ARMS Ltd breaching EU law - AD
ARMS Ltd, the company which issues the country's water and electricity bills, was in breach of EU laws since it was not giving equal treatment to non-Maltese EU citizens, Alternattiva Demokratika said.
It said in a statement that it had just received a letter from the European Commission representation in Malta confirming that non-Maltese EU citizens residing in Malta had equal rights to Maltese nationals regarding eco-reduction eligibility and registration.
AD’s EU spokesman Arnold Cassola said: "The EU is re-affirming that all EU citizens are to be treated equally before the law.
“The European Commission states that for the purposes of eco-reduction registration non-Maltese EU citizens need only demonstrate to ARMS Ltd that they reside in Malta and that, like Maltese nationals, the possession of a Maltese identity card serves as sufficient proof to that effect.”
Chairman Michael Briguglio accused ARMS Ltd of flouting EU law.
He saidthat the May 2010 version of the ‘change in number of persons declaration’ (form) published on the Water Services Corporation website still stipulates additional terms and conditions for non-Maltese nationals.
These had to have an 'A' Identity Card, proof that they paid taxes locally or were in possession of a permit to reside in Malta. In the case of foreign minors, a certificate from the Expatriate Office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had be presented. In the case of a marriage between a Maltese citizen and a foreigner, a marriage certificate from the Public Registry had to be produced.
Mr Briguglio said that as a consequence of these obstacles, the entitlement of non-Maltese EU citizens to the eco-reduction as well as the energy allowance – ‘€30 per household plus €25 for each person such that a single person household will receive €55’ - was being gravely undermined given that these schemes were based on the correct number of registered occupants on energy bills.
He said that the widespread imposition on non-Maltese EU citizens of the so-called the ‘domestic’ rate, as opposed to ‘residential’ rate, was untenable given that the ‘domestic’ rate is over 30 per cent more expensive in respect of energy consumption tariffs, constituting the costliest household electricity rate in the European Union.
He called on the Finance Ministry to comply in full with EU law with regard to institutional discrimination against non-Maltese EU citizens as a matter of urgency.