The EU informal summit being held in Malta has ended up being a logistical nightmare for businesses, the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, GRTU said.

It said that although businesses understood that some security considerations were needed, the conditions imposed on them were ridiculous.

“Businesses in Republic Street are given not even a day’s notice that they will not be allowed to accept customers for a whole four hours during the afternoon. Customers caught in coffee shops will not be allowed to exit during this timeframe and restaurants in Archbishop Street have been asked to remain closed for the whole day today,” it said

It condemned the approach that businesses had to dance to whatever tune the authorities played, no matter how amateurish and anti-business this was.

“There is no consideration to impact this has on loss of business and schedules businesses have already committed to with their customers and employees.”

The GRTU said it expected the presidency to benefit Malta and to leave more money in the economy.

They did expect the authorities to raise barricades to keep the commercial activity in Valletta out of sight and reach.

The Maltese citizens and businesses must be inconvenienced in the least possible way

“GRTU will not accept that businesses be treated as second class. Parking spaces for their customers have been taken away to make way for the residents. The most unsightly structures have been placed in front of their shops in Merchants Street, the most beautiful street in Valletta, when we have worked hard to clear the area even from market stalls. Restaurants feel the slow down because clients are not coming into because Valletta is a logistical nightmare and they are staying away.”

The GRTU said that how well Malta fared in this presidency was not only measured by the number of meetings it chaired and the pictures showing its officials shaking hands with the leaders of Europe.

“The Maltese citizens and businesses must be inconvenienced in the least possible way. These people live in Valletta, they feed their families and pay their employees from their shops in Valletta. They cannot just hit pause until this six month ordeal is over.”

It pointed out that logistical planning started at the 11th hour… the GRTU appealed for proper planning at all meetings where the Presidency was discussed.

“It was evident even back then, over a year ago, that the authorities are so overwhelmed by the number of meetings they will be chairing that logistics were being left by the side. We have unfortunately been proven right and our businesses are suffering.”

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