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PRESS RELEASE: Concern regarding the EU borders between Malta and Sicily Following the statement from the Maltese Customs Authorities

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press release custum italy malta

The Maltese Italian Chamber of Commerce expresses its concern regarding the recent notice published on the customs department's website concerning the importation of non-EU second-hand vehicles arriving from Sicily by fast ferry services to Malta. Moreover, the Chamber raises concerns about the discriminatory nature of the notice within the European Union.

In the notice, economic operators and private individuals are reminded of the obligation to declare all NON-EU vehicles, including goods, arriving via catamarans on the Sicily-Malta route, which are intended for the market or private use, prior to or upon arrival in Malta and not after removing or driving them inland. Failure to comply with this requirement may lead to legal action and potential seizure of vehicles/goods.

However, the Maltese Italian Chamber of Commerce notes that the notice seems to unfairly target only the transportation of vehicles via catamaran from Pozzallo, Sicily, while other entry points and routes, such as from Catania, Marseille, Genoa, Bari, or even Greece, are not specifically mentioned or subjected to the same obligations. This selective approach raises concerns of discrimination within the European Union based on the principle of the free movement of goods.

The principle of the free movement of goods is a fundamental tenet of the European Union, ensuring that all member states treat goods from other member states equally, without discrimination. Stopping vehicles and goods without a well-founded suspicion upon arriving from another EU port is, in itself, a breach of the EU concept of the free movement of persons, goods, and services. At the end of the day, individuals should follow EU regulations but should not be stopped at a border where, in fact, there should not be one.

It is imperative that regulations and notices related to customs procedures are applied consistently and without bias, to maintain fair and equitable treatment for all economic operators and individuals within the EU. Imagining a scenario where vehicles or goods from non-EU territories are systematically stopped and subjected to specific requirements only based on the mode of transportation or the specific port of entry within the EU would be contrary to the principles of a unified and integrated European market.

The Maltese Italian Chamber of Commerce calls upon the relevant authorities to address this issue promptly and to ensure that future communications and regulations are developed and applied in a non-discriminatory manner, in full compliance with the principles of the European Union.

We remain available for any further information or clarifications regarding this matter. Transparency, fairness, and adherence to EU principles are essential to foster trust and cooperation among member states.

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