Politika dwar il-klima fl-Unjoni Ewropea

 

Il-politika dwar il-klima hi materja ewlenija li qegħda taħt il-lenti fil-laqgħat li Ursula von der Leyen, innominata bħala President tal-Kummissjoni tal-Unjoni Ewropea, qed ikollha mal-gruppi politiċi diversi fil-Parlament Ewropew.

Kemm il-Grupp tas-Soċjalisti u Demokratiċi kif ukoll dak Liberali fil-Parlament Ewropew ippubblikaw lista ta’ talbiet li għamlu lil von der Leyen dwar dak li jriduha tikkommetti ruħha dwaru imma li s’issa evitat. Fuq quddiem nett f’dan kollu hemm impenn ikbar dwar li politika meħtieġa biex ikun indirizzati l-impatti tat-tibdil fil-klima.

Min-naħa l-oħra, l-Grupp tal-Ħodor fil-Parlament Ewropew ħareġ stqarrija li permezz tagħha ta’ l-ġenb lill-kandidatura ta’ von der Leyen u dan għax, fi kliem Ska Keller, ko-president tal-grupp: “ma smajna l-ebda proposta konkreta, la dwar is-saltna tad-dritt u l-anqas dwar il-klima. Ġejna eletti b’mandat ta’ bidla u m’aħniex naraw kif din il-bidla tista’ sseħħ b’din il-kandidata.”

Azzjoni dwar il-bidla fil-klima hi prijorità u din il-prijorità għandha tkun riflessa fl-ambizzjonijiet li l-kandidat għall-Presidenza tal-Kummissjoni tal-Unjoni Ewropea trid tmexxi ‘l-quddiem. Sfortunatament hu magħruf li Ursula von der Leyen qatt ma tat prijorità lill-azzjoni dwar il-bidla fil-klima tul iż-żmien kollu li ilha attiva fil-politika nazzjonali tal-Ġermanja!

Tul l-għaxar snin li ġejjin, l-emissjonijiet tal-gassijiet serra fuq livell globali jeħtieġ li jonqsu b’iktar min-nofs. Anke iktar mit-tnaqqis ta’ 55% kif talab il-Parlament Ewropew kif ukoll mill-40% tnaqqis li s’issa aċċettaw il-pajjiżi membri. Dan fl-istess ħin li l-emissjonijiet netti għandhom jilħqu żero sa mhux iktar tard mill- 2050. Il-miri tal-ftehim ta’ Pariġi illum jiuffurmaw parti integrali mill-liġijiet tal-Unjoni Ewropea imma għad hemm ħafna ħidma x’issir biex dawn il-miri jitwettqu fir-realtà.

Soluzzjonijiet jeżistu biex ikunu ikunu indirizzati u trasformati l-enerġija, t-trasport, l-agrikultura u l-proċessi industrijali. Imma jeħtieġ li nkunu kapaċi li naħdmu flimkien biex l-impenn li jitwettaq il-Ftehim ta’ Pariġi mhux biss ikun onorat, imma li nkunu kapaċi nħajru oħrajn jagħmlu bħalna.

Minkejja l-wegħdiet li saru mill-pajjiżi differenti dwar emissjonijiet bħala parti mill-ftehim ta’ Pariġi xorta waħda jidher li ż-żieda fit-temperatura, sa tmiem is-seklu kurrenti, ser tkun ta’ madwar tlett gradi Celsius (3°C) fuq it-temperatura pre-industrijali. Dan meta nafu li iktar min-nofs din iż-żieda jkollha effetti katastrofiċi.

Diġà bdejna nduqu l-konsegwenzi bis-sħana tilħaq livelli ġodda, estremi ta’ għargħar u nuqqas ta’ xita u nirien li qed jagħmlu ħsara mhux żgħira f’kull rokna tad-dinja. L-affarijiet sejrin għall-agħar. Imma għad baqa’ ċans, kemm-il darba niċċaqalqu bla iktar dewmien.

Il-Gvernijiet m’humiex jieħdu l-inizjattiva. Mhux qed jindirizzaw dak li qed jirriżulta mir-riċerka xjentifika. Sfortunatament, uħud mill-Gvernijiet (u l-partiti politiċi li jiffurmawhom) jaraw kull azzjoni meħtieġa biex tkun indirizzata l-bidla fil-klima bħala ta’ xkiel għall-industrija u għall-ekonomija.

Sa minn meta saru tibdiliet fit-trattati Ewropej fl-1987, l-Unjoni Ewropea bdiet tieħu deċiżjonijiet dwar l-oqsma ambjentali b’maġġoranza kkwalifikata. Dan wassal biex ġiet sviluppata leġislazzjoni ambjentali li tiffaċilita politika Ewropea li tirrispondi għal dak kollu meħtieġ mit-tibdil fil-klima. Tul dan iż-żmien kollu, l-Parlament Ewropew kien dejjem fuq quddiem jinsisti dwar miri ċari u ambizzjużi fil-ġlieda kontra l-bidla fil-klima. Hu meħtieġ li anke l-Kummissjoni Ewropea timxi fuq dawn il-passi.

Hu għalhekk li hu meħtieġ li l-President approvat għall-Kummissjoni Ewropea tikkunsidra l-azzjoni dwar il-bidla fil-klima bħala prijorità u li tkun lesta biex il-Kummissjoni immexxija minnha taġixxi b’dan il-mod.

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : il-Ħadd 14 ta’ Lulju 2019

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Climate Change politics at the EU

The politics of climate change is a main topic of discussion at the meetings which Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President-designate, is currently participating in with the various political groups in the EU Parliament.

The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group, as well as the Liberal Group, have issued written demands to von der Leyen detailing the various policy commitments which they expect but not yet see. The politics of climate change is at the forefront of the requests made.

The Greens, on the other hand, have issued a statement rejecting von der Leyen’s candidacy, as in the words of Ska Keller, co-president of the group: “We did not hear any concrete proposal, be it on the rule of law or on climate. We have been elected on a mandate for change and we don’t see how change will be possible with this candidate.”

Action on climate change is a priority and this priority must be reflected in the ambitions which the European Commission President-designate puts forward. Unfortunately, it is known that Ursula von der Leyen has never prioritised climate action during her long career in German National politics!

Over the next 10 years, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be more than halved (beyond the 55% reduction as requested by the European Parliament and surely beyond the 40% committed to by the EU Member States), while net GHG emissions must reach zero by 2050 at the latest. Attaining the commitments of the Paris Agreement is now enshrined in EU climate and energy laws but the European Union must do much more to make it a reality.

Solutions exist for transforming energy, transport, agriculture and industrial production systems. We must act together to fulfil our commitments to the Paris Agreement and beyond, and encourage others to do so too.

Notwithstanding the national pledges made as part of the Paris Agreement, we are on course for warming of about 3°C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100. It is known that any increase exceeding 1.5°C will be catastrophic.

We are already at the receiving end, with global temperatures warming-up at unprecedented rates, floods, droughts and fires which are impacting our communities all over the world. It is getting worse. Yet it is not too late, provided we act without further delay.

Governments are not showing leadership in tackling climate change. They are not addressing the gap between the expectations of the citizens and the analysis of the scientists on one hand, and their decisions on the other.

Unfortunately, some governments, and the political parties which form them, see climate change policies only as an obstacle for industry and the economy.

Since the Treaty change of 1987, the European Union has decided legislation in the field of the environment on the basis of a qualified majority voting. This has allowed for the development of a comprehensive set of new environmental legislation and facilitated a concerted EU policy response towards climate change.

The EU Parliament has, most of the time, been the most progressive EU institution, demanding more ambitious targets and measures in the fight against climate change. It is about time that the EU Commission follows suit.

We need a European Commission President who considers climate change action as a priority and acts accordingly.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 14 July 2019

The budget: beyond the €s

Liza Minelli’s song “Money makes the world go round” is the underlying theme of the Budget speech delivered by Finance Minister in Parliament last Monday. The message driven home was that money and the accompanying affluence clearly indicate that we have never had it so good and that handouts to all are not a problem, both to those who need them, and, more importantly to those who don’t.

Today, taxation is a dirty word in our political lexicon: hence, it was suggested that the message that no increases in existent taxes or new taxes have been proposed is a positive one by the Honourable Minister. Handouts are for all, almost. First for those in need, secondly for most of the rest. The dictum “from each according to his means, to each according to his needs” no longer has any significance when trying to understand the political philosophy underlying the budget of this “labour” government.

Taxation collected in Malta apparently only has some significance when taxing foreign companies operating outside Maltese territory but having some small office, or just a letterbox, on this rock. This is done so that they can avail themselves of reduced taxation rates, substantially lower that those payable in the countries where they operate.

Similarly, companies operating in the financial services sector benefit from a tax package which offers them substantial savings on their tax bills in order to entice them to set up shop.

The government thinks it is smart, but all it is doing is encouraging tax avoidance. Malta’s message is clear: those who want to avoid tax in their country are welcome as long as they are prepared to pay a small part of the taxes avoided to the Maltese exchequer.

In this respect, the case study entitled “Toxic Tax Deals. When BASF’s Tax Structure is more about style than substance” published by the Green Group in the European Parliament around two years ago is indicative. In that study, it was concluded that BASF, the German chemical giant with its headquarters in Ludwigshafen, used mismatches in national tax systems in order to avoid paying its taxes. It is estimated that, over a five-year period spanning 2010 to 2014, BASF avoided the payment of close to one billion euros in taxes, paying instead a small amount of the taxes avoided, in gratitude for this wonderful opportunity made possible by the Maltese governments, blue and red.

In this context the Finance Minister’s declaration against tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering is deemed mere rhetoric. It has to be viewed in the context of the Panama Papers saga, as well as the established fact that a Cabinet Minister and the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister set up companies in Panama, a tax haven, and no punitive action was taken against them. With this background, the Minister’s sanctimonious declaration is in no way credible.

The Budget proposals strengthen the social safety net as it assists the vulnerable financially. However, the quality of life is not measured solely by financial metrics. The Budget has various green gaps that affect our quality of life.

The welfare of cars assumes an importance over human quality of life, as government considers it is important to widen and improve roads in order to facilitate the passage of cars, thereby aiming at reducing congestion. An inverted sense of logic: reduction of the number of cars on our roads should have been the target as that is the real and actual problem. Widening roads and improving road infrastructure with flyovers and underpasses only serves to grow the number of cars on our roads, thereby increasing the problem. Providing and facilitating alternative transport is the only solution. Paying lip service to alternative means of transport but simultaneously financing an exponential
increase of the problem signifies that we still have to learn the ABC of transport policy.

The government’s own transport master-plan places considerable emphasis on the need to reduce cars from our roads but it seems that the government is not interested.

Therefore, we have a government which is more interested in the welfare of cars than in our quality of life.

This is just one example. There are countless of others.

The Budget loses an opportunity to make a lasting difference in a number of areas important for our quality of life that goes beyond finances.

published (online) at Malta Independent

Sven Giegold tkellem dwar il-preokkupazzjoni tagħna lkoll

Il-Membru Parlamentari Ewropew Sven Giegold, mill-Grupp tal-Ħodor, Ġermaniż,  ġie Malta ippreokkupat dwar is-saltna tad-dritt f’Malta. B’dak li sema’ kemm dam hawn spiċċa ippreokkupa ruħu ferm iktar.

Fuq il-blog tiegħu stess, fil-fatt jgħid hekk: 

“The delegation of the Parliament came seriously concerned over the rule of law in Malta and left even more worried. We learnt a great deal, gathered important evidence and were promised even more.

The police and the attorney general have demonstrated an unwillingness to investigate and failure to prosecute corruption and money laundering.”

X’qalulhom mela, biex tawhom din l-impressjoni ħażina.

Sven Giegold ikompli jgħid :

“Publically available information and even reports by Malta’s anti-money laundering body FIAU have repeatedly not triggered investigations. Individuals and financial institutions involved were not searched, evidence not gathered. This protected high government officials such as prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi from prosecution as well as financial instiutions such as Pilatus Bank and Nexia BT.”

Bħalna lkoll Sven Giegold ifforma l-opinjoni li r-rapporti tal-FIAU ġew injorati. Jidher li wasal għall- konklużjoni li ma saret l-ebda investigazzjoni dwar il-kontenut ta’ dawn ir-rapporti. Għax kieku saret investigazzjoni u din waslet għall-konklużjoni li ma kien hemm xejn minn dak li jintqal fir-rapporti, nimmaġina li l-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija kien jgħidlhom lid-delegazzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew li “investiga u ma sab xejn”.

Imma ma jidhirx li intqal dan il-kliem għax il-konklużjoni ta’ Giegold, liema konklużjoni taqbel magħha Ana Gomes is-Soċjalista Portugiża li qed tmexxi d-delegazzjoni, hi ċara daqs il-kristall :

“Publically available information and even reports by Malta’s anti-money laundering body FIAU have repeatedly not triggered investigations.”

Din hi l-preokkupazzjoni tagħna lkoll: li l-istituzzjonijiet qegħdin hemm għalxejn.

Fl-Unjoni Ewropeja : l-immigrazzjoni problema tagħna lkoll?

Hollande 2

Mistiedna fi Franza tal-President Francois Hollande diversi mexxejja Soċjalisti ta’ Gvernijiet fl-Unjoni Ewropeja qed jaqblu li l-immigrazzjoni għandha tingħata iktar importanza.

Qalulna ukoll li l-operazzjoni Mare Nostrum immexxija mill-Gvern Taljan għandha tgħaddi f’idejn il-Frontex. Il-Gvern Malti jaqbel ma dan u ser jagħti l-appoġġ kollu tiegħu. Li kieku jseħħ hekk ikun tajjeb. Issa jekk dan isirx jew le ma nafx. Imma anke’ jekk isir, il-proċess ta’ salvataġġ huwa biss parti żgħira minn dak li għandu jsir. Wara li l-immigranti jkunu salvati x’ser jiġri? Hemm qegħda l-problema l-kbira. Dwaha ma hemmx qbil. Min irid il-push-backs u min ma jrid jagħmel xejn.

Issa ħa nkun ċar: jidher li hemm qbil minn Jean Claude Junker li l-Kummissjoni Ewropeja immexxija minnu tagħti prijorita’ lill-immigrazzjoni. M’għandix dubju li ser jipprova  jagħmel hekk. Fid-diskussjoni issemmiet il-ħtieġa ta’ politika olistika dwar l-immigrazzjoni. Junker wiegħed ukoll li ser jeżamina l-proposta tal-Ħodor għall-bdil fir-regoli ta’ Dublin.

Imma biex jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet meħtieġa huma l-Gvernijiet li jridu jiċċaqalqu u mhux il-Kummissjoni Ewropeja biss. Il-Kummissjoni tul is-snin għamlet bosta proposti. Iżda l-passi l-quddiem kienu ftit u bil-mod.

Il-laqgħa ta’ Pariġu hi pass tajjeb. Iżda xi tfisser fil-fatt għad irridu naraw meta niġu għad-deċiżjonijiet. Pariġi kienu presenti rappreżentanti minn 10 pajjiżi, meta fl-Unjoni Ewropeja hemm 28 pajjiż! Kif jaħsbuha it-18-il pajjiż l-ieħor?

Fil-passat kemm il-Gvernijiet immexxija mis-Soċjalisti kif ukoll dawk immexxija mid-Demokristjani jew mill-Liberali dejjem qagħdu lura milli jaċċettaw li l-immigrazzjoni hi problema tal-pajjiżi kollha fl-Unjoni Ewropeja, u mhux biss ta’ dawk fuq il-fruntiera. Jekk is-Soċjalisti hux ser jibdlu it-triq għad irridu naraw.

Meta kienu Malta f’Mejju li għadda kemm Martin Schultz kif ukoll Jean Claude Junker tkellmu b’mod li jpoġġihom viċin ħafna tal-posizzjoni tal-Ħodor fil-Parlament Ewropew.

Jekk dak kienx tejatrin, għad irridu naraw.

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto : (3) A digital Bill of Rights

Digital Rights and Responsibilities

 

The Greens in the European Parliament are at the forefront of the fight for digital rights. We helped stop the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) and we are fighting for strong protection of personal data, for the right to privacy and for strict net neutrality. Now it is time to defend and protect both European citizens and the internet from pervasive corporate and governmental surveillance and to safeguard fundamental rights in the digital age. Personal data belongs to individual citizens, not to companies or governments. Privacy must be respected. The data retention law, which obliges telecom providers to store data about whom citizens communicate with, is a serious mistake and must be abolished.*   Governments have to abide by their own laws. Whilst national security is important, personal freedoms and liberties must not be overridden. Governments must ensure that national security agencies work for all citizens to secure freedom and liberty for everybody. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : A Digital Bill of Rights).

 

* The European Court of Justice has early in April 2014 declared as invalid the Data Retention Directive.

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (1) European Renewable Energy Community

erene_klein

The European Green Party 2014 Manifesto proposes the setting up of a European Renewable Energy Community: Trade policy should support a sustainable industrial renaissancein Europe and show respect and solidarity for our global partners. One project of particular relevance in this context will be creating a European Renewable Energy Community to help break our addiction to fossil fuels. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Renaissance of Industry for a Sustainable  Europe)

The Council of the European Greens meeting in Malmö Sweden in October 2009 approved a resolution on the European Renewable Energy Community, in brief ERENE. Renewable sources are the only viable sources of sustainable energy, says the title of the resolution.

The existing community for cooperation on energy, the Euratom, is unsustainable and obsolete. The current framework for energy policies in Europe is an obstacle for increased cooperation in this field.

Climate change mitigation implies the reduction of greenhouse gases in Europe in the order of 90% by 2050.

Whilst in 2009 only 11% of the energy generated in Europe was renewable energy it is recognised that the economic potential for renewable energy in Europe greatly exceeds the expected use of electricity in 2050.

There are great differences in national potential for renewable energy. As a consequence, cooperation on the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy systems in Europe is crucial to an enhanced production and use of renewable energy.

Vast investments are needed to realize the potential.

 

A feasibility study on the subject published by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung is available here.

Never been so close

immigration05

 

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.

Ħarsien tal-privatezza f’era diġitali

digitalprivacy1

 

Ix-xahar li għadda l-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Ġustizzja (ECJ) ħassret Direttiva tal-Unjoni Ewopeja (Data Retention Directive) li kienet tippermetti l-ħażna u l-użu ta’ data elettronika personali mill-awtoritajiet fl-istati membri. Dan l-ECJ għamlitu wara li kienet mitluba mill-għola Qrati fl-Irlanda u l-Awstrija biex teżamina din id-Direttiva minħabba numru ta’ kawżi dwar dan li kienu pendenti f’dawk il-pajjiżi.

Id-dinja diġitali hi l-fruntiera l-ġdida tad-drittijiet tagħna. Id-Direttiva imħassra (Data Retention Directive) kienet tagħti aċċess faċli għad-data diġitali personali kemm lill-Gvernijiet kif ukoll lill-Korporazzjonijiet. Il-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Ġustizzja fil-fatt qalet li, kif imfassla, din id-Direttiva tiġġenera is-sensazzjoni li l-ħajja personali tagħna hi taħt sorveljanza kontinwa.

Minħabba d-dipendenza tagħna fuq it-teknolġija diġitali kif applikata, per eżempju, fit-telefonija kif ukoll bl-użu kontinwu tal-internet, kull wieħed minna jħalli warajh traċċi kontinwi ta’ informazzjoni diġitali ta’ natura privata li jekk isir abbuż minna tista’ isservi ta’ theddida kontinwa għall-privatezza tagħna. Permezz tal-mobiles inħallu, per eżempju traċċi diġitali ta’ kull fejn inkunu f’kull ħin. Anke fuq l-internet, kif nafu ilkoll, inħallu warajna ħafna informazzjoni dwarna infusna. Ħafna minn din l-informazzjoni tista’ ma tfisser xejn, imma inħallu warajna ukoll, xi drabi bla ma nafu ħafna informazzjoni privata sensittiva. Min irid jabbuża minn din l-informazzjoni fil-fatt għandu fejn jixxala.

Ovvjament din it-tip ta’ informazzjoni jista’ jkollha użu importanti fil-ġlieda kontra l-kriminalita’. Imma daqskemm hi utli fil-ġlieda kontra l-kriminalita, daqstant ieħor tista’ issir ħsara jekk din l-informazzjoni, essenzjalment ta’ natura privata tiġi f’idejn u tintuża minn min m’għandux jedd għaliha.

Anke’ meta l-istat qiegħed jiġġieled kontra l-kriminalita’ m’għandu l-ebda jedd li jinjora d-drittijiet tagħna. F’kuntest diġitali l-iktar li jsir emfasi hu fuq il-privatezza tad-data kif ukoll li s-sidien tad-data huma n-nies individwali. Dan ifisser li la l-istat u l-anqas il-Korporazzjonijiet m’għandu jkollhom xi jedd assolut fuq informazzjoni diġitali ta’ natura privata. Fi ftit kliem la is-sigurta’ nazzjonali u l-anqas il-kummerċ m’għandhom iservu ta’ skuża biex fid-dinja diġtali jitnaqqru id-drittijiet tagħna.

Huwa essenzjali li f’din l-era diġitali kull ċittadin ikun imħares minn sorveljanza żejda mill-Gvernijiet u l-Korporazzjonijiet. L-informazzjoni personali la hi tal-istat u l-anqas tal-korporazzjonijiet. Għaldaqstant la l-istat u l-anqas il-korporazzjonijiet m’għandu jkollhom drittijiet fuq din l-informazzjoni li hi tagħna u mhux tagħhom.

Alternattva Demokratika u l-Ħodor Ewropej qegħdin fuq quddiem nett f’din il-ġlieda biex id-drittijiet diġitali tagħna jkunu imħarsa.

 

Ippubblikat fuq iNews it-Tlieta 6 ta’ Mejju 2014

Luxembourg Greens in Government: 4 Cabinet posts

dei greng

The European Green Party is delighted to announce  that Déi Gréng, the Luxembourg Green party, are part of the country’s new government! The Greens have three ministers and a secretary of state from 4 December 2013. This is a truly historic moment for our member party and for the whole of the European Green political family and we offer our heartfelt congratulations on this impressive outcome.

An Extraordinary Congress of déi gréng on 4 December approved the coalition agreement reached between three parties on Monday 2 December. The Congress gave a green light to the government’s new programme and endorsed the Green members of the new government. François Bausch is Minister for Mobility spatial planning and Infrastructure; Felix Braz joins the cabinet as Minister for Justice; Carole Dieschbourg serves as Minister for Environment and Climate and Camille Gira will be the Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure.