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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Report [COM(1999) 69 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(1999) 508 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2000) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1751 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1407 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1206 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


The February 1999 Report stated that Maltese legislation concerning product liability was not comparable to the relevant Community standards. However, a draft law was being prepared. In other sectors such as toys, appliances burning gaseous fuels, personal protective equipment, simple pressure vessels, motor vehicles, foodstuffs and chemicals, the legal texts supplied by the Maltese authorities did not show complete conformity with the acquis. The bodies responsible for implementing the New Approach were not yet in place.

In its October 1999 Report, the Commission stated that Maltese legislation was not sufficiently in line with the Community acquis on the free movement of goods. However, it stressed that considerable efforts had been made to adopt a timetable for eliminating taxes on non-agricultural products, and to transpose a number of Community sectoral directives on foodstuffs, low-voltage electrical equipment, electromagnetic compatibility and equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres. It also pointed out, however, that significant progress still had to be made to align legislation in other sectors and set up appropriate administrative structures to apply the acquis.

The November 2000 Report noted that Malta had made little progress in adopting the acquis concerning the free movement of goods but that there had been some progress on the customs union.

In its November 2001 Report, the Commission stated that there had been significant progress in the adoption of the acquis.

The October 2002 Report states that Malta has continued to make good progress on both the free movement of goods and the customs union.

In its November 2003 Report, the Commission considered that Malta had, on the whole, fulfilled the requirements for accession.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


Free movement of goods entails the elimination of measures restricting trade, not only customs duties and quantitative trade restrictions but also any measures with equivalent, protectionist effects.

Where technical standards are not harmonised, the principle of mutual recognition of national rules applies (in line with the Cassis de Dijon judgment).

The European Community has developed a " New Approach " to harmonisation. Instead of imposing technical solutions, Community legislation simply lays down the essential requirements which products must meet.

The Association Agreement provides only for the elimination of customs duties and the harmonisation of accompanying policies, including the harmonisation of legislation. Apart from these provisions, Malta will have to implement all the acquis applicable in this area.


In July 1999 the Maltese government adopted a timetable for the removal of taxes on non-agricultural products in order to eliminate levies on imports from the European Union (EU). It should now take the same steps for agricultural products.

At that time, there was no Maltese consumer legislation comparable to the Community's Directive on product liability. However, the Maltese authorities say that a draft law is being prepared which is intended to achieve complete alignment between Maltese and Community legislation on product liability.

The institutional set-up in the context of the New Approach is not yet finalised. Currently, the Malta Standardisation Authority (MSA) plays a central and predominant role. The Authority is responsible for technical accreditation, metrology and certain aspects of market surveillance. It is also empowered to issue standards under the Malta Standards Authority Act and coordinates a conformity assessment system (notified bodies). Malta must continue working on the legal framework necessary for implementing Community rules on accreditation, metrology, market surveillance and conformity assessment.

In the area of horizontal and procedural measures, Malta made significant progress in 2001 in establishing the general framework for the application of the New and Global Approach principles. The 2003 final report states that the horizontal and procedural measures required for the administration of the Community acquis relating to products from the sector under the New Approach have been adopted. Maltese standards are applied on a voluntary basis. The MSA, which is an affiliated member of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and a full member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO), is making considerable efforts to speed up transposition of Community standards. Nevertheless, no significant progress on standardisation or certification was recorded in 1999. Its dominant role, however, means the different activities involved, i.e. standardisation, certification, accreditation and metrology, cannot yet be regarded as independent. In 2000, a new law was adopted on the Standards Authority, which provides a basis for the implementation of the acquis on standardisation. A preliminary market surveillance system was formulated in 2002 for certain product sectors, in coordination with the MSA and the Consumer and Competition Division in the Ministry for Economic Services.

As far as sector-specific Community legislation is concerned, the directives on low-voltage electrical equipment, electromagnetic compatibility, equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres, extraction solvents, foodstuffs for particular nutritional use, sugars, honey, fruit jams, jellies, marmalades and sweetened chestnut puree have been implemented.

However, the Maltese authorities have not yet been able to supply legal texts proving the complete conformity of Maltese law with the Community acquis on toys, appliances burning gaseous fuels, personal protective equipment, simple pressure vessels, motor vehicles, other foodstuffs and chemicals. In the field of pharmaceuticals, there is domestic legislation on distribution channels but none on product authorisation.

Given this situation, the Commission believed that Malta should consider the possibility of adopting an internal market approximation programme. The 2002 report notes that Malta completed the transposition of all current European harmonised standards by using the endorsement notice method. The 2003 report states that Malta has transposed all sectoral legislation coming under the New Approach, except the legislation on explosives for civil uses. As regards legislation under the Old Approach, Malta has transposed the bulk of the acquis relating to products in the sectors in question.

The Product Safety Act, which entered into force in 2001, created the Market Surveillance Directorate, under the Ministry for Economic Services, and forms the legal basis for market surveillance. Although the parliament adopted the Food Safety Act in July 2002, the 2003 report requested that more work be done on the issue.

Following an analytical examination of Malta's legislation relating to the non-harmonised sectors, Malta noted that a considerable number of provisions were incompatible with the principle of the free movement of goods and would therefore have to be amended. A timetable for their harmonisation prior to accession was adopted, as confirmed in the 2003 report. Malta has yet to adopt horizontal legislation for the purpose of introducing a mutual recognition clause covering existing legislation.

In the area of public procurement, Malta is currently drawing up new legislation aimed at completing alignment with the acquis.

Negotiations on the chapter on the free movement of goods have been closed. Malta has been granted a transitional arrangement concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals (until 31 December 2006).

As regards negotiations on the customs union, the 2000 report noted that some progress had been made in adopting the acquis, especially in relation to the Customs Code and its implementing provisions, import duties and the Combined Nomenclature. The Single Administrative Document (SAD) was introduced on 1 January 2001. A new consolidated Customs Code, in line with that of the Community, was adopted in March 2002. It covers customs value, import formalities, simplified procedures, customs procedures with economic impact, free zones and free warehouses, customs debts, recovery and remission of duties, transit, and appeals against decisions of the customs authorities. The 2003 report notes that Malta has yet to complete and implement computerisation of customs and to solve all its other interconnectivity problems. Overall, Malta has met its commitments and the requirements following from the accession negotiations.

The negotiations on this chapter were concluded in December 2002. Malta was granted a transitional period, which is to expire on 31 December 2008, for the application of the Common Customs Tariff to imports of certain textile products.

Last updated: 10.03.2004