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 The end comments from both participants and speakers was that this was the best business conference of the year and that its positive effects will be with us for quite some time.

Yesterday morning GRTU President Paul Abela gave the opening address opened GRTU's national business conference entitled- Facing Today's Economic Realities: Bringing Home the European Reality to Small Businesses. Mr Abela explained that this timing for the conference was chosen because we felt that the current economic situation needed to be addressed most urgently. This mostly to ensure that what needs to be said and what action needs to be taken is taken at the correct timing. GRTU believes that our worries and that of our members are not unfounded and not simply a question of lack of confidence, our worries will soon become reality and will take some time to be solved.

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 GRTU continues to demand straight forward tariff reductions. Government and other bodies are leaking figures in an effort to hoodwink unsuspecting household and business users that reductions are being effected to the electricity and water tariff regime, hastily announced in October by Government. But most of us are not ready to be taken for a ride on this issue.

GRTU continues to insist that the truth is that figures are being played about. In real terms most of the changes that are being announced mean nothing.

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 Policymakers at all levels must ensure that the real economy does not end up paying the price of the current financial crisis. This was the message brought forward by the General Assembly of UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, which came to a close in Tours in the run-up to the European Conference on Crafts and Small Enterprises.

More than 70 delegates from 21 countries, representing more than 12 million SMEs in Europe, gathered to discuss on how best to react to the spillover effects of the financial crisis on their businesses.

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 After the European Central Bank for the third time in a few weeks reduced their basic bank interest rate to sustain industry, commerce, enterprise and households, to meet the rapidly deteriorating Economic situation in the EU countries, GRTU again insists with Government to ensure that these rates reductions are given in whole and not in part to Maltese entrepreneurs.

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 GRTU has been attending throughout this year meetings regarding the tourist Localities.

The discussions concentrated mostly on the issues of outside tables and chairs and on the embellishment of commercial building facades. GRTU has also held several meetings with individual members on these issues and we would therefore like to appeal to all those members having issues or questions to contact our Tourism and Leisure President: Philip Fenech: 99493534

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