L-amnestija li qed tinħema mill-MEPA

engos.PC.100215

 

Bl-amnestija li qed tinħema il-MEPA u l-Gvern ser jidhru kif fil-fatt huma. Ma jistgħux jibqgħu jinħbew wara regolamenti u policies li qed jindunaw illi ma jistgħux iġebbduhom iktar. Il-MEPA u l-Gvern bl-amnestija tal-bini li qed titħejja ser jagħtu messaġġ wieħed: ħawwad, għax mhux il-bogħod li nirranġawlek.

Dal-għodu attendejt konferenza tal-aħbarijiet indirizzata minn diversi għaqdiet ambjentali li wasslet dan il-messaġġ. Attendejt f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika biex nagħti appoġġ pubbliku lill-għaqdiet li qed isemmgħu leħinhom, mhux biss kontra l-ħniżrijiet li saru, imma ukoll kontra dawk li qed jitħejjew.

 

 

ara ukoll fuq dan il-blog : The spoils of environmental crime.

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Fl-Armier la tisraqx l-elettriku, imma dwar l-art “jirranġawlek”

armier smart metres

 

Tajjeb għamlet il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta li ser tistalla smart meters fejn diġa’ hemm provista tal-elettriku fil-boathouses tal-Armier mibnija b’mod illegali. Il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta qed tagħti messaġġ qawwi lil kulħadd. Kemm li dawk li qed jużaw il-boathouses imma iktar u iktar lill-Gvern.

Il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta qed tgħid li mhux ser tittollera s-serq tal-elettriku. La tisraqx l-elettriku għax “bl-ismart meter ser naqbduk”, qed tgħid il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta.

Imma l-Gvern, kemm dak tal-lum immexxi minn Joseph Muscat (kif ukoll dawk tal-bieraħ immexxija minn Lawrence Gonzi u Eddie Fenech Adami) qed jagħti messaġġ differenti. Messaġġ imsaħħah b’diversi ftehim bejn l-Assoċjazzjoni tal-Boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa  u l-partiti l-kbar (jiġifieri l-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-Partit Laburista). Il-Gvern jgħinek billi jagħlaq għajnejh għas-serq ta’ art pubblika.

Mela : tisraqx l-elettriku, imma jekk trid tisraq l-art fl-Armier il-Gvern lest li jgħinek. Jekk sraqt l-art, qed jgħidlek, nirranġaw.

 

Jekk trid taqra iktar dwar dan is-suġġett f’dan il-blog aqra is-segwenti:

24 ta’ Ġunju 2008 : Il-Boathouses tal-Armier.

21 ta’ Jannar 2012: Parties in cahoots with squatters.

17 t’Awwissu 2012 :  Armier cowboys should not be rewarded.

23 t’Ottubru 2012: Pajjiż tal-cowboys: israq u tkun ippremjat.

24 t’Ottubru 2012: Il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa: meta l-Ministru riedhom jaqgħu.

8 ta’ Jannar 2013 : Malta tagħna lkoll.

2 ta’ Frar 2013 : Armier illegalities and amnesties.

29 ta’ Ġunju 2013 : Is-skiet tal-PN dwar l-Armier.

L-impotenza tal-Parlament u l-Imħallef Lino Farrugia Sacco

Lino Farrugia Sacco 1

Illum l-Imħallef Lino Farrugia Sacco jagħlaq snienu, 65 sena, u jirtira. Il-lum ukoll, billi l-Imħallef Lino Farrugia Sacco kien qed jiffaċċja mozzjoni Parlamentari biex jitneħħa minn Imħallef, din l-istess mozzjoni tispiċċa.

Il-kritika li l-Opposizzjoni qed tagħmel lill-Gvern hi li illum hu Jum Iswed għall-kontabilita u dan minħabba li l-Gvern ta’ Joseph Muscat qagħad jistenna li jiġu fi tmiemhom il-proċeduri legali li kien beda l-Inħallef Farrugia Sacco. Kien ovvju li dawn kien baqa’ ftit mhux ħażin biex jiġu fit-tmiem tagħhom.

L-Opposizzjoni għandha raġun tikkritika lill-Gvern għax kaxkar saqajh biex jaġixxi – għax kien ovvju li ma riedx jaġixxi. Imma bħas-soltu l-Opposizzjoni tgħid biss biċċa mill-istorja. Il-biċċa li jaqblilha.

Kien ikun aħjar kieku l-Opposizzjoni tipprova tispjega għaliex il-Gvern immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi ħalla għall-aħħar minuta, fi tmiem l-2012, biex iressaq il-mozzjoni għat-tneħħija tal-Imħallef Lino Farrugia Sacco.

L-Imħallef Farrugia Sacco kien ilu s-snin jisfida l-Kodiċi tal-Etika tal-Imħallfin. Il-Gvern immexxi mill-PN, iżda, ma għamel xejn. Kieku l-Gvern immexxi mill-PN kien serju l-mozzjoni ressaqha snin qabel. Kieku ilna b’deċiżjoni.

Imma dan kieku l-Gvern tal-PN kien serju. Hu ovvju għal kulħadd li la Muscat ma jrid is-serjeta’ u l-anqas Gonzi ma riedha qablu ġhax anke Gonzi kaxkar saqajh.

Ma hemmx x’tagħżel bejniethom.

It-tnejn, kemm il-Partit Nazzjonalista  kif ukoll il-Partit Laburista huma responsabbli biex fil-konfront tal-akkużi li għandu l-Imħallef, il-Parlament hu impotenti.

Subsidiarity and loyalty

malta passport

The Prime Minister has a generational transformation in sight which he wants to bankroll with the monies generated by his sale of citizenship scheme. His supporters see traitors everywhere as they cannot stomach any form of criticism.

Does any EU member state have the right to introduce and implement a sale of citizenship scheme?  Government spokesmen have repeatedly stated that the Malta Government has been advised that it is in line with EU legislation. In line with the subsidiarity principle, nationality issues, we were told, are the sole and exclusive competence of EU member states.

No one is contesting that nationality issues are a national competence. In fact even Commissioner Viviene Reding made this amply clear. There is however much more to it than state competence. There is the duty to be loyal to the Union and other member states. Article 4.3 of the European Union Treaty explains this as the principle of sincere cooperation, also referred to as the loyalty principle: loyalty, that is, towards the other European Union member states.

Government has opted to milk citizenship in order to generate finance so as to be in a position to implement its electoral programme. It has excluded taxation as an option. Moreover it has reduced income tax as part of its electoral strategy in order to outwit the former government, knowing full well that this necessitated alternative financial avenues. Never did it place its plans to put citizenship on sale before the electorate for its consideration. Ethically the Labour Party cannot claim to have an electoral mandate on the matter.

The local political debate has revealed diametrically opposed positions. Government’s position is dictated by its strategy of requiring cash in order to finance its political initiatives. Time is of essence in its strategy. It cannot afford to wait for would-be investors to take initiatives of their choice. There is no direct link between the prospective citizen and the manner in which the monies he pays are “invested”. It is in fact an exercise of selling citizenship with a commitment to use the proceeds in a specific manner. The funds generated are hypothecated. A residential criterion has so far been ruled out, most probably,  as this would only serve as a delaying factor. It would delay the flow of the monies required depending on how long the residential criterion runs.

The warning shot fired by the EU Parliament is not to be discarded as the EU Parliament is the only democratically elected EU institution. Nor is Commissioner Reding’s statement  one that could be ignored. Reding has stated that:

While I am not calling for the Commission to receive legal power to determine what constitutes nationality or the rules granting it, the Commission nevertheless expects that Member States act in full awareness of the consequences of their decisions.

Our debate today shows the growing importance of these questions in a European Union where national decisions are in many instances not neutral vis-à-vis other Member States and the EU as a whole. It is a fact that the principle of sincere cooperation, which is inscribed in the EU Treaties (Article 4.3 of the Treaty on European Union), should lead Member States to take account of the impact of decisions in the field of nationality on other Member States and the Union as a whole.”

Clearly the competence of member states on issues of citizenship is not absolute. Given its impacts on all the other members of the Union in areas of national security, freedom of movement in the Schengen Area, rights to residence and employment, it stands to reason that both the EU as well as member states require consultation which apparently was not carried out.

The capping of the citizenship scheme at 1,800 passports for sale is certainly not enough. A residential condition of reasonable length is also  required as an additional and essential element. This would however be a sticking point as whilst it could render the proposed scheme less un-acceptable and in line with some of the practices elsewhere, it may fail to deliver what the Maltese Government requires on time.

It is with this in mind that the Greens in Malta have time and again called on Government to suspend the implementation of the scheme and concurrently to initiate a dialogue with Brussels. The problem at an EU level may eventually be resolved around the negotiating table. This would result in less reputational damage for Malta. A meeting called between the EU Commision and the Malta Government seems to be imminent. Hopefully matters will take a positive turn.

That would leave the political issue to be solved locally, either in Parliament or at the ballot box through a public consultation. The Prime Minister has already indicated that he is willing to submit the issue to a national consultation.  It is the decent way forward, part of our learning curve as a nation.

published in The Times of Malta, Saturday January 25, 2014

Tradituri?

are you the traitor

Diskors li qed nisimgħu dan l-aħħar dwar tradituri ma jagħmel ġid lil ħadd.

Dan hu diskors li ġeneralment qed jingħad minn persuni viċin il-Gvern tal-lum u dan b’difiża għall-kritika li qed issir, f’Malta u barra, dwar l-iskema tal-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza.

Nifhem li l-kritika ddarras.  Pero’ min hu konvint minn dak li qed jagħmel m’għandux ħtieġa ta’ insulti, iżda hu kapaċi jwieġeb argument.

L-użu tal-kelma “tradituri” fil-konfront  tal-kritiċi tal-Gvern l-iktar li tagħmel il-ħsara hu lill-Gvern innifsu għax twassal il-messaġġ li dawk li jappoġġaw lill-Gvern (jew parti minnhom) huma intolleranti għall-kritika.

Fuq kollox għalkemm huwa l-Gvern (bis-saħħa tal-maġġoranza li għandu fil-Parlament) li jiddeċiedi, ma jfissirx li neċessarjament illi għandu raġun. In-numri jiddeterminaw min jiddeċiedi, mhux min għandu raġun.

Il-kritika lill-Gvern tal-lum saret u tibqa’ issir, bħalma saret lill-Gvern tal-bieraħ. Iċ-ċavetta biex nimxu l-quddiem hi li lkoll niftħu widnejna beraħ biex nisimgħu iktar. B’dan il-mod biss hemm iċ-ċans li jsiru inqas żbalji, mhux bl-insulti.

L-insulti huma l-għodda esklussiva ta’ min m’għandux fiduċja fir-raguni.

ippubblikat minn iNews it-Tnejn 20 ta’ Jannar 2014

L-interess nazzjonali

 silenced

Qed jgħidulna li min jitkellem b’mod kritiku dwar dak li jkun qed jiġri f’Malta barra l-pajjiż ikun qed jaġixxi kontra l-interess nazzjonali.

Jekk taqra dak li qed jingħad qiesu hemm xi obbligu li f’fora internazzjonali kull Malti għandu l-obbligu li jfaħħar u jappoġġa dak li jagħmel il-Gvern. Bħala eżempju ġieli jgħidulna li d-delegazzjoni Laburista fil-Parlament Ewropew appoġġat il-kandidatura ta’ Tonio Borg għal Kummissarju Ewropew. Qiesu jridu jgħidulna li għamlu hekk minkejja li kienu jafu li dik ma kienitx għażla tajba, iżda huma xorta taw l-appoġġ tagħhom, ovvjament fl-interess nazzjonali!

Fil-fatt meta d-delegazzjoni Laburista appoġġat il-kandidatura ta’ Tonio Borg (minkejja li kienet taf li dik kien proposta żbaljata tal-Gvern immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi) imxiet kontra l-interess nazzjonali, għax l-interess ta’ Malta kien li jkollna Kummissarju differenti.  Tonio Borg minkejja l-kwalitajiet tajba tiegħu ma kienx għażla tajba għall-kariga ta’ Kummissarju Ewropew.

Bħalma l-Labour dakinnhar żbaljaw, illum jippretendu li l-iżball tagħhom jimitah kulhadd. Jippretendu appoġġ għami għal dak li jagħmel il-Gvern. Taqbel u ma taqbilx. Fl-interess nazzjonali, ovvjament.

Ma hemm l-ebda obbligu li nagħtu appoġġ lill-Gvern meta dan jiżbalja. La f’Malta u l-anqas barra minn Malta.  Hu kontra l-interess nazzjonali li tappoġġa proposti żbaljati biex tidher taparsi patrijott.

X’tagħmel il-GWU dwar il-proposta tal-Gvern dwar il-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza hi għażla tagħha. Il-GWU għandha kull dritt (u obbligu) li tasal għall-konklużjonjiet tagħha dwar dak li jkun għaddej. Kif jagħmel ħaddieħor. Pero’ l-President tal-GWU ma għandu l-ebda dritt jippretendi u jinsisti li d-diskussjoni ma tmurx lil hinn minn xtutna. Dak li qed jipproponi l-Gvern dwar iċ-ċittadinanza għandu, implikazzjonijiet serji lil hinn minn xtutna u għalhekk hu floku li l-Parlament Ewropew jiddiskuti l-materja f’nofs Jannar 2014.

Dak kollu li jiġri Malta qatt ma kien ta’ interess għalina biss. Iktar u iktar illum li niffurmaw parti mill-Unjoni Ewropeja. Dak kollu li jiġri f’Malta jinteressa lil kulħadd. Bl-istess mod jinteressa lilna dak li jiġri f’pajjiżi oħra ukoll, kemm dawk li pajjiżi li huma qrib tagħna kif ukoll dawk li huma iktar il-bogħod.

Per eżempju kien hemm żmien meta l-Libja, fi żmien Muammar Gaddafi, ftehmet ma Sarkozy (dakinnhar President ta’ Franza) dwar ix-xiri ta’ impjant nuklejari biex dan ikun istallat mal-kosta Libjana ħalli jipproduċi ilma tajjeb għax-xorb mill-ilma baħar. Dan l-impjant, jekk il-kostruzzjoni tiegħu jseħħ, jista’ jkollu impatt negattiv fuq Malta, iżda minkejja dan ħadd ma fetaħ ħalqu dwaru ħlief Alternattiva Demokratika. L-anqas meta l-Italja taħt Silvio Berlusconi ipprovat tibni impjant nuklejari 94 kilometru l-bogħod minn Għawdex (f’Palma di Montechiaro mal-kosta t’isfel ta’ Sqallija) ukoll ħadd ma fetaħ ħalqu f’Malta ħlief Alternattiva Demokratika. Dan minkejja l-potenzjal ta’ impatt diżastruż ta’ dan l-impjant fuq il-gżejjer Maltin.

L-interess nazzjonali dakinnhar kien jitlob li l-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni jiftħu ħalqhom. Iżda kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-Labour dakinnhar baqgħu siekta t-tnejn. Bħala riżultat ta’ dak is-skiet dakinnhar irrenjaw l-interessi ta’ Franza, tal-Libja u tal-Italja, mhux l-interess nazzjonali ta’ Malta.

Fi ftit kliem is-skiet biss huwa kontra l-interess nazzjonali. Għandna l-obbligu li niftħu ħalqna dejjem. Nitkellmu b’mod responsabbli iva, imma mhux li nżommu ħalqna magħluq.

Hu fl-interess nazzjonali li min hu tal-fehma li l-iskema tal-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza proposta mill-Gvern ta’ Malta hi żbaljata jesprimi ruħu pubblikament, dejjem sakemm dan isir b’mod responsabbli. Ikun qed jimxi kontra l-interess nazzjonali min, minkejja dan, jibqa’ ħalqu magħluq. Hu biss is-skiet li jagħmel il-ħsara.

ippubblikat fuq iNews, it-Tlieta 31 ta’ Diċembru 2013

Il-Parlament …….. titnawwar ftit ieħor il-funzjoni tiegħu ?

Il-Parlament preżentement qiegħed jiddiskuti mozzjoni biex jittrasferixxi art lil kumpanija bl-isem ta’ Malita Investment plc.

L-iskop hu, skond kif iddikjara l-Ministru Tonio Fenech, illi dan il-kumpanija tamministra l-proġett tal-Parlament u l-proġett tat-teatru bla saqaf.

L-art trasferita ser tkun dik fejn ser isiru l-ewwel proġetti li ser tamministra. Ser tkun trasferita ukoll art tal-Cruise Liner Terminal u tal-Ajruport biex mill-kirjiet ta’ dawn l-artijiet il-kumpanija jkollha l-finanzjament meħtieġ. Dan id-dħul issa ser jonqos mid-dħul normali tal-Gvern kull sena.

Hi l-intenzjoni, qal il-Ministru li l-kumpanija tieħu ħsieb il-proġett (tiffinanzjah) u meta tlesti tikrieh lill-Gvern. [Il-Kumpanija ser tkun 70% tal-Gvern.]

Dan fil-fatt ifisser li fuq il-kotba tal-Gvern l-ispiża tkun il-kirja. L-ispejjes tal-proġett li ser isiru xorta ma jidhrux fuq il-Gvern imma fuq il-Kumpanija.

Il-Ministru emfasizza l-vantaġġi – l-amministrazzjoni aħjar tal-proġetti. Dan għalija jfisser ammissjoni li l-proġetti illum m’humiex amministrati tajjeb.

Ifisser ukoll li d-dejn (jew is-self) biex isiru l-proġetti ser isir xorta imma mhux ser jidher iktar bħala dejn tal-Gvern. Ikun dejn tal-Malita Investment plc.  Miegħu iridu jiżdiedu l-ispejjes tal-kumpanija.

Imma hemm xi ħaġa oħra, importanti ħafna li s’issa għad ma smajtx spjegazzjoni dwarha.

Billi l-ispejjes tal-proġetti issa ser isiru mill-Kumpanija Malita Investment plc u allura ma jkunux iktar parti mill-budget, il-Parlament x’kontroll ser ikollu fuq l-ispiża kapitali?

Fi ftit kliem il-ħolqien ta’ din l-Special Purpose Vehicle tista’ tfisser illi jkun imnawwra funzjoni oħra tal-Parlament.

Nistennew u naraw!

The circus has come to town

  

 

When considering the draft National En­vironment Policy some patience is required. On one hand it is a detailed document covering a substantial number of environmental issues. However, its exposition of the issues to be tackled contrasts starkly with the government’s environmental performance throughout its long term in office.

The draft policy says more about the government than about the environment. It collates together the accumulated environmental responsibilities the government should have been addressing throughout the past years. The draft policy tells us: this is what the government ought to have done. It further tells us that in the next 10 years, the government will try its best to remedy its past failures by doing what it should do.

The government’s words and action are in sharp contrast, as I have been repeatedly pointing out in these columns. In late 2007, Cabinet approved the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, which, although being less detailed than today’s draft National Environment Policy, says practically the same things. It also covers a 10-year period (2007-2016), half of which has elapsed without the set targets having been addressed. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi is the Cabinet member politically responsible for this failure. Having failed repeatedly, I find it difficult to think how he could be trusted to deliver on environmental or sustainability issues.

On the basis of this experience, it is reasonable to dismiss the government’s media circus at Xrobb l-Għaġin where the draft National Environment Policy was launched as just another exercise in rhetoric.

It is definitely not a sudden conversion in favour of environmental issues that moved the government to act. The present exercise is the result of society’s metamorphosis, which came about as a direct consequence of years of environmental activism in Malta. Civil society has pushed a reluctant Nationalist-led government to this point.

No one in his right senses can quarrel with the proposed National Environment Policy in principle. Yet, it is a fact that the environment has always been the Cinderella of government business. All talk and little walk. A clear example is the adjudication process of the Delimara power station extension. When the submitted tenders were adjudicated, it resulted that the submissions that were technically and environmentally superior were considered less favourably than the tender that was perceived as being economically more advantageous. When push comes to shove, environmental issues are not given priority, the adjudication criteria being skewed in favour of perceived economic gain.

All this contrasts with the declarations in favour of green procurement in the draft National Environment Policy. In defending the decision on the use of heavy fuel oil in the power station extension, government spokesmen are in fact stating that while the environment is the government’s political priority it still retains the right to have second thoughts whenever it takes an important decision.

When the government plays around with its declared environmental convictions with the ease of a juggler, it sows serious doubts on its intentions. Even if the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment is doing his best to convince that, under his watch, the environment carries weight it is clear to all that he has not succeeded in wiping the slate clean. He is still conditioned by the attitudes and the decisions taken by his boss and colleagues in the recent past. Their attitudes have not changed at all. Old habits die hard.

On a positive note, I have to state that the process leading to the draft National Environment Policy submitted for public consultation was one which involved civil society. A number of proposals submitted by civil society, including those in an AD document submitted to Mario de Marco, were taken on board. I also had the opportunity to discuss the draft policy and AD’s views with Dr de Marco on more than one occasion. The discussions were, in my opinion, beneficial.

The problem the government has so far failed to overcome is that it preaches one thing and continually does the opposite. The only times when it carries out positive environment action is when it is forced on this course by EU legislation or by threats of EU infringement proceedings. Within this context, declarations that Malta aims to go beyond the requirement of the EU’s acquis are, to say the least, hilarious. It would have been much better if the basics of the EU environmental acquis are first put in place.

The environmental initiatives taken during the past seven years have been mostly funded by the EU.

They would not have been possible without such funding.

By spelling it out, the draft National Environment Policy defines the government’s past failures. Hopefully, it also lays the groundwork for the required remedial action. The environmental destruction the government has facilitated and encouraged will take a long time to remedy. In some cases, the damage done is beyond repair.

Beyond the entertainment value of the media circus at Xrobb l-Għaġin, these first steps are just the beginning of a long journey. For the sake of Malta’s future generations I hope that the government does not go astray once more.

Dealing with Environmental Crime

published July 9, 2011

 In late 2008, the European Union, through a joint decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, adopted Directive 99/2008 “on the protection of the environment through criminal law”.

Member states had to implement this directive by not later than December 26, 2010. Malta, together with 11 other EU member states, did not comply. As a result, on June 16, the EU Commission issued a warning to all 12 states to comply within two months.

The EU directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law does not create new environment legislation. It aims to consolidate existing laws through harmonising penalties that should be inflicted as well as by ensuring that these penalties are really a deterrent.

Annex A to the directive lists EU legislation (some 70 directives and regulations) subject to this directive’s provisions. This is wide ranging and includes legislation regulating waste, GMOs, air quality, quality of water for human consumption, use of sewage sludge in agriculture, use and transportation of hazardous materials, protection of water from nitrates originating from agriculture, trade in endangered species and many others.

Within EU structures, the Maltese government opposed provisions of the proposed directive. So it is no surprise that this resistance is also reflected in the implementation process. This gives a new significance to the Maltese government’s declarations on the importance the environment has in its political agenda.

During the discussion stage in the EU structures, representatives of the Malta government expressed a view contrary to the harmonisation of sanctions primarily on the basis of the economic disparity across the EU member states.

The impact assessment produced by the EU on the proposed directive had emphasised that, in the EU, there are three areas that organised crime focuses on to the detriment of the environment. These are illicit trade in ozone depleting substances, illicit hazardous waste treatment and disposal and illicit trade in endangered wildlife species. A study entitled Organised Environmental Crime In EU Member States (2003) quoted by the EU impact assessment also states that 73 per cent of researched environmental crime cases involve corporations or corporate-like structures.

Organised environmental crime, which has a turnover of billions of euros in the EU, can have a devastating effect on the economy. There are various examples which we can draw upon. The case of the contaminated mozzarella in the Naples environs in March 2008 is one such example. Organised crime pocketed substantial landfill charges for the handling of toxic and hazardous waste, which was subsequently dumped in areas that were reserved for the grazing of buffalo. The resulting buffalo mozzarella was contaminated with dioxin. The impacts on the mozzarella industry were substantial.

Proof of the operations of the eco-Mafia has also surfaced some time ago when Francesco Fonti, a Mafia turncoat, took the witness stand against the Calabria Mafia. We do recall information given as to the sinking in the Mediterranean of about 42 ships laden with toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste. One of the said ships has been located and identified off the coast of Reggio Calabria.

This network of organised environmental crime is so vast that, at a time, it also dumped toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. The warlords in the Somalia civil war were financed by the eco-Mafia. They supplied them with arms in return for their consent to the dumping of the toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste. Italian journalists (RaiTre) who had tracked down the shipments were shot and murdered in Mogadishu.

The dumping of toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in the Mediterranean Sea can have very serious impacts on Malta. It contaminates what’s left of fish stocks but also, depending on the location used for dumping, it can impact Malta’s potable water, 60 per cent of which originates from seawater processed by reverse osmosis plants.

Given these serious impacts I would have expected that the Maltese government would be at the forefront in implementing the directive on environmental crime in order to ensure that issues of cross-border organised environmental crime are adequately tackled. It is indeed very unfortunate that the tools which the EU provides so that Malta can protect its real interests are continuously ignored. One cannot help but ask why.

Law firm Hugo Lepage & Partners, in a comparative study commissioned by the EU Commission and entitled Study On Environmental Crime In The 27 Member States (2007), repeatedly identifies penalties for environmental crime in Malta as being at the lower end of the scale in the EU. The message that gets through is that environmental crime is treated lightly in Malta. Malta is not alone in this respect: it enjoys the company of a small number of other countries.

Environmental crime should be punished through penalties that are effective and proportionate to the environmental damage carried out or envisaged. It is in Malta’s interest that this is done expeditiously.