, including the implementation of the EU 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. This involved cooperation with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) to develop supervisory practices and procedures, sector-specific guidelines, and joint supervision;
• MGA’s most important achievement was the finalisation of the new Gaming Act which was tabled in Parliament earlier this year. The new law is set to overhaul completely the way the Authority regulates the sector, once it comes into force in 2018.
In publishing this report, Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Gaming Authority, stated that: “Last year was perhaps one of the most exciting years for the MGA. The ongoing efforts and relentless work of MGA officials on the various projects the Authority embarked upon was reaching its final stages, with the new regulatory framework and the 4AMLD being the most notable ones.
Their introduction in 2018, coupled with the investment in IT systems shall continue to elevate our regulatory standards, by strengthening our controls and empowering the Authority to adopt a risk based approach towards enforcement and supervision.”
Whoever wishes to receive hard copies of the Annual Report may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GLMS welcomes Maltco Lotteries Ltd within the GLMS family
Maltco Lotteries Ltd has today become the 31st Member of the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS). Maltco Lotteries has been a firm and traditional supporter of sport of all levels in Malta and with a long-standing commitment to responsible gaming operations in all its products.
GLMS President, Ludovico Calvi states: “We are delighted to welcome Maltco Lotteries Ltd to our Association. Maltco once again proves its commitment to responsible and sustainable sports betting operations, but also to an ethical driven sport in the highest interest of all Maltese citizens. The joining of Maltco will no doubt further strengthen this unique global alliance of Lotteries that have joined forces to safeguard the credibility of sports, fully in line with the core lottery integrity mission and values”.
Vasileios Kasiotakis, CEO of Maltco Lotteries, adds: “Being an operator that respects both society and its customers and sharing a strong commitment to responsible sports betting operations, Maltco is pleased to join the GLMS, notably as it has been lately enhancing its operations and intensifying its regulatory efforts and activities. We look forward to benefiting from the GLMS services and also contributing to its important work for the benefit of sport and society”
GiG announces headline sponsorship of Malta Pride 2018
“We don’t just believe that iGaming should be fair and fun for all, we believe that life should be fair and fun for all. And to demonstrate our support, today we’re teaming up with Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC) to be Malta Pride 2018’s main partner”.
GiG (Gaming Innovation Group) will be the main partners of Malta Pride this year, Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC), the organisers of Pride have announced. A week-long celebration with different activities will take place between 9-16 September 2018 with the main Parade and open air free concert to take place on Saturday 15 September. The theme of Pride this year will be ‘Pride in the heart of the Mediterranean’.
GIG is a fast-growing tech company with over 450 employees based in Malta but also located in Spain, Norway, Denmark and Gibraltar totalling over 700 employees. Earlier this year, their ultra hip offices by St. George’s Bay were inaugurated by the Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat.
Mikael Ångman, Chief Operations Officer of GiG said: “We are proud to be the headline supporters of Malta Pride, an event we believe to be a highlight in Malta’s calendar! GiG’s vision is to change the iGaming industry to make it fair and fun for all. A huge part of that is to have a diverse workforce and provide an atmosphere where everyone can be the best version of themselves, no matter their background or sexual orientation. We want to encourage everyone to be able to be who they are without fear.”
ARC is a voluntary organisation dedicated to support the LGBTIQ community in Malta by organising monthly events, campaigning for better sexual health, collaborating with rainbow-friendly businesses and co-ordinating Malta Pride.
“Studies are showing that countries that support LGBTIQ rights are better off in economic development and social wellbeing. We are witnessing this in Malta as well and we are finding a lot of positive collaboration with the business and civic communities”- Clayton Mercieca, the co-ordinator of this year’s Malta Pride said. “We are also aware however that negative attitudes and stigma still persist and an event like Pride is an occasion to bring different minorities together in support of each other and give courage to people who are still too afraid to live their truth. To have such a major employer like GIG supporting Pride gives us a lot of encouragement to make each year’s Pride a better one than before – not just for the fanfare and glamour that is fun for all the family, but because there is a lot of isolation in our small islands that makes it very hard for minorities like the LGBTIQ community to integrate”.
Following a record turnout participation last year, ARC has initiated its intent to host an International Pride event in five years time and has become a member of the European Association of Pride Organisers.
Several local artists will be performing for the crowds at the open air concert which will be held after the parade in Valletta. In addition, the Italian Drag duo Karma B. will be entertaining the crowds with their spectacular acts. More information will be available on www.maltapride.org
InnoEnergy organises the world´s leading event for sustainable energy innovations
Pitching sessions from more than 150 start-ups, leading energy experts, live product demonstrations and much more
InnoEnergy, Europe’s largest sustainable energy innovation engine, will host the sixth edition of “The Business Booster” (TBB), Europe´s catalyst for clean energy innovations. This year´s event, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 17 -18 October will focus on the theme “The Future is Now”. More than 700 attendees from over 30 countries are expected to join the 150 cutting edge sustainable energy innovations, which can be discovered in the accompanying exhibition.
“The Business Booster is the only event that brings together the most innovative start-ups from all over Europe with established industry players, investors and public-sector institutions to accelerate Europe´s clean energy transition”, says Elena Bou, Innovation Director, InnoEnergy. “In addition to the start-up´s pitching sessions, visitors can attend round tables, live product demonstrations, and parallel sessions.”
Premiere: Experts´ presentations and reverse pitching
For the first time, InnoEnergy is organising parallel and reverse pitching sessions. In the first format, leading experts in their fields will present their latest innovations and show how their companies have revolutionised the storage, transport, wind and smart city sectors. While in the reverse pitching sessions, enterprises from across the energy sector will approach InnoEnergy´s entrepreneurs to look for sustainable energy solutions to their challenges.
“Each year, we are reinventing The Business Booster to provide start-ups and energy industry representatives with a bigger, better, and increasingly insightful agenda”, Bou says. “Our unique mix of sessions, product demonstrations and networking events create ideal conditions for delegates to discover the latest innovations, create partnerships and increase brand awareness. The clean energy revolution has happened, and the future of sustainable energy is now.”
From high-performance storage solutions to automatic heating control
Among this year’s exhibitors are Swedish-based Northvolt, which is building Europe´s largest lithium-ion battery factory. Betterspace from Germany, on the other hand, develops components to enable automatic heating control for non-residential buildings. Swedish-based Watty will present their patent-pending energy data analytics tool that monitors energy use from every electrical appliance in households with a single sensor to save money and energy. France-based DCbrain has developed a Big Data solution to exploit and maintain complex industrial networks, while Skeleton Technologies from Estonia develops high-performance energy storage solutions based on breakthrough graphene material.
The first speakers have now been confirmed, including key-note speaker Dr. Daniel M. Kammen, Professor of Energy at the University of California in Berkeley, who has served as a lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, panel debates and parallel sessions will include scientist Robert Rosner, Founding Director of the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago, and industry experts Lars Aagaard, CEO of the Danish Energy Association, and Michael Sen, Member of Siemens Managing Board.
Early bird registration is available until 31 July. Further information, agenda, exhibitors and speakers can be found at tbb.innoenergy.com.
InnoEnergy is the innovation engine for sustainable energy across Europe. We support and invest in innovation at every stage of the journey – from classroom to end-customer. With our network of partners we build connections across Europe, bringing together inventors and industry, graduates and employers, researchers and entrepreneurs, businesses and markets. InnoEnergy was established in 2010 and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
Courtesy: KIC InnoEnergy SE; Writemeanything
MEDIA RELEASE FIMBank hosts Corporate Client Event
FIMBank recently hosted a reception for its local corporate clients which was held at the Bank’s Head Office. The event served as an excellent opportunity for the Bank’s clients to interact with their Relationship Managers and customer-facing employees. The Chairman and CEO of FIMBank greeted the clients and thanked them for their attendance. Jason Zammit, Head of Real Estate stated that, “FIMBank has built a reputation on its ability to build strong relationships with its clients. As a customer centric Bank which proactively listens to its clients, we are committed towards tailoring financial solutions to meet their specific needs.” He also emphasised on the importance of such events as it enables the Bank to build a stronger rapport with its growing local customer base. In addition to FIMBank’s real estate finance proposition, the Bank also offers a comprehensive range of trade financing, factoring and cash management services. Describing the Bank’s client relationship management approach, FIMBank’s Head of Cash Management Chris Trapani said that, “The Bank is strongly geared to offer a wide range of Cash Management services to businesses. Our strategy hinges on a personalised approach, with a consistent commitment to adapt to the latest technology and innovation to provide added value to all our clients.”
For more information about FIMBank plc, please visit www.fimbank.com
Single digital gateway: a time saver for citizens and companies
Easier for citizens and businesses to do their paperwork online
• Key administrative procedures to be fully accessible
• Examples include: birth certificates, car registration, European Health Card, study loan and grant applications and business permits
The single digital gateway will help citizens and firms to access information and administrative procedures online, e.g. to apply for study loans or register a car.
A provisional deal struck with the Council on 24 May to set up a single digital gateway, to make it easier to find information, forms and assistance for people moving to or doing business in another EU country, but also for those staying at home, was endorsed by the Internal Market Committee on Thursday, by 33 votes to three, with one abstention.
This European single entry point will be integrated in the “Your Europe” portal, available in all languages. It will provide access and links to national and EU web sites and web pages, in a user-friendly way, to enable users to exercise their rights and comply with their obligations within the single market.
EU member states will be required to grant online access to the most important and frequently used procedures. In “justified exceptional cases of overriding reasons of public interest in the areas of public security, public health or the fight against fraud”, member states may ask the user to appear in person for a procedural step. The information, online procedures and assistance services provided must be of high quality and accessible to users with disabilities. A user feedback tool will also be available.
Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT), who steered this legislation through Parliament, said: “Today, the Internal Market Committee has achieved an important milestone in improving and easing citizens’ interaction with public authorities through the digitalisation of public services and the completion of the digital single market. The new rules will provide responsive, inclusive, borderless, user-friendly digital public services to citizens and businesses at national and European level.”
“Such services are paramount when people want to move, live or study in another EU country and need to request relative documentation, such as a birth certificate, proof of residence or apply for university or study financing, amongst many others. It is also very relevant for businesses wishing information relating to cross-border activities and procedures.”
“Once only” principle and data protection
The “once only” principle aims to ensure that citizens and businesses are asked to submit information only once to a public administration, which can then be re-used in other procedures, upon the user’s request. The single digital gateway regulation includes provisions to make sure that this principle is implemented in line with the new data protection rules.
The draft regulation still needs to be voted by the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary session (September) and formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. In order to give national, regional and local administrations time to adapt, the target date for placing all relevant procedures online will be five years after the entry into force of the regulation. However, many procedures are already available online now or will be available before that date.
The single digital gateway proposal is part of the “compliance package”, aimed at enhancing the practical functioning of the EU single market. It builds on several existing schemes, which cover only a few fields, are not always interconnected, suffer from not being well known and are therefore underused.
According to the European Commission, this legislation could help EU citizens save up to 855 000 hours of their time annually and companies could save more than EUR 11 billion per year.
Equiom Malta raises smiles among local children
Equiom Malta recently organised a trip to the zoo for the children of St. Rita Home orphanage in Tarxien. Staff from Equiom Malta accompanied 13 children from the orphanage to the Wildlife Park in Rabat for the day where the children observed the animals and were treated to lunch.
The team at Equiom Malta also made a donation of €500 to St. Rita Home through a mix of fundraising activities and corporate donations. In addition, they gifted toys to the children in partnership with Playmobil.
Colin Gregory, Managing Director of Equiom Malta commented: ‘I am pleased that we were able to help out in such an important way. Many of these children had never visited the zoo before so it was a great experience both for them and for the staff. I would like to thank the team at Equiom Malta for giving up their free time on a public holiday to make this event happen. Special thanks also to eCabs for providing the transport, Playmobil for the toy donations and the Wildlife Park for entry to the park free of charge for the children. This was a great initiative and I am looking forward to offering more support to St. Rita’s in the future.’
St. Rita Home is an orphanage run by the St. Ursuline Sisters. It is home to 16 local children cared for by four nuns who dedicate their lives to providing a safe and nurturing environment.
Notes to editor
Equiom is fast becoming the stand-out business in the professional services sector, with a strong presence in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and The Americas. It provides a range of innovative and effective business partnering solutions.
Equiom’s experienced and highly qualified teams support corporations and high-net-worth individuals around the world with their fiduciary and related support-service needs.
Equiom is an independent company focused on strategic thinking and quick responses to clients’ requirements. It is a thriving business, continually seeking to develop its product range, in order to provide both existing and potential clients with an unrivalled range of options and opportunities.
Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.
World’s first convertible coin offering platform
The world’s first convertible coin offering platform was officially launched with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat saying that the blockchain technology will be a harbinger of a new economic niche for the country which in turn will create more jobs and wealth. The offering by the company Palladium saw its chairman Paolo Catalfami saying that the project will create more than 100 job opportunities. Palladium uses blockchain technology to bond banking with cryptocurrency and had its prospects approved by the MFSA and is subject to stringent EU laws. Malta is one of the first countries worldwide to regulate this technology creating an ideal ecosystem for companies, start-ups, and investors.
Malta Stock Exchange, Valletta (OPM1007201801-02)