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Title: A decade after EU membership : price control law in Malta revisited
Authors: Fabri, David
Pace, Roderick
University of Malta. Institute for European Studies
Keywords: European Union -- Malta
Price regulation -- Malta
Consumer protection -- Malta
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: University of Malta. Institute for European Studies
Citation: Fabri, D. (2015). A decade of EU membership: price control law in Malta revisited. Reflections on a Decade of EU Membership: Expectations, Achievements, Disappointments and the Future Occasional Papers, 8, 1-27.
Series/Report no.: Reflections of a Decade of EU Membership: Expectations, Achievements, Disappointments and the Future Occasional Papers;08/2015
Abstract: This paper examines the significance and place of price control regulation in Maltese law more than a decade into EU membership. The significance of price controls in Maltese consumer policy and practice should not be underestimated. For many years, they have exercised a seductive effect on Maltese public opinion which still seems to consider restraints on unfair prices and price increases as their preferred consumer protection mechanism. For this reason, any discussion on consumer protection and legislation in Malta would be incomplete without considering the impact of extensive and strict price control legislation in force since before 6 the Second World War. This paper investigates the role and relevance of price controls in Maltese consumer law and their apparent endurance. The main national legislation is the Supplies and Services Act of 1947 which has been amended several times since it came into force on 30 December 1947. The EU consumer protection Directives and Community law neither require nor exclude State control of the price of consumer goods. No Directive on a harmonized price control procedure exists and price control does not constitute a specific part of the acquis. This paper chronicles relevant events, regulations, selected documentation and unusual episodes which throw light on the impact which EU membership has exercised on Malta’s pre-accession price regulation framework. It examines how this may have come about and what lessons may be usefully learnt from this peculiar experience. Citing wherever possible previously unpublished or little-known official reports and other documentation which are difficult to access, this paper places the regulation of prices of goods in the context of the island’s pursuit and achievement of EU membership. As EU membership grew imminent, official government policy inclined clearly towards overhauling, eliminating and reducing the existing price control rules to ensure their compatibility with the Community’s free movement of goods principles. In the post-membership era, price control regulation in Malta has proved to be more resilient than expected, creating scope for further clarification and investigation. This paper states the position of Maltese law as at 30 September 2015. A warning: although mandatory price indications have long facilitated and bolstered the enforcement of price controls, it lies beyond the scope of this paper to consider legislation on price indications and the transposition of the relative Directive.
ISSN: 24093246
Appears in Collections:RDEM - EADF - 2015
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