I refer to a (navy blue) explanatory leaflet which was paid for with their taxes, published by the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment and then delivered to their letterbox last month.
Given that the water and electricity bills issued to 21,000 non-Maltese EU citizens are bilingual, it is unacceptable that this flier/application form, entitled Allowance lill-Familji, was printed in Maltese only. It outlines the entitlement to an energy allowance on water and electricity consumption tariffs to the following effect:
"...The government will give €30 per household plus €25 for each person such that a single person household will receive €55..."
However, whether one is an owner-occupier, tenant or liable for energy bills issued in the landlord's name, eligibility for both this energy allowance and the eco-reduction on electricity consumption tariffs is based on the number of registered occupants on the energy bills.
Are non-Maltese EU citizens satisfied, therefore, that the correct number of householders (including infants and minors) is printed on the top right hand corner of their (new format) energy bills? If not, it is recommended they contact the Water Services Corporation/Enemalta billing entity, ARMS Ltd. to register same.
In addition, they are advised to scrutinise the applicable rates box on the second page of the (new format) bills to ascertain whether they are being billed at the "residential" as opposed to "domestic" rate, the latter being over 30 per cent more expensive in respect of water and electricity consumption tariffs.
EU citizens are legally entitled to identical treatment to that accorded to Maltese nationals regarding deposit refunds, applicable rates, energy allowance and eco-reduction eligibility as well as in relation to the administrative procedure in registering the correct number of householders with ARMS Ltd.
Maltese nationals are required to complete a simple "change in number of persons declaration" form and produce a copy of their identity card to effect the latter.
The steadfast objections of Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party to institutional discrimination against EU citizens in this issue and such citizens' European Parliament voting rights have been a matter of public record for some time (A Democracy That Excludes Voters, The Times, May 28).
The Maltese authorities, therefore, are duty bound to be in compliance with EU law at this juncture.
Nevertheless, should non-Maltese EU citizens encounter any institutional hindrances to the exercise of their EU rights in this connection, I recommend they avail of the following e-mail address: SG-PLAINTES@ec.europa.eu. It is an easy, free-of-charge means of filing a complaint with the European Commission vis-à-vis any issue where one perceives a conflict between national and European Union law.
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