Il-basla li daħal fiha David Casa

L-istorja dal-għodu fil-Malta Today dwar il-Membru Parlamentari Ewropew David Casa u d-droga kokaina hi waħda gravi. Ma nafx jekk hiex minna jew le. Biż-żmien insiru nafu iktar dwar jekk hiex storja ivvintata inkella jekk hiex storja reali. Ovvjament, din l-istorja, barra milli hi ezerċizzju ta’ tpattija għal tkeċċija mix-xogħol hi storja immirata lejn il-kredibilitá ta’ David Casa u dan fir-rigward tal-posizzjoni iebsa li qed jieħu fil-Parlament Ewropew dwar diversi materji.

Jekk dak li qed jintqal hu minnu David Casa għandu bżonn l-għajnuna biex jindirizza d-dipendenza fuq id-droga. Jekk min-naħa l-oħra mhux minnu, l-problema xorta hi waħda kbira.

Qed jingħad li dak li kien assistant ta’ David Casa u oriġina din l-istorja tkeċċa mix-xogħol tiegħu (bħala assistant ta’ David Casa) għax kien qed ikun repetutament fis-sakra fuq ix-xogħol minħabba problemi kbar li kien qed jiffaċċa, fosthom kont ta’ mitt elf ewro ta’ arretrati ta’ taxxa fuq id-dħul. Anke dan għandu bżonn għajnuna kbira u mhux min jinqeda bih f’mumenti ta’ dgħjufija, irrispettivament minn jekk l-istorja hiex minna jew le! Dejjem sakemm ma sabx lil min ħallaslu jew ħafirlu l-kont tat-taxxa, kollu jew parti minnu!

Qed jissemmew diversi problemi inkluż li dan l-ex-assistent ta’ David Casa kien tkeċċa mis- segretarjat privat ta’ Austin Gatt fl-2002 meta l-Pulizja kien tellgħuh il-Qorti dwar negozju ta’ ċekkijiet f’munita barranija. Akkuża li, għandu jingħad, kien liberat minna.

Meta timpjega lil min ikun fid-dell ta’ dan it-taħwid f’postijiet sensittivi, x’tistenna? Mhux li xi darba jew oħra jdaħħluk f’xi basla?

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Undermining the rule of law

The “rule of law” is a basic democratic principle codified in the laws of democratic countries.

We are all servants of the law in order to be free and in a democracy, the law should apply to one and all without exception. A weak “rule of law” thus results in less and less democracy until one is left with only a free-standing façade.

The law is there to be observed: it should be a constraint on the behaviour of individuals as well as on that of institutions. All individuals ought to be subject to the same laws, whereas institutions are there to protect us all, not just from ourselves but also from all possible attempted abuse of authority by the institutions themselves.

It is within this context that the report of the ad hoc delegation of the Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament has to be considered. The report is an illustration of how others see the state of our democracy, even though at points it may be inaccurate.

The delegation’s brief was to investigate “alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion”.

The observations and conclusions of the delegation in its 36-page report are certainly not edifying. The common thread running through the different pages of the report is that in Malta there are more masters of the law than servants; this is how others see us.

In my opinion they are not far off the mark. The report repeatedly emphasises the point that the law should be observed in both letter and spirit.

The institutions in Malta are very weak. I would add that they are weak by design, in other words they are designed specifically to genuflect when confronted by crude political power. This is reflected both in the type of appointees as well as in the actual set-up of the institutions which are supposedly there to protect us.

The above-mentioned report observes, for example, that none of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) reports on Maltese politically exposed persons (PEPs) were investigated by the Police, notwithstanding the fact that the said reports had been forwarded to them “for any action the Police may consider appropriate”.

Is it too much to expect that the police do their duty in at least investigating? The fact that no such investigation was carried out drives home the clear unequivocal message that for the police, PEPs are not subject to the law like any other person. The EU Parliament report is very clear as to why such investigations are essential. In fact it is stated that: “Persons perceived to be implicated in serious acts of corruption and money- laundering, as a result of Panama Papers revelations and FIAU reports, should not be kept in public office and must be swiftly and formally investigated and brought to justice. Keeping them in office affects the credibility of the Government, fuels the perception of impunity and may result in further damage to State interests by enabling the continuation of criminal activity.”

The question to be asked is: why is this possible? Why do Maltese authorities tend to bend the rules or close an eye here and there?

You may find an indication as to why this is so in two small incidents occurring in Malta this year. These illustrate the forma mentis of the Maltese “authorities”.

The first example is associated with the fireworks factory at Iż-Żebbiegħ. After 30 years in Court the rural community of iż-Żebbiegħ won a civil case as a result of which a permit for a fireworks factory was declared null and void by the Court of Appeal. The government reacted by rushing through Parliament amendments to the Explosives Ordinance. These amendments with approved by Parliament with the full support of the Opposition. As a result, notwithstanding the decision of the Court of Appeal, a permit for the fireworks factory can still be issued.

The second example is still “work in progress”. The Court of Appeal has, in the application of rent legislation, decided that the Antoine de Paule Band Club in Paola was in breach of its lease agreement. As a result the Court of Appeal ordered the eviction of the band club from the premises they leased within four months.

The government reacted by publishing proposed amendments to the Civil Code, as a result of which the eviction ordered by the Court of Appeal will be blocked.

These are two examples of the government reacting to decisions of our Courts of Law by moving the goalposts – with the direct involvement of the Opposition. The public reactions to these two cases have been minimal. Maltese public opinion has become immune to such “cheating” and bending of the rules because this method of operation has become an integral part of the way in which our institutions function. The Opposition is an active collaborator in this exercise that undermines the rule of law in Malta.

Is it therefore reasonable to be surprised if this “cheating” and bending of the rules is applied not just in minor matters but in very serious ones too? Moving the goalposts whenever it is politically expedient is, unfortunately, part of the way in which this country has operated to date. It is certainly anything but democratic and most obviously anything but respectful towards the rule of law.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 20 May 2018

Encouraging the avoidance of paying tax

The issue as to whether or not  Malta is a tax haven has been brought to the fore once again, as a result of the amendment to the Panama Papers Inquiry Report discussed in the European Parliament earlier this week. The defeated amendment would have seen Malta, Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands labelled by the European Parliament as “tax havens”.

The matter is much more complex. On the one hand it involves tax competition and on the other hand it is a matter of justice in taxation matters.

As has been repeatedly stated, competition on taxation matters is one of the few areas in which small, as well as peripheral, countries in the European Union have a competitive advantage. Alternattiva Demokratika-The Green Party is not in favour of loosing this competitive advantage through tax harmonisation in the EU. However, it has to be used in a responsible manner.

The rules permitting the refund of a substantial amount of tax paid by foreign-owned companies based in Malta is one of the main reasons for the current spotlight. This substantial tax refund effectively reduces the tax paid by such companies from 35% to five per cent and is obviously considered very attractive by a number of companies. The basic question that requires a clear answer is how many of these companies are letter-box companies, that is companies which do not have any part of their operations on Maltese soil?

It would be reasonable to encourage companies to base part of their operations in Malta and, as a result, make use of tax advantages. But in respect of those companies which have not moved any part of their operations to Malta, making use of beneficial taxation arrangements is unreasonable and unjust. It leads to such companies avoiding paying tax in the countries in which they create their profits and consequently avoiding their social responsibilities on paying taxes in the countries that are providing them with the very facilities which make it possible for them to create their wealth.

In a nutshell, Malta is providing these companies with the legal framework to avoid their taxation responsibilities in the countries in which they operate through payment of a fraction of these taxes to the Maltese Exchequer. They pocket the rest.

Hiding behind the EU unanimity rule on tax issues will not get us anywhere, as Ireland has learnt in the Apple case. At the end of the day, the situation is not just about  taxation: it also involves competition rules and rules regulating state aid, as the legal infrastructure encouraging the avoidance of taxation is, in effect, a mechanism for state aid. The is also an issue of tax justice, as a result of which tax should be paid where the profits are generated.

Tax competition has a role to play as an important tool that small and peripheral countries in the EU have at their disposal. No one should expect these countries, Malta included, to throw away the small advantage they have, but it should be clear that this should be used responsibly and in no way should it buttress the urge of multinationals to circumvent the national taxation system in the country where their profits are generated.

Profits should be taxed where they are actually generated and not elsewhere. The EU needs to end – once and for all – not only tax evasion but also tax avoidance resulting from loopholes in national taxation rules. For this to happen, the EU member states must not only be vigilant, but they must also refrain from encouraging tax avoidance through the creation of more loopholes.

Tackling tax evasion and tax avoidance seriously will mean that taxes are paid where they are due, thereby funding the services and infrastructure that is required in a modern, civilised society. This can only happen if more companies pay their dues.

Tax competition need not be a race to the bottom.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 17 December 2017

Leo Brincat: loyalties and lip service

epa04912519 Maltese Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and CLimate change Leo Brincat arrives for an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting at the conference center in Luxembourg, 04 September 2015. EU Foreign Ministers gather in Luxembourg to discuss on the ongoing refugees and migrant crises. EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

When Leo Brincat gave evidence before the EU Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Control last week he was, as anticipated, quizzed on his position regarding the Panama Papers.

Leo Brincat made himself crystal clear by stating that he would have submitted his resignation – or else suspended himself from office until such time as matters would have been clarified – had he been himself involved.

He volunteered the information that there had been a point at which he had considered resigning from Ministerial office due to the manner in which the Panama Papers scandal was handled in Malta. He added that, eventually, however, his considerations did not materialise and he did not resign as he had no desire to be a “hero for a day and end up in the (political) wilderness” thereafter.

Then came the fundamental issue: what about his vote against the motion of No Confidence in Minister Konrad Mizzi which was discussed by Malta’s House of Representatives? He emphasised that he could not vote in favour of the No Confidence motion as he was bound by the party’s Parliamentary Whip! It was a basic standard of local politics, based on the Westminister model, he emphasised.

At this point Leo Brincat made it clear to the EU Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee that he had made a very important and fundamental choice: he preferred loyalty to the party whip to loyalty to his principles: those same principles which he has been harping on for ages. When push came to shove, solidarity with Konrad Mizzi took priority over good governance. This is what irked a substantial number of MEPs and prompted them not to recommend the  approval of Leo Brincat as a member of the European Court of Auditors. Leo’s declaration means only one thing: that his statements on good governance are only lip service to which there is no real commitment.

From this point onwards, the issue became one of principle, stated Slovenian Green MEP Igor Šoltes, Vice Chairman of the EU Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Control and rapporteur on the European Court of Auditors, when interviewed by the local media. How is it possible to expect appointment to the European Court of Auditors and simultaneously give a nod of approval to Konrad Mizzi? Leo’s reluctance to distance himself from Konrad’s misbehaviour was his undoing.

Leo Brincat was considered as being technically qualified for the post of member of the European Court of Auditors but his public behaviour relative to the Panama Papers left much to be desired: it rendered him ethically unqualified.

Most of the information on Malta and the Panama Papers scandal is freely available online. In this day and age, MEPs and their staff, like anyone else, can easily look up all the information they need in an instant. They do not need any prodding by David Casa, Roberta Metsola, Therese Commodini Cachia or anyone else!

The facts are damning enough. Leo Brincat, unfortunately, came across as an ambivalent person who speaks in favour of good governance yet through his vote simultaneously gives support to its negation. Konrad Mizzi’s behaviour,, sanctioned in parliament by the vote of Leo Brincat and his colleagues on the government benches, signifies that the Parliamentary Labour Party in Malta does not care about good governance. Leo Brincat’s failure is quite representative of the Labour Parliamentary group’s behaviour in Malta, as they have all contributed to this mess – the effects of which are yet to come.

In fairness, I must also point out that the press had, at a point in time picked up information about a rowdy Labour Party Parliamentary Group meeting during which Leo Brincat and a number of other MPs (including a number of Ministers ) had argued for Konrad Mizzi’s resignation or removal. It is indeed unfortunate that Joseph Muscat did not feel sufficiently pressured to remove Konrad Mizzi from Cabinet, as that meeting was only followed up with cosmetic changes in Konrad Mizzi’s Cabinet responsibilities.

It is useless to try and shift the blame onto Joseph Muscat and his cronies. While Joseph Muscat is ultimately responsible, this does not exonerate Leo Brincat and each individual member of the Labour Party Parliamentary group; each one of them too must shoulder responsibilities for  failure to act in removing Konrad Mizzi from public office.

At the end of the day there is just one lesson: loyalty to your conscience is not up for bartering.

Leo Brincat: iħallas il-prezz tal-ambivalenza

 

 leo-brincat-2

Il-Parlament Ewropew iktar kmieni illum waranofsinnhar iddeċieda li ma jaċċettax in-nomina ta’ Leo Brincat bħala membru Malti tal-Qorti tal-Awdituri. Fil-Parlament ma kienx hemm diskussjoni, imma r-rakkomandazzjoni tal-Kumitat tas-sorveljanza tal-Budget. Kienet rakkomandazzjoni biex Leo Brincat ikun approvat. Fil-kumitat kien hemm diskussjoni u l-maġġoranza tal-kumitat qablet li Leo Brincat kellu  ikun approvat.

Waqt il-laqgħa tal-kumitat Leo Brincat wieġeb diversi mistoqsijiet mill-membri parlamentari ewropej. Il-mistoqsijiet kienu juru b’mod ċar x’kien ta’ tħassib għall-membri tal-kumitat parlamentari. Ir-raġunijiet u l-argumenti li inġiebu huma bla dubju l-bażi li fuqhom il-Membri tal-Parlament Ewropew ivvutaw u iddeċidew li ma japprovawx il-ħatra ta’ Leo Brincat.

Hemm min jitħassar lil Leo Brincat għad-deċiżjoni li ittieħdet iktar kmieni illum. Għax, jgħidu, huwa raġel validu, ippreparat u ta’ integrità. U li ma kellux jeħel hu bit-tortijiet tal-Gvern ta’ Joseph Muscat.

Tajjeb iżda li niftakru ftit li meta Leo Brincat ġie mgħarbel mill-Kumitat Parlamentari tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar is-Sorveljanza tal-Budget ħarġet ċara ħafna li l-bniedem hu ambivalenti.

Issa l-ambivalenza tfisser l-esistenza simultaneja ta’ żewġ attitudnijiet opposti u konfliġġenti.

Leo Brincat iffaċċjat b’dak li kien qed jingħad dwar l-involviment tal-Ministru Konrad Mizzi fil-każ magħruf bħala l-Panama Papers qal illi li kien hu floku (flok Konrad Mizzi, jiġifieri) kien jirriżenja minn Ministru jew ta’ l-inqas jissospendi ruħu sakemm jiċċaraw ruħhom l-affarijiet. Leo Brincat  żied jgħid li ffaċċjat b’dak li kien qed jiġri kien hemm mumenti li kien qed jikkonsidra li huwa jirreżenja minn Ministru. Imma kieku huwa rreżenja, żied jgħid Leo Brincat, kien ikun “a hero for a day”.  Imbagħad, wara, jitwarrab u jispiċċa “in the wilderness”.

F’din is-sitwazzjoni, żied jgħid, ipprefera li jiġġieled minn ġewwa. Ma qalilniex kif jew x’għamel. Imma nafu minn dak li ħareġ fl-istampa li f’dak iż-żmien kien hemm laqgħa movimentata tal-grupp parlamentari laburista u Leo Brincat issemma flimkien ma numru ta’ veterani oħra fil-grupp Parlamentari Laburista li insistew għar-riżenja ta’ Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri l-Kasco. Imma jidher li kienu fil-minoranza.

Imbagħad ġiet is-siegħa tal-prova, l-vot ta’ sfiduċja fil-Parlament. F’din is-siegħa tal-prova Leo Brincat bil-vot tiegħu ddikjara li kellu fiduċja f’Konrad Mizzi u ivvota favur tiegħu, minkejja li fil-fehma tiegħu Konrad Mizzi kellu jirreżenja!

Ambivalenza iktar minn din qatt ma rajt u diffiċli biex nara.

Huwa veru li ma kellux freevote imma li kien obbligat mill-Partit tiegħu li ma jivvutax kontra Konrad Mizzi. Imma dik kienet l-għażla li kellu jagħmel Leo Brincat. Meta ġie biex jagħżel ivvota kontra dak li kien jemmen fih. Ivvota favur il-medjokrità u kontra s-serjeta u l-governanaza tajba.

Fil-fehma tiegħi din hi l-issue ċentrali li fuqha iddeċieda l-Parlament Ewropew meta għarbel il-ħatra ta’ Leo Brincat. Kien ċara daqs il-kristall minn kmieni. Id-dikjarazzjonijiet ta’ Leo Brincat favur l-imġieba korretta u l-governanza tajba ma jikkorrispondux mal-vot ta’ fiduċja favur Konrad Mizzi. Huma żewg affarijiet kontradittorji.

Dak hu li jfisser il-vot tal-lum fil-Parlament Ewropew. Min m’għandux il-kuraġġ tal-konvinzjonijiet tiegħu (għax jemmen ħaġa u jagħmel mod ieħor) mhux addattat għal karigi pubbliċi.

 

Toni Abela fir-raba’ sular

Toni Abela. EU hearing 160316

Id-deċiżjoni tal-bieraħ tal-Kumitat tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar il-Kontroll tal-Budget setgħet kienet antiċipata. Toni Abela hu persuna li qatt ma ħarab il-kontroversja, u l-istess kontroversja bla dubju baqgħet tiġri warajh.

Bħal ħafna oħrajn jiena kont sorpriż meta l-Gvern iddeċieda li jinnomina lil Toni Abela għall-Qorti tal-Awdituri, prinċipalment minħabba li m’għandu l-ebda esperjenza ta’ amministrazzjoni pubblika. Qatt ma miss direttament b’idejh id-deċiżjonijiet politiċi dwar l-allokazzjoni ta’ fondi pubbliċi u l-infieq tagħhom. Esperjenza f’dan il-qasam ma kellu xejn.  L-esperjenza bħala Viċi Sindku tal-Ħamrun 24 sena ilu, fil-fehma tiegħi ma tfisser assolutament xejn.

Ma dan trid iżżid il-kontroversja dwar id-droga fil-Każin Laburista ta’ Ħal-Safi li dwarha, l-ispjegazzjoni li ta Toni Abela, anke jekk probabilment hi korretta, qatt ma kienet sodisfaċenti. Hi spjegazzjoni li ma kkonvinċiet lil ħadd. Hi kontroversja li wasslet ċar il-messaġġ li l-Partit Laburista ipproteġa l-kriminalità fil-każini tiegħu.

Dan kollu, trid tarah ukoll fid-dawl tad-dibattitu kurrenti dwar il-korruzzjoni fil-pajjiż kif ukoll fid-dawl tal-fatt li l-kaz John Dalli ta lil Malta isem ħażin fuq l-livell Ewropew. Dan hu salib li bħala pajjiż irridu inġorru għal snin kbar u minħabba fih kulħadd ser jeżamina kull ma nagħmlu u nipproponu bil-lenti.

Hemm min qed jgħid li dan kollu hu riżultat ta’ kampanja negattiva mill-membri parlamentari tal-PN fil-Parlament Ewropew. Issa jiena ma nafx dawn x’għamlu, imma naf li illum il-ġurnata, sempliċi search fuq l-internet, f’tebqa’ t’għajn tagħtik l-informazzjoni kollha li tkun trid jew teħtieġ, mhux biss dwar Malta iżda ukoll dwar Toni Abela.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu Toni Abela seta faċilment antiċipa r-riżultat tal-bieraħ. Żbalja bil-kbir meta aċċetta n-nomina.

Għadni ma nistax nifhem kif l-istrateġisti tar-raba’ sular dan kollu ma fehmuhx.

L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen

Volkswagen. Das Cheater

 

Id-dettalji tal-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen  fl-iStati Uniti tal-Amerika għadhom ħerġin. L-istorja kollha, forsi, għadha mhux magħrufa s’issa.

Jidher li dan l-iskandlu jinvolvi madwar nofs miljun karozza li taħdem bid-diesel (qed issemma ukoll iċ-ċifra ferm ikbar ta’ 11-il miljun karozza) kif ukoll żieda ta’ madwar miljun tunellata ta’ emmissjonijiet ta’ NOx li jniġġzu l-arja u li  fil-parti l–kbira tagħhom huma ta’ ħsara għas-saħħa.

Dan jidher li seħħ minħabba li diversi karozzi prodotti mill-kumpanija Volkswagen kellhom apparat elettroniku stallat li kien inaqqas it-tniġġiz meta l-karozzi jkunu qed jiġu ittestjati liema apparat iżda ma kienx jaħdem f’ħin ieħor. Jidher li l-logħba kienet permezz ta’ software li kien istallat biex meta l-karozza tkun qed tiġi misjuqa b’mod normali l-kontrolli tal-emmissjoniiet kienu jintfew awtomatikament b’mod elettroniku. Dawn il-kontrolli iżda, kienu jerġgħu jinxtegħlu awtomatikament meta jkun għaddej xi test tal-emmissjonijiet.

Il-karozzi effettwati, mudelli li jaħdmu bid-diesel li ġew immanifatturati bejn l-2009 u l-2015 jidher li huma VW Jetta, Beetle u Golf, il-mudell Passat tal-2014-15, u l-mudell Audi A3 ta’ bejn l-2009 u l-2015.

Volkswagen qed tikkalkula li dan l-iskandlu ser jiswielha €6.5 biljuni fi ħsarat u possibilment mat-$18-il biljun f’multi fl-iStati Uniti tal-Amerika fejn ġie identifikat dan l-abbuż. Dan aparti multi f’pajjiżi oħra, kif ukoll, possibilment, proċeduri kriminali kontra d-diriġenti tal-kumpanija.

Il-ħsara lir-reputazzjoni tal-kumpanija, ukoll, diġa hi kbira ħafna.

Iktar tard illum, il-Kumitat tal-Ambjent tal-Parlament Ewropew ser jikkonkludi d-diskussjoni dwar abbozz ta’ leġislazzjoni li taġġorna r-regolamenti dwar it-tniġġiz mill-karozzi Euro 5 u Euro 6 applikabbli fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Fi stqarrija li ħareġ il-bieraħ,  il-kelliemi tal-Ħodor Ewropej Bas Eickhout qal li ilu magħruf li l-manufatturi tal-karozzi fl-Unjoni Ewopeja qed iduru mar-regoli tat-tniġġiz tant li m’humiex josservawhom. L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen fl-Istati Uniti għandu tiftaħ beraħ għajnejn kulħadd dwar dak li fil-fatt qed jiġri.

Nistennew li nkunu infurmati jekk ġewx mibjugħa minn dawn il-karozzi f’Malta u x’passi ser jittieħdu dwarhom.

Karmenu Vella : wirja fqira ħafna fi Brussels

Karmenu Vella.Brussels 290914

 

Il-wirja ta’ Karmenu Vella illum huwa u jwieġeb il-mistoqsjiet tal-Membri Parlamentari Ewropej kienet waħda fqira.

Mhux biss ma kellux għarfien adegwat tal-oqsma ambjentali, talli ma wera l-ebda ħeġġa jew viżjoni dwar d-diversi oqsma li kien mistoqsi dwarhom. Tant li Claude Turmes, il-membru Parlamentari tal-Ħodor tal-Lussemburgu ħass il-ħtieġa li jsaqsieħ jekk Juncker taħx struzzjonijiet biex ma jikkommettix ruħu.

Tlift il-kont ta’ kemm il-darba ma kienx f’posizzjoni li jirrispondi, ma tax risposta jew qagħad idur mal-lewża. Buzz-words uża kemm trid. Imma meta kien mitlub ikun konkret f’dak li qed jgħid naqas milli jagħmel dan.

Anke dwar id-Direttiva dwar l-Għasafar żelaq meta ipprova jgħid x’għandu f’moħħu Juncker meta taħ l-inkarigu biex jikkonsolida din id-Direttiva u dik dwar il-Habitats. L-ikbar ċertifikat tawhulu l-Birdlife International meta qalu li : I don’t think we can feel reassured in any way by his performance.

Minkejja dan kollu l-Grupp Soċjalista hu sodisfatt u l-grupp tal-Popolari jafu li x’aktarx li ser ikollhom jitwikkew bih, għax hekk ftehmu ma’ Gianni Pitella u Martin Schultz. Inkella Juncker ma jkollux l-appoġġ tas-Soċjalisti!

Imma x’ser jiġri eżatt għadu mhux ċar, għax għad irridu naraw kif ser imorru l-Kummissarji kollha. Imbagħad jibdew jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet.

Nagħlaq b’kumment tal-Greens fil-Parlament Ewropew dwar Karmenu Vella:

Do you think he is suitable for the portfolio he has been assigned?

Not really. He is fully loyal to the political direction that has been outlined by Commission president-elect Juncker. He is capable of lip service on sustainable development (green growth), but did not demonstrate any willingness to take on industry opposition. He lacks commitment and conviction about the issues. It is difficult to imagine him confronting commissioners defending industry interests. He did not come across as a fighter, which is disappointing for one of the most important commissioners for the Greens.

Għall-kummenti kompleti tal-Greens dwar Karmenu Vella agħfas hawn.

 

Its BBQ time

Karmenu Vella + Dom Mintoff

On Monday 29 September at 2.30pm Karmenu Vella, Malta’s nominee to the Juncker led EU Commission will meet with Members of the European Parliament who sit on the Parliamentary Committees dealing with the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs. They will listen to his introductory views on the responsibilities which he has been assigned and subsequently they will ask questions.

For three hours they will listen to his answers after which they will decide whether in their opinion he is suitable for the post to which he has been nominated, that is as EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The MEPs will be interested to hear Karmenu Vella explain as to how he will go about with the proposed revision and possible consolidation of the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directives which matter he was specifically instructed by Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker to take in hand. These views are especially significant in view of the quasi unconditional support which the Labour Party in Malta gives to hunters and trappers. The European Voice on Monday 22 September paraphrased it very accurately when it stated that: the matter “is particularly sensitive because Malta has been in repeated and continued violation of these laws because of bird hunting.” Will Karmenu Vella, for example, in view of the Labour’s experiences in Malta seek to sanction spring hunting within the rest of the EU? MEPs will undoubtedly be very eager to learn about what possiblies lies ahead if EU Environmental governance is dependent on Karmenu Vella!

In the letter of appointment Jean-Claude Juncker identified 5 clear targets which Karmenu Vella has to attain, namely:

  1. The overhaul of existing environmental legislative framework,
  2. The European Union strategy about the quality of air,
  3. The circular economy and the results achieved to date and in the light of the first reactions of the European Parliament and of the Council of Ministers,
  4. The implementation of the common fisheries policy,
  5. Active participation in international fora on the Oceans within the United Nations and other multilateral and bilateral fora.

MEPs would be very much interested as to what is in store as a result of environmental deregulation. Which legislative instruments will be targeted? How will Karmenu Vella in his role as Commissioner  seek to ensure that the protection which the EU has to date afforded to both man and the eco-system is not dismantled but rather reinforced?

The European Chemicals Agency which deals with the implementation of the REACH Directive has been removed from the Environment portfolio and transferred to the portfolio dealing with Enterprise. This is not a matter which Karmenu Vella has to answer for but it is indicative as to the forces at play on Juncker’s table. The REACH Directive is not considered as an environmental matter by Jean-Claude Juncker. In his opinion it has to be administered primarily in the interests of enterprise, that is of business and industry.

Committees of the European Parliament will by now have digested the experiences of former European Commissioner John Dalli. As a result they would be more than interested about Karmenu Vella’s contacts with the business world, about his thoughts on lobbying as well as what he think’s transparency is all about.

A report published by the Corporate Europe Observatory earlier this month is entitled: Do not bet on the commissioner: the case of Karmenu Vella of Malta.  Since this report emphasises that Karmenu Vella “is not suitable to be a commissioner” the members of the Committees of the European Parliament would undoubtedly wish to hear from Karmenu Vella as to why, in his opinion they should arrive at a different conclusion.

 

published in The Malta Independent : Wednesday 24th September 2014

Il-BBQ ta’ Karmenu Vella

Karmenu Vella + Joseph

 

Il-BBQ li l-Parlament Ewropew mistenni jorganizza għal Karmenu Vella ser isir nhar it-Tnejn 29 ta’ Settembru 2014 bejn s-2.30pm u l-5.30pm.

Tlett siegħat sħaħ li fihom huwa mistenni li jwieġeb mistoqsijiet tal-Membri Parlamentari Ewropej dwar l-Ambjent, dwar is-Sajd u dwar il-Politika Marittima. Hu mistenni li fost il-mistoqsijiet ikun hemm xi waħda jew tnejn dwar il-kaċċa fir-rebbiegħa.

Ikun interessanti ukoll kif Karmenu Vella ser jispjega x’ser jagħmel dwar id-Direttiva tal-Għasafar u d-Direttiva tal-Habitats liema żewġ direttivi ngħata l-inkarigu speċifiku dwarhom minn Jean-Claude Juncker.

Fl-ittra tal-ħatra  Jean Claude Juncker ipoġġi 5 targets quddiem Karmenu Vella:

  1. L-eżami mill-ġdid tar-regolamentazzjoni ambjentali,
  2. L-istrateġja tal-Unjoni Ewropeja dwar il-kwalita’ tal-arja,
  3. L-ekonomija ċirkulari u r-riżultati miksuba s’issa u dan fid-dawl tal-ewwel reazzjonijiet tal-Parlament u tal-Kunsill tal-Ministri,
  4. L-implimentazzjoni tal-istrateġija komuni dwar is-sajd,
  5. Sehem attiv f’fora internazzjonali dwar l-ibħra fi ħdan il-Ġnus Magħquda u fora oħra multilaterali u bilaterali.

Il-Kumitati tal-Parlament Ewropew bla dubju ser ifittxu li jgħarblu l-ideat ta’ Karmenu Vella dwar kif ser iwettaq l-inkarigu l-ingħatalu. Imma fuq kollox, fid-dawl tal-esperjenzi ta’ John Dalli bħala Kummissarju Ewropew bla dubju l-Kumitati tal-Parlament Ewropew ser jistaqsu lil Karmenu Vella diversi mistoqsijiet dwar il-kuntatti tiegħu mad-dinja tan-negozju, dwar il-ħsiebijiet tiegħu fuq il-lobbying kif ukoll kif jaħsibha dwar it-trasparenza.

Ser jissemma ukoll ir-rapport ippubblikat ftit tal-ġranet ilu mill-Corporate Europe Observatory intitolat: Don’t bet on the commissioner: the case of Karmenu Vella of Malta. 

Billi f’dan ir-rapport jingħad li Karmenu Vella “ is not suitable to be a commissioner ” il-membri tal-Kumitati tal-Parlament Ewropew ikunu jixtiequ jisimgħu mingħand Karmenu Vella għaliex huma għandhom jaslu għal konklużjoni differenti.