Solidarity: practising what we preach

In the local political lexicon, at times, the significance of Malta’s EU membership is incorrectly equated to the financial input of the union in the financing of the development of the local infrastructure, both physical and social. The role of the cohesion funds and regional development funds, in their various forms, are, at times perceived as the be-all of Malta’s EU policy!

Solidarity is a founding principle embedded in the European Union Treaties: however, it is not sufficiently reflected in the behaviour of both EU states and EU citizens. Solidarity signifies the existence of a commitment for mutual support in time of need. As most are aware, solidarity is much more than a financial commitment of the stronger members of the union who are net contributors to the EU budget. Beyond financial assistance, unfortunately, solidarity has time and again proven easier said than done for the EU member states.

Solidarity is a two-way process: we speak of the solidarity which we expect of others without giving sufficient attention to the solidarity due from us, in particular to our neighbours. Solidarity due to us is a given, however a multitude of reservations seem to apply to the solidarity which we are expected to deliver to our neighbours in time of need.

The criminalisation of NGOs who save lives (thus filling the gaps created by EU state inaction and dereliction of duty) together with the closure of our ports for humanitarian missions is an affront to the basic principles of solidarity. We should not shift onto NGOs and onto the refugees the failure of the Libyan state to control those who are making a quick buck from the refugees’ plight.

The Covid-19 crisis has once more identified that within the European Union, in time of need, when it really matters, there exists a solidarity deficit. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, has earlier this week publicly apologised to the state of Italy for not helping out at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Addressing the European Parliament, she stated that “too many were not there in time when Italy needed a helping hand at the very beginning”.

Saying sorry is however not enough. A genuine “sorry” needs to be matched by concrete action which changes behaviour, if it has to mean anything at all.

A time of crisis is a time for more Europe. It is a time where the relatively strong should seek the weak to help them out in overcoming the difficulties being faced. In a time of crises no one should beg for help. Solidarity should be forthcoming almost automatically and without any conditions attached.

As we are well aware, this is not news to us, as we have had to bear a lack of solidarity in respect of the impacts of immigration incident on our shores time and again. Together with other EU member states along the extensive borders of the Union, time and again Malta has been left on its own to face the music. There is as yet no general acceptance within the Union that this is an EU problem which requires an EU solution.

In Malta, at times, we fail to understand that the effectiveness of the EU in any specific area is dependent on the reactions from the individual member states.At times, there has been limited agreement on voluntary action to relocate refugees saved from drowning as well as those arriving in Malta on their own or else assisted by NGOs.

So far, the EU has generally been able to agree on one line of action in tackling the influx of refugees: throwing money at the problem. Development aid has also been used with limited success in aiding the rebuilding of those parts of Africa which have collapsed.

Solidarity should be a fundamental value in our operations as a state not just as an EU member state but more so as a state which claims adherence to basic Christian values. Our solidarity is a value which should stand on its own two feet without being conditioned by whether others act appropriately or not. Do unto others what you expect others do to you. Many a times have we heard this said. Isn’t it about time that we practice what we preach?

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 26th April 2020

Luigi Di Maio’s threat

US President Donald Trump, over breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, unleashed a blistering criticism of Angela Merkel’s government for being too supportive of Russia’s natural gas pipeline, which provides natural gas to various European states. Germany is too dependent on Russian natural gas, said Donald Trump. Is it appropriate for Angela Merkel’s Germany to do away with energy sovereignty and security in this manner? Being too dependent on Putin’s Russia is not on, he suggested.

Malta also may have its energy sovereignty and security hanging by a string.

Only last month we were reminded by Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Luigi di Maio that Malta’s electricity interconnector supply is plugged in at Ragusa on the Sicilian mainland. The comment was made in the context of the savage debate that developed over the rescue operations involving drowning immigrants picked up from the Mediterranean Sea by NGO operated sea vessels.

The Cinque Stelle politician considered it appropriate to use the Ragusa plug-in for political leverage in the same manner that Vladimir Putin makes use of his Russian gas supply, in relation not just to Angela Merkel’s Germany, but to most of the European mainland.

The fact that Malta is at times too dependent on the Ragusa electricity supply makes matters worse. We have undoubtedly lost count over the last months regarding the number of times we have been subjected to an electricity black-out in Malta: the standard explanation being that there was some technical hitch on either side of the Sicilian Channel which was being taken care of.

Malta will shortly have another Sicilian plug-in, this time a gas pipeline most probably at Gela.

Like the electricity interconnector plugged in at Ragusa the gas-pipeline plugged in at Gela will be another commercial undertaking. Malta will be paying for its gas, just as much as it is paying for its electricity.

Luigi Di Maio’s thinly veiled threat was obviously that the existing electricity plug-in at Ragusa was there at the Italian government’s pleasure which could reverse any commitment entered into so far if the Maltese government persists in irritating it.

It is not known whether there was any follow-up to Di Maio’s declaration, accept that the Maltese government closed all ports to NGO-operated vessels and that criminal proceedings were initiated against the MV Lifeline captain on flimsy sea-vessel registration charges.

This is unfortunately in-line with the Di Maio/Salvini philosophy that good Samaritans have to be treated suspiciously.

At the time of writing, another sea vessel with 450 migrants on board is sailing through Malta’s search and rescue area towards Sicily with Matteo Salvini, Minister for the Interior, insisting that Italy’s ports are closed for such vessels.

What next?

Potentially, as a result of the closure of Maltese and Italian ports, this is another developing tragedy. Di Maio’s veiled threat, maybe, has been taken seriously by the Maltese government.

Such incidents send one clear message: the foundations of solidarity as a value have heavily eroded. It has been transformed into a slogan. Solidarity is one of the basic values of the European Union – it is not limited to the EU’s border states. Successive Maltese governments have tried to nudge other EU member states to shoulder this collective responsibility which is currently shouldered disproportionately by the border states. The response from nine members states when the MV Lifeline debacle came to the fore was encouraging, but it is certainly not enough.

Faced with racist and xenophobic overreactions, opting for solidarity is not an easy choice. It would be certainly helpful if more EU states put solidarity into practice. The problem is that not all of them are convinced that this is the only ethical way forward.

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday – 15 July 2018

The recycled summit



The Valletta Migration Summit is over. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has described it as a ‘historic summit’. It seems to me that it would be more accurately described as the ‘recycled summit’.

In one of the last speeches at the Summit, on Thursday morning, Senegalese President Macky Sall encapsulated in a few words the sentiments of the African side when he stated that African nations would have no need of aid if multinationals corporations active on the African continent paid their fair share of taxes and a fair price for the natural (African) resources. Of course President Sall left out an important last sentence: he avoided any reference to corrupt politicians generally in sync with these multinational corporations.

Earlier in the week had seen the 20th anniversary of the judicial killing of environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa and his colleagues, who were executed on the orders of a secret military tribunal on the basis of trumped-up charges in Nigeria on 10 November 1995. Ken Saro Wiwa and his colleagues had  stood up in defence of the Ogoni people against Anglo-Dutch multinational Shell, who ignored one and all in its intensive corporate greed.

The conclusions of the Valletta Summit are nothing but a re-cycling of measures that have been discussed for some time: EU leaders have continued to focus on returning migrants and outsourcing problems to frontline states. This is an approach that the EU had previously attempted with Libyan dictator Gaddafi who, way back in 2010, had demanded €5 billion as his price-tag to stem the flow of immigrants across the Mediterranean. In contrast, the initial carrot dangled before African heads of state was a mere €1.8 billion. Another €3 billion was simultaneously being offered to Turkey by Frans Timmermans Vice President of the EU Commission.

Bargaining with non-EU countries in the hope of trading EU funds in return for re-admission mechanisms is not the right approach. The original EU proposal of linking funds to a take-back of immigrants who did not qualify for asylum had to be withdrawn as the African side of the Summit refused the bait.

The causes of immigration into the EU are various. They range from repression and civil war to the accumulating impacts of climate change – primarily drought and the resulting collapse of domestic agriculture. Matters are made worse as a result of tribal rivalry, as well as the absence of the strong institutions of a democratic state. Consequently, the resulting vacuum is filled by corrupt politicians who, after taking their fill from accommodating multinational corporations seek to top up their spoils through additional contributions from Brussels.

The situation is tricky for the EU as there is no one else to talk to. It is for this reason that the Action Plan tied the proposed €1.8 billion assistance to specific projects subdivided into sixteen priority areas built around five priority domains.

Will this Action Plan solve anything? It is too early to tell, as it is a long-term issue which will be implemented within a number of timeframes specified in the plan itself. The main point of contention remains the immediate short term, during which the pressures on the EU borders will keep increasing to the point that, as Donald Tusk indicated, the whole Schengen process is under threat.

In this context it is pertinent to underline that Malta has recently been spared the troubles as the flow of immigrants ending in Malta has decreased to a trickle as a result of Italy taking up all immigrants that it has intercepted or rescued in Malta’s search and rescue area. The reasons why Italy is behaving in this manner are not yet officially known: the rumour mill has it that oil exploration rights are part of the equation. Originally, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela had indicated that there was some informal agreement with Italy only for him to come back and state that he had been understood.

As stated by Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister and Liberal leader in the European Parliament : “The EU leaders have let us down.”

While the Valletta Summit has agreed to a reasonably detailed Action Plan which can form the basis of action in the long term, it has failed at containing the migration crisis in the short term.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday: 15 November 2015

The Summit of Shame



Thursday’s EU Heads of Government Summit was a summit of shame. Through its conclusions, the European Council showed once more that, collectively, it lacks the moral spine to address the xenophobic fringes of European society.

The special summit ended up being just a collection of half-baked measures.  The EU heads of government have ignored the calls of the  political groups of the EU parliament which called for a more coherent EU migration policy, and for fixed quotas of asylum-seekers to be taken in by each and every EU member country.

Despite the available financial resources being increased, only a limited mandate has been given to the Triton operation for the saving of lives in the Mediterranean. No possibility of applying for humanitarian visas directly in the troubled countries in the African continent has been made possible and, with all its vaunted cry of responsibility-sharing, there is only the establishment of a voluntary pilot project on resettlement across the EU of people qualifying for protection.

These half-baked decisions will not solve the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean: they will only make it worse.

The number of immigrants waiting along the Libyan coast are said to be close to one million. They are there in the hope of building a new future. They know  they are risking their lives but, most probably, they will still try – they have been  at the wrong end of the stick for many years.

They are escaping from war, violence and endless poverty and they have a right to be helped and rescued. Triton is not fit for this purpose, not only because of its limited resources but also because it is primarily aimed at protecting borders and not at rescuing people.

The illusion that stopping Mare Nostrum would discourage these dangerous trips has been proved false: migrants and asylum-seekers have continued flocking to Europe at an increased rate and this situation will not change in the  coming weeks and months. The member states of the EU have to acknowledge that priority needs to be given to saving lives and giving refuge to people, not making ‘fortress Europe’ even more impenetrable, because this has been shown to be tragically impossible.

There is no way around it: all EU member states must accept a greater share of refugees and facilitate legal access to the EU. Instead of sealing borders, procedures and safe corridors must be set up to this effect and it is therefore urgent to establish a properly financed, European wide Mare Nostrum to enhance the search for and rescue of people drifting in the Mediterranean Sea.

The EU heads of government do not have the moral spine to stand up to Europe’s xenophobic fringes. They do not have the political will to implement a policy of solidarity across the EU.  I can therefore only conclude that this week’s  EU Summit can be considered a summit of shame, as it has prioritised the security of borders over  the safety of human beings.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday: 26 April 2015

AD issejjaħ għal Politika konsenswali Nazzjonali dwar l-Immigrazzjoni


Stqarrija ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika


Issa hu l-mument li f’Malta tkun imfassala politika konsenswali dwar l-immigrazzjoni. Dan qalu Carmel Cacopardo, Deputat Chairperson ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika, meta kien qed jindirizza l-aħħar konferenza stampa ta’ AD f’din il-kampanja elettorali.

Carmel Cacopardo qal li tul il-kampanja elettorali għall-Parlament Ewropew Alternattiva Demokratika iffukat fuq materji li filwaqt li kienu ta’ relevanza għal Malta jiffurmaw parti ukoll mill-aġenda tal-UE.

Id-drittijiet diġitali kif ukoll il-kontabilita/trasparenza tal-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej ser ikunu elementi essenzjali tul il-ħames snin li gejjin tal-Parlament Ewropew. Billi ffukat fuq dawn il-materji Alternattiva Demokratika fittxet li tiddibatti materji politiċi relevanti mal-partiti politici l-ohra li kkontestaw dawn l-elezzjonijiet. Sfortunatament kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-PL iktar kienu interessati li jitfgħu t-tajn lil xulxin milli jieħdu sehem f’diskussjoni politika serja.

“AD,” żied jgħid Cacopardo, “kellha l-opportunita’ li tikkummenta fuq id-dikjarazzjonijiet ta’ Jean Claude Junker u Martin Schultz, kandidati ghall-Presidenza tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja għan-nom tal-PPE u l-Partit Soċjalista Ewropew rispettivament. Filwaqt li AD tilqa’ l-kummenti pubbliċi ta’ Junker u Schultz, tosserva għaldaqstant li dal-kummenti ma jirriżultawx mill-Manifesti Elettorali tal-partiti rispettivi.

Alternattiva Demokratika temfasizza li l-pajjiżi fuq il-fruntiera tal-UE m’għandhomx jibqgħu jerfgħu r-responsabbilta għall-migrazzjoni prattikament waħedhom. Emendi għar-regoli ta’ Dublin,  flimkien mal-formolazzjoni u l-approvazzjoni ta’ politika olistika tal-UE dwar il-migrazzjoni li permezz tagħha t-28 stat membru tal-UE jieħdu fuq spallejhom ir-responabbilta’ għall-migrazzjoni mingħand l-istati fuq il-fruntiera, hi t-triq ‘il quddiem.”

Carmel Cacopardo emfasizza li tul din il-Kampanja Elettorali, bħala riżultat tad-dikjarazzjonijiet ta’ Junker u Schultz, il-posizzjoni politika kemm tal-PL kif ukoll tal-PN hi issa iktar viċin dik ta’ AD milli kienet qatt qabel. Alternattiva Demokratika jidhrilha li issa hu l-waqt li l-PL, il-PN u AD jidħlu f’diskussjonijiet biex ikun ifformulat abbozz konsenswali ta’ politika nazzjonali dwar l-immigrazzjoni li għandu jservi bħala l-bażi għal kunsens nazzjonali fuq din il-materja sensittiva.

“MEP elett f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika jaħdem biex jiffaċilita dan id-djalogu kemm lokalment kif ukoll fl-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej,” ikkonkluda Cacopardo.

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (4) Asylum and Migration



The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that in 2013 there were almost 40,000,000 displaced persons in the world, of which almost half are refugees outside their own country. The UN indicates that 200,000 of these refugees urgently need to be resettled every year, but only half of them find a new home; more worryingly only 4,500 are resettled in the European Union – compared to 80,000 per year in the USA. Thousands of people die on Europe’s external borders every year, because of ever stricter controls and because the means of legal entry into the EU remain limited. The EU has a duty to ensure that these people can seek protection. We need more efforts to establish an asylum system worth its name. The European Border Agency FRONTEX is the wrong agent for that and member states are violating human rights in their border policies. We need greater efforts by the EU as well as member states and more coordination for ‘rescues at sea’, and we need legal and safe ways for entry, for example with humanitarian visas. We have to get rid of the current rules (the ‘Dublin Regulation’) that force refugees to apply for asylum only in the country where they first entered the EU. We should, in our foreign relations as well as our trade and development policies, address the issues which force people to migrate. Greens have been successful in the fight for the creation of an EU Joint Resettlement Programme as well as for funds for emergency resettlement of refugees facing a humanitarian crisis. EU member states must do everything they can to make full use of these funds and show solidarity, not only amongst each other, but also with troubled neighbouring regions.. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Fighting for Fair Asylum and Migration Policies).

Never been so close



The interventions in the local debate on immigration by Martin Schulz and Jean Claude Junker have moved both the PN and the PL closer to the AD position as well as closer to each other.

Both the PN and the PL have in the past supported pushbacks. They may blush about it when they are reminded. Fortunately they have now moved closer to upholding European values in immigration policy too.

The influx of immigrants in their thousands has transformed the Mediterranean Sea into a cemetery: a human tragedy developing around us. So many human lives are being lost. Each life lost is testimony to a failure which can only be addressed if we urgently put our heads together and come up with a long term solution.

Immigration through EU borders is not and should not be dealt with as an issue to be dealt with by the border states alone. Due to their geographic position the border states act on behalf of the whole Union. Immigration is a responsibility of all the member states of the European Union. The matter has been on the EU agenda for some years, even though some have been reluctant to handle it. Martin Schultz and Jean Claude Junker together with Green candidates José Bové and Ska Keller have focused on it a number of times in their speeches. Not only in Malta. In fact it cropped up in the Firenze Presidential debate last week too.

Being on the EU agenda means that all the political forces in Malta have succeeded in sensitising their sister parties in Europe on the matter. This has not only meant that the matter is now on the agenda but more so that the PN and the PL have identified more acceptable positions.

Would it be too much to desire the formulation of a national immigration policy which is truly national, that is, one owned by one and all. Whilst there are still a number of differences, it is about time that we recognise that the three main political parties have never been so close on immigration.

Ir-retorika ………… l-unika ħaġa ċerta

Joseph Muscat Martin Schulz


Der Spiegel International irrapporta illi l-Kunsill Ewropew li ltaqa’ fi Brussels fi tmiem il-ġimgħa ittratta l-immigrazzjoni b’mod retoriku. Għal Der Spiegel ma tirriżulta l-ebda deċiżjoni ta’ sustanza dwar l-immigrazzjoni. Paroli biss.

Fil-fatt il-Kunsill Ewropew ippospona deċiżjoni dwar l-immigrazzjoni għal Diċembru li ġej.  Il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat ġustament  ikkummenta li għalkemm il-kliem li intqal u inkiteb kien promettenti, s’issa għadu biss kliem.  Il-Partit Laburista min-naħa l-oħra  jidher li hu sodisfatt filwaqt li l-PN ikkummenta li Joseph Muscat ġie lura Malta b’idu f’idu.

Alternattiva Demokratika jidhrilha illi hu tal-mistħija li l-Kunsill Ewropew jibqa’ jipposponi deċiżjoni dwar x’passi għandhom jittieħdu fuq livell ta’ Unjoni Ewropeja dwar l-immigrazzjoni fil-Mediterran. Dan jfisser li l-Kunsill Ewropew fis-siegħa tal-prova ma kienx kapaċi jqiegħed fil-prattika l-valuri Ewropej ta’ rispett lejn il-ħajja u id-dinjita tal-bniedem. L-Unjoni Ewropeja issa ilha s-snin tipposponi li tieħu deċiżjoni dwar solidarjeta’ prattika u effettiva.

Malta għandha pubblikament tappoġġa l-posizzjoni mittieħda mill-Partit tal-Ħodor Ewropej (European Green Party) dwar solidarjetá effettiva (responsibility sharing), riforma tal-Konvenzjoni Dublin II kif ukoll il-ħolqien ta’ metodi legali għall-migrazzjoni fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Posizzjoni li diġa ħa ukoll Martin Schultz il-President Soċjal Demokratiku tal-Parlament Ewropew.

Minflok dan kollu l-Kunsill Ewropew ser jiddiskuti l-immigrazzjoni f’Diċembru li ġej meta l-Kummissjoni Ewropeja ser tresssaq ir-rapport ta’ ħidma tat-Task Force dwar il-Mediterran li twaqqfet diġa u dan “bil-ħsieb li jittieħdu deċiżjonijiet operazzjonali”.  Dwar x’inkunu dawn id-deċiżjonijiet u jekk fil-fatt jittieħdux għadu kmieni ħafna. Iktar u iktar meta niftakru li numru ta’ pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropeja (x’aktarx madwar tlettax) ma jaqblux li għandhom ikollhom xi sehem biex jerfgħu l-piż tal-immigrazzjoni fil-Mediterran. Ma dan ma irridux ninsew li biex tittieħed deċiżjoni  irid ikun hemm qbil unanimu. Jiġifieri minkejja d-dikjarazzjoni ta’ Joseph Muscat li rnexxielu jikseb l-appoġġ tal-Prim Ministri Soċjalisti kollha fil-Kunsill Ewropew għad m’hemm xejn ċar dwar kif ser jiżviluppaw l-affarijiet.

L-unika ħaġa ċerta s’issa hi r-retorika.

Minkejja dan kollu, f’din is-siegħa ta’ prova, Alternattiva Demokratika tappoġġa l-insistenza tal-Gvern Malti dwar il-ħtieġa li l-Unjoni Ewropeja taġixxi immedjatament dwar l-immigrazzjoni, insistenza li jidher li hi appoġġata minn 15-il Gvern fl-Unjoni Ewropeja, fuq quddiem dawk tal-Greċja u l-Italja. L-immigrazzjoni fuq il-fruntiera Mediterranea tal-Unjoni Ewropeja hi materja li tikkonċerna l-Unjoni kollha u hi ta’ serjeta’ u gravita daqs kull materja Ewropeja oħra.

Alternattiva Demokratika filwaqt li tifhem li hu neċessarju li l-Gvern Malti jgħaddi kummenti iebsa fil-konfront tal-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej tittama, iżda,  li dan il-kliem iebes ma jkunx ta’ ostaklu biex id-deċiżjonijiet li jiġu mittieħda ikunu tali li jirrispettaw id-dinjita’ umana tal-immigranti f’kull ħin.

Ippubblikat f’ iNews : It-Tnejn 28 t’Ottubru 2013

Iċ-Ċimiterju madwarna, f’nofs il-Mediterran


F’nofs il-Mediterran, il-baħar ta’ madwarna, qiegħed bil-mod ikun ittrasformat f’ċimiterju. Ċimiterju ta’ bnedmin maħruba mill-gwerer u l-għawġ. Ċimiterju ta’ ħolm li sfaxxa.

Huma ċirkustanzi li qed jiżviluppaw madwarna minħabba l-posizzjoni ġejografika ta’ Malta.

F’dan il-kuntest Malta għandha obbligi imma għandha ukoll drittijiet.

Malta għandha l-obbligu li tagħti servizz ta’ salvataġġ. Li tagħti l-għajnuna lil kull min ikun f’diffikulta fiż-żona ta’ salvataġġ li hi responsabbilta’ ta’ Malta. Dan Malta qed tagħmlu. Dan  l-aħħar b’impenn kbir. Għal żmien qasir kien hemm min kien qed jaħsibha jekk jissospendix l-obbligi internazzjonali tal-pajjiż, imma fortunatament din tidher li kienet fażi li għaddiet – nispera biss li ma terġax lura.

L-obbligu li Malta tagħti servizz ta’ salvataġġ ma jfissirx li Malta m’għandhiex ukoll drittijiet.

Malta flimkien ma Lampedusa hi għassiesa ta’ din il-parti tal-fruntiera fin-nofsinnhar tal-Unjoni Ewropeja. M’għadhiex iktar fruntiera ta’ Malta jew fruntiera tal-Italja iżda hi fruntiera tal-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Ir-responsabbilta li tirriżulta minn dan kollu għaldaqstant m’hiex ta’ Malta jew tal-Italja waħedha iżda tal-Unjoni kollha. Huwa għalhekk li l-Unjoni Ewropeja għandha l-obbligu morali li flimkien magħna terfa’ din ir-responsabbilta.

F’dan il-mument diffiċli huwa neċessarju li bħala pajjiż nibqgħu ffukati fuq li nagħmlu dmirna anke’ jekk ħaddieħor jibqa’ jkaxkar saqajh biex iwettaq id-dmirijiet tiegħu. Jeħtieġ ukoll li nevitaw paroli vojt li jista’ jkun interpretat ħażin. Ma nara xejn ħażin li fil-mument addattat pajjiżna, kemm jekk waħdu jew preferibilment ma pajjiżi oħra milqutin bħalna jieħu dik l-azzjoni li tkun xierqa fiċ-ċirkustanzi. Azzjoni ikkalkulata biex tħares l-interess nazzjonali fit-tul.

Fil-waqt li l-interess nazzjonali jitlob dan, fl-istess ħin nibqgħu obbligati li nagħmlu d-dmir tagħna u dan irrispettivament minn dak li jagħmel ħaddiehor. Malta qatt ma nħakmet mill-kultura tal-indifferenza. L-ospitalita’ dejjem kienet karatteristika li tiddistingwina minn oħrajn. Hekk għandna nibqgħu f’din is-siegħa tal-prova. Dan minkejja li nibqgħu ninsistu li ħaddieħor jistenbaħ u jwettaq dmiru huwa ukoll. B’hekk ikun evitat li l-baħar ta’ madwarna jsir ċimiterju mhux biss ta’ iġsma iżda fuq kollox ċimiterju ta’ ħolm u aspirazzjonijiet li sfaxxaw.

F’ħoġor Herman van Rompuy


Wara l-istqarrija tal-Ministru Manwel Mallia fil-Parlament huwa ġustifikat li nistaqsu: issa fejn sejrin?

Il-posizzjonijiet tal-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni jikkuntrastaw mhux daqstant fl-iskop daqskemm fil-metodu.

Ilkoll kemm aħna naqblu li l-piż tal-immigrazzjoni għall-pajjiżna hu kbir. Naqblu lkoll li għandna nipproteġu l-ħajja bla limitu jew kundizzjonijiet iżda li dan l-impenn tagħna m’għandux ikun abbużat.

Ilkoll naqblu li l-għajnuna li tatna s’issa l-Unjoni Ewropeja biex nistgħu naqdu aħjar l-obbligi tagħna li nħarsu l-ħajja ta’ dawk li jeħtieġu din l-għajnuna ma jeżenta lil ħadd mill-obbligi kbar li hemm ta’ kull pajjiż li jifforma parti mill-Unjoni Ewropeja lejn il-pajjiżi fuq il-fruntiera.

Huwa ukoll fatt, li ħadd ma semma il-lejla fil-Parlament li billi l-materja tal-immigrazzjoni mhiex waħda mir-responsabbiltajiet komuni tal-Unjoni azzjoni dwarha teħtieġ l-unanimita’, jiġifieri li jaqblu l-pajjiżi kollha. U jekk din l-unanimita ma tkunx teżisti ftit li xejn jistgħu jittieħdu deċiżjonijiet .

Saru diversi tentattivi tul is-snin biex jintlaħaq xi forma ta’ ftehim. L-uniku pass li kien hemm qbil dwaru kien illi jgħin min irid, fuq bażi volontarja. Fuq it-TVM2 David Casa nhar il-Ħadd qal li kienu 4 biss il-pajjiżi li offrew l-għajnuna, liema għajnuna issarfet filli dawn ħadu madwar 700 immigrant f’pajjiżhom. Numru ferm żgħir li nqabeż anke mill-għajnuna li tatna l-Istati Uniti tal-Amerika.

Huwa f’dan il-kuntest li wieħed irid jiċcara li l-konflitt ta’ Malta mhux mal-Unjoni Ewropeja iżda mal-Kapijiet tal-Gvern li miġbura flimkien fil-Kunsill Ewropew jieħdu id-deċiżjonijiet li l-Kummissjoni tkun teħtieġ li timplimenta.  Għaxra mit-28 Gvern ta’ pajjiżi fil-UE huma immexxija minn Prim Ministri Soċjalisti, 13 minn Prim Ministri ġejjin mill-Partit Popolari. Id-diversita’ ta’ opinjonijiet hi kbira għax ilkoll kemm huma jridu jirrispondu għal opinjoni pubblika kritika f’pajjiżhom.

Kollox ser idur fuq il-kapaċita ta’ Herman van Rompuy President tal-Kunsill li iktar kmieni din is-sena kien hawn Malta u indirizza l-Parlament Malti. Van Rompuy għandu l-fama ta’ consensus builder u l-probabbilta’ li l-problema tispiċċa f’ħoġru.

F’Ġunju li għadda lill-Parlament kien qallu “I am fully aware of Malta’s concerns.”  Jekk minn dan l-għarfien jirnexxilux iwassal għal soluzzjoni iżda għad irridu naraw.