The recycled summit

leaders-of-the-european

 

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 The original EU proposal of linking funds to a take-back of immigrants who did not qualify for asylum had to be withdrawn as the African side of the Summit refused the bait.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

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From toxic waste to iGaming

housecardsfall

 

It is a well known fact that the underworld on the Italian peninsula controls vast stretches of the Italian economy.

Some readers would remember the underworld’s waste-management activity that ended in the sinking of some 42 ships laden with toxic and/or hazardous waste throughout the Mediterranean. This was well known to environmentalists but confirmed during the Palermo maxi-processo, when Mafia turncoat Francesco Fonti gave evidence identifying the location of one such sunken ship, the Kunsky, loaded with 120 barrels of toxic waste, just off the Calabrian coast.

This network of organised environmental crime is so vast that, at one time, it also dumped toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. The warlords in the Somalia civil war were partly financed by the Italian underworld, which supplied them with arms in return for their consent to the dumping of the toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. Rai Tre’s investigative journalist Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Miran Hrovatin were murdered in Mogadishu after having successfully tracked down the toxic shipments.

In early 2008 it was identified that buffalo mozzarella originating from some 83 dairy farms in an area near Naples was tainted with dioxin. The buffalo were grazing in an area where the Mafia was controlling the dumping of toxic waste  containing dioxin. When ingested through food dioxin can cause birth defects and organ failure in mammals. Large quantities of buffalo mozzarella tainted with dioxin were withdrawn from the market.

Carmine Schiavone, another Mafia turncoat, spilled the beans on more dumping of toxic and hazardous waste by the Mafia in the Naples area, in particular in the area around Casale di Principe. It has been reported that the incidence of cancer in these areas has skyrocketed as a result of the dumping contaminating the water table.

It is estimated that the underworld has garnered some €20 billion a year in the last few years from its illicit dealings in waste. Add to this the billions from its drug dealings, estimated at another €20 billion annually and you can clearly understand the Mafia’s need to launder huge sums of money.

Two specific areas seem to have been selected for this purpose. One such area was an investment in wind-farms in Sicily. Wheeling and dealing in the Sicilian wind farms was a certain Gaetano Buglisi who, for a time, made use of Malta’s fiduciary services by hiding behind their corporate veil. Last February the Italian Courts sentenced him to three years in jail as well as a substantial fine on finding him guilty of tax evasion.

It is within this context that one should try to understand the iGaming saga in Malta.

In the last few days the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has suspended the operating licences of a number of iGaming operators. Until the time of writing, six operators have been suspended, namely : Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq), Betsolution4U Limited, Alibaba Casino Limited, Soft Casino Limited,   Fenplay Limited and Soft Bet Limited . The MGA did not act on its own initiative but at the request of Italian law enforcement agencies.

In a press release, the MGA stated these licences had been suspended “further to investigations and arrests carried out by the Italian law enforcement authorities in collaboration with the Maltese police. The MGA is providing full support to the relevant authorities so that Malta’s reputation as a gaming jurisdiction of excellence is kept free from crime and money laundering. The MGA is also alerting counterpart regulators in other EU jurisdictions about this case.”

In a further press release issued on 25 July it was stated  “At the time of application (according to the MGA’s records), in line with standard procedures, all directors, shareholders, senior managers and ultimate beneficiary owners of these companies have been screened through MGA’s systems and protocols, using probity tools and national and international contacts and organisations. This forms part of the probity checks conducted at pre-licensing stage and before the actual business model of the gaming operation in question is screened and other control systems are checked and approved. The licensing process also includes independent audits, such as system and compliance audits which are carried out by approved external auditors.”

It seems that the due diligence carried out in Malta is no match for the underworld. It is possibly a case of amateurs trying to keep professionals in check.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna stated that a review of due diligence procedures will be undertaken and changes will be put in place if  required. As a start, he should consider embedding complete transparency in iGaming. Hiding the identity of iGaming operators should be discontinued by emending legislation and discontinuing fiduciary services. This corporate veil is unfortunately being used as a tool by the underworld. As a nation we could do better if we make an effort to keep organised crime as far away from Malta’s economic activities as possible. It is pertinent to ask: how many iGaming jobs in Malta depend on Mafia linked operators.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 2 August 2015

On this blog on the same subject one can view the following :

2009 The eco-threat of the Italian Mafia.

2013 On Malta’s Northern doorstep: the Mafia contaminates Southern Italy with millions of tonnes of toxic and nuclear waste.

2013 Ecocide in the Mediterranean. The known consequences so far.

2013 Schiavone’s secrets on eco-mafia operations: when will Malta’s government speak up.

The Freeport’s neighbours at Birżebbuġa

freeport.aerial viw

 

 

Two incidents occurred at the Freeport Terminal last week. The first led to the spill of an oily-like chemical when a container was accidentally hit and part of its contents spilled out into the sea. The second concerned odours resulting from the handling of fuels at the Oil Tanking Terminal.  The second accident led to the precautionary hospitalisation of six employees. The first incident, on the other hand, led to the suspension of bathing activities at Pretty Bay, Birżebbuġa for a number of days.

The accident leading to the spill occurred on Monday, 8 June at around noon. Yet on Friday, 12 June, personnel from the Civil Protection Department were still dealing with the spill as by this time water currents had moved it from the Freeport Terminal to Pretty Bay. It was only late on Tuesday, 16 June that the Environmental Health Department certified that Pretty Bay was once more fit for swimming.

 

Unfortunately, such accidents are bound to happen. That they do not happen more often is only due to adequate training and the availability of the adequately maintained equipment available on  site.

The Freeport Terminal extension – approved five years ago by MEPA and currently in hand – is intended to tap into the container movement market in the Mediterranean even further. In the coming years, this will lead to a increased activity and, consequently, the likelihood of similar but more frequent accidents happening in the future is possible.

The Freeport Terminal activity is only one of a number which, over the years, have transformed Marsaxlokk Bay into an industrial port. Delimara Power station and fish- farming  as well as the ever-present fuel reception points at the San Luċjan and Enemalta stations are other examples of industrial activity along the Marsaxlokk Bay coastline. We should also remember that, at some time in the near future, bathers at Pretty Bay will also have an enhanced landscape: they will be able to enjoy in full view a gas storage tanker permanently anchored just opposite the sandy beach, along the Delimara part of the Marsaxlokk Bay coastline. The spectacle will include its refuelling between eight and 12 times a year, with possibly three of such refuelling instances occurring during the summer bathing season.

The compatibility of this situation with the EU Seveso Directives is debatable.

All this industrial activity may be healthy when considering the general economic requirements of the country on its own. It is, however, generally incompatible with the needs of Birżebbuġa both as a residential community as well as a touristic venue.

Efforts to mitigate the impacts of this industrial activity on the residential community  of Birżebbuġa (and to an extent even on the locality of Marsaxlokk) are in place. Yet with so much going on, the effects of these mitigation measures are necessarily limited. In fact, one wonders why the decision to locate all this industrial activity in the area was not also accompanied by a decision to restrict the development of land for residential use so close to these industrial facilities. In one particular case, at il-Qajjenza in the 1980s,  residential development was accelerated in the vicinity of the then Enemalta Gas Depot. Fortunately the Gas Depot has now been closed down and decommissioned, however it has been moved to the other side of Birżebbuġa, close to the entrance of Marsaxlokk Bay at Bengħajsa.

 

The Freeport Terminal management, supported by MEPA, had also decided to extend the permissible facilities at the Freeport Terminal to include minor repair work to ships and oil rigs. The decision was only reversed when it was faced with the vociferous opposition of the Birżebbuġa residential community led by its local council.

Recently, Transport Malta has added to the summer pleasures at Birżebbuġa. It has planned a mooring area for pleasure craft and small boats adjacent to the swimming zone, right in the middle of Pretty Bay. It seems that Transport Malta does not give a fig about the impact of anti-fouling agents used on a large number of craft berthed very close to a swimming zone.

 

With all this activity going on around Pretty Bay, it is inevitable that that there will be an increase in unacceptable environmental impacts on land, air and sea. Some accidents will also be inevitable.

As a result, however, it is very possible that in future there will be further restrictions on the use of Pretty Bay as a bathing venue. One hopes that this will not be often. It is, however, unavoidable and is the direct result of the ongoing activity which is definitely incompatible with the needs and requirements of the Birżebbuġa residents.

One interesting development at the time of writing is that Hon. Marlene Farrugia, as Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on the Environment and Development Planning, has placed last week’s incidents at the Freeport Terminal on the Parliamentary Committee’s agenda. For the time being, a request for information has been sent out. The resulting discussion will hopefully direct the spotlight on the manner in which successive governments have transformed Marsaxlokk Bay into an industrial port, in the process at times ignoring – and at other times not giving sufficient attention to the plight of the residents in the area.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 21 June 2015

Addressing the environmental deficit

Environment

 

The environmental deficit is constantly on the increase. Each generation creates additional  environmental impacts without in any way adequately addressing the accumulated impacts handed down by the previous generation.

Governments are worried by economic deficits yet few seem to be worried by the accumulated -and accumulating – environmental deficit. We are using the earth’s resources as if tomorrow will never come.

The Living Planet report published regularly by the World Wildlife Fund, demonstrates how the demands made by humanity globally exceed the planet’s biocapacity. In fact,  each year we consume 50% more than what  is produced by the planet.

The ecological footprint, that is the impact which each country has on the earth’s resources, varies geographically. On a global level, the average ecological footprint of a human being is 1.7 hectares. Malta’s ecological footprint has been calculated at around 3.9 hectares per person, more than double the global average. This adds up to an impact of around 50 times the area of the Maltese Islands.

Put simply, this means that in order to satisfy the needs of  each and every person in Malta  we are, in fact, utilising land in other countries.  In fact we import most of our requirements from other countries, thereby using their natural resources. We use  their air, their land, their water and their natural resources.

The politics of sustainable development seeks to view  and address these impacts holistically. It also considers today’s impacts  in the light of tomorrow’s needs and seeks to ingrain a sense of responsibility in decision-making. It does this by addressing the root causes of the environmental deficit.

Sustainable development policy understands that Maltese roads are bursting at the seams. We have reached a situation where improving the road network will improve neither connectivity nor the quality of the air we breath.  Malta’s small size should have made it easy ages ago to have excellent connectivity through public transport, with better air quality as a bonus. But it was ignored.

A sustainable water policy in Malta would have dictated better utilisation of rainwater. Instead, we spend millions of euros- including a chunk of EU funds- to ensure that instead of collecting rainwater we channel it straight into the Mediterranean Sea, only to harvest seawater  immediately through our reverse osmosis  plants. To make matters worse, we treat wastewater before dumping it into the sea when, with some extra thought (and expense) it would have been put to much better use.

Sustainable development embedded in our land use policy would lead to a substantial reduction in the land available for development and certainly to a strict ODZ protection protocol. Instead, we are faced with a situation resulting in a high number of vacant properties coupled with a nonchalant attitude to developing more agricultural land, as if we had a lot to spare!

The environmental deficit which has been accumulating over the years places us in a very precarious position as we cannot keep living on ecological credit for long.   Excessive ecological credit will inevitably lead to ecological bankruptcy from which neither the EU nor the International Monetary Fund will be able to bail us out.  The only solution is taking our environmental responsibilities seriously, before it is too late.

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Summit of Shame

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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

Fin-nofs, nisfidaw il-mewt

migration routes

L-immigranti miġburin mat-tul tal-kosta tal-Libja jafu li ser jisfidaw il-mewt. Imma f’pajjiżhom m’għandhomx futur. Bejn is-sogru kbir għal ħajjithom, x’ħin ikunu bejn sema u ilma, u l-ħajja ta’ miżerja f’pajjiżhom lesti jissugraw. Il-miżerja f’pajjiżhom hi tant kbira li ma jaħsbuwiex darbtejn biex jiffaċċjaw l-isfruttament tan-negozjanti tal-mewt u l-qilla tal-baħar.

Qed jingħad li ħallsu $2,000-il ras għal-passaġġ bejn il-Libja u Sqallija fuq biċċa qoxra li għerqet. Għalihom aħjar il-mewt mill-ħajja li qed jiffaċċjaw.

X’għandu jsir? Żgur li ma baqax iktar ħin għall-paroli. L-imblokk tal-portijiet minnfejn jitilqu l-immigranti m’hu ser isolvi xejn. Dan diġà sar u bħala konsegwenza kien hemm iktar li issugraw ħajjithom.

Il-ġlieda kontra n-negozjanti tal-mewt li qed tipproponi l-Unjoni Ewropeja hi pass tajjeb. Imma l-iktar li hu meħtieġ hu li l-Libja jkollha Gvern demokratiku li jkun jista’ jgħaqqad lill-pajjiż u jmexxih b’awtorità. Gvern li jkun jista’ jikkontrolla l-kosta u l-fruntieri u jirrispetta lil niesu. Ankè dan il-pass, meta jseħħ, ikun pass kbir il-quddiem, imma mhux biżżejjed.

L-immigranti jieqfu ġejjin meta jkun jagħmel sens għalihom li jibqgħu f’pajjiżhom. Meta l-għajnuna internazzjonali li diġà qed tingħata lil pajjiżhom, tibda tħalli l-frott. Meta pajjiżhom ma jibqax iktar għarkuptejh.

Ħafna mill-immigranti ġejjin minn żoni ta’ gwerra ċivili. Inkella minn pajjiżi fejn in-nuqqas ta’ xita wasslet l-agrikultura f’kollass totali. Il-bidla fil-klima fil-fatt hi ukoll waħda mill-fatturi li qed timbotta lill-immigranti biex jitilqu minn pajjiżhom.

F’wieħed minn dawn il-pajjiżi, is-Somalja, l-amministrazzjoni pubblika tal-pajjiż iddiżintegrat u mhux faċli li tinbena mill-ġdid. Il-komunita internazzjonali – inkluża l-Unjoni Ewropeja – diga ħadmet ħafna f’dan is-sens, imma r-riżultati jiġu bil-mod.  Imma fl-aħħar din hi l-unika soluzzjoni.  Meta jkun possibli li l-immigranti irabbu l-fiduċja f’pajjiżhom mill-ġdid, imbagħad tinstab soluzzjoni dejjiema għall-mewġa tal-immigranti fil-Mediterran li kontinwament jisfidaw il-mewt.

Sadanittant kull min hu irrabjat għall-immigranti għandu jdur fuq dawk il-pajjiżi li jinnegozjaw l-armi u armaw liż-żewġ naħat fil-gwerer ċivili.  Inkella jista’ jdur fuq dawk il-pajjiżi li mhux jagħmlu biżżejjed biex jindirizzaw il-bidla fil-klima. L-immigranti huma l-vittmi f’dan kollu u għandhom ħtieġa kbira ta’ solidarjeta rejali.

Pajjiżna huwa prattikament l-ewwel fruntiera għal dawn in-nies. M’hiex għażla tagħna, l-anqas m’hi għażla tagħhom, iżda hi għażla tal-ġografija li poġġiet lil pajjiżna fuq ir-rotta tal-immigrazzjoni.

Ħlief għal xi mumenti qosra taħt kull wieħed minn l-aħħar żewġ Gvernijiet, meta kien hemm xi boloħ jitkellmu jew irewħu favur il-push-backs, pajjiżna dejjem kien fuq quddiem b’solidarjetà rejali.  Hekk għandu jibqa’ avolja l-piż hu kbir u ma nifilħux għalih waħedna. Għax li nagħmlu dak li hu sewwa m’għandu qatt jiddependi minn kemm ħaddieħor jagħmel jew ma jagħmilx dmiru. Ir-rispett lejn id-dinjità tal-bniedem huwa dak li għandu jmexxina l-quddiem. Hu tajjeb li dan issa jidher li hu aċċettat u li ġie imwarrab il-ħsieb li Malta tista’ xi darba tikser apposta l-obbligi internazzjonali tagħha.

Qegħdin hawn f’nofs il-Mediterran biex nisfidaw lill-mewt w inkunu għassiesa favur il-ħajja. Sadanittant kull għajnuna li nirċievu, merħba biha.

Indifferenza li toqtol

Mediterranean tragedy

Il-mewt mgħarrqa ta’ mill-inqas 700 immigrant fil-baħar bejn il-Libja u Lampedusa hu frott tal-kultura tal-indifferenza li tirrendja madwarna. Huma 700 persuna li qed jaħarbu mill-konflitti u mill-miżerja, sfruttati min-nies bla skrupli u injorati mill-bqija.

Huma 700 persuna li ħtieġu l-għajnuna u din ma ġietx mogħtija lilhom. Minn flok  ma ngħataw l-għajnuna tħallew jaqdfu għal rashom.

Hi problema kontinwa li l-pajjiżi Ewropej fuq il-fruntiera Mediterranja tal-Unjoni Ewropeja tħallew jiffaċċjaw waħedhom. Għax l-istrutturi Ewropeja li kienu kapaċi jħeġġu s-solidarjetà mal-banek f’diffikultà għalqu għajnejhom u sabu diffikultà biex jgħinu l-bniedem li qed jaħrab mill-miżerja u t-terrur.

Allura qed isejħu iktar laqgħat biex juru li taparsi qed jagħmlu xi ħaġa. Dawn huma l-istess nies li ftit ilu kien jrewħu l-mibgħeda u jitkellmu fuq il-pushbacks. Kienu jħeġġu li d-dgħajjes bil-bnedmin maħruba kellhom jitreġġgħu lura minn fejn ġew. Kienu jgħidulna ukoll li dawk li xorta jaslu għandhom ilestulhom l-ajruplani w jibgħatuhom lura minn fejn ġew.

Bħat-traġedji ta’ qabilha, din l-aħħar traġedja hi ukoll ikkawżata mill-indifferenza tal-istituzzjonijiet.

Sadanittant, iktar paroli. Iċ-ċimiterju madwarna jkompli jikber: ħtija tal-indifferenza.

Mhux Mare Nostrum

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Iż-żjara fostna tal-Kummissarju Ewropew Cecilia Malmström għandha l-intenzjoni li tiffoka fuq l-immigrazzjoni fil-Mediterran u fuq il-ħtieġa ta’ solidarjeta’ effettiva fl-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Għal min isegwi x’inhu jiġri hu ċar li Malmström taqbel fuq il-ħtieġa li l-Unjoni Ewropeja tibda terfa’ r-responsabbilta’ għall-immigrazzjoni. L-Unjoni Ewropeja trid terfa’ din ir-responsabbilta’, iżda huma l-pajjiżi membri li għadhom ma jaqblux li dan għandu jsir.

Fi ftit kliem il-problema tal-immigrazzjoni qabel ma tissolva fi Brussels trid tissolva fl-ibliet kapitali tal-pajjiżi li jifformaw l-Unjoni Ewropeja. Biex dan isir il-Gvern Malti jrid jikkonvinċi lill-Gvernijiet individwali. Mhux biżżejjed li jappoġġawna l-Italja, l-Ġreċja u Ċipru. Hemm bżonn ukoll li jappoġġawna l-pajjiżi l-kbar.

S’issa l-Ġermanja, per eżempju ma qablitx li l-immigrazzjoni tibda tkun kompetenza tal-Unjoni Ewropeja. L-anqas r-Renju Unit ma jaqbel ma dan. Għax dawn pajjiżi li jridu illi dwar l-immigrazzjoni jiddeċiedu huma, mhux l-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Biex nitkellmu ċar jekk irridu road-map, jekk irridu solidarjeta’ obbligatorja, jekk irridu strateġija fit-tul, jekk irridu li pajjiżi fl-Unjoni Ewropeja jkollhom l-obbligu li jieħdu f’pajjiżhom immigranti li jiġu fuq xtutna irridu nifhmu sewwa x’qegħdin ngħidu.  Li qed jgħid il-Gvern Malti – u jiena naqbel ma dan – hu li l-immigrazzjoni ma tibqax iżjed materja li niddeċiedu dwarha aħna fil-Belt Valletta, jew li jiddeċiedu t-Taljani f’Ruma, inkella l-Ġermaniżi f’Berlin. Li qed ngħidu hu li tkun materja li tiddeċiedi dwarha Brussels li jkollha l-jedd li ġġiegħel lill-pajjiżi kollha (bla eċċezzjoni) biex jagħtu daqqa t’id. Ifisser li jkollna politika Ewropeja komuni dwar l-immigrazzjoni.

Din il-proposta tal-Gvern Malti tal-lum kif ukoll tal-Gvern tal-bieraħ hi tajba għax tfisser li l-ġewwa mill-fruntieri tal-Unjoni Ewropeja għandna nerfgħu l-piż ilkoll flimkien, it-28 pajjiż li niffurmaw l-Unjoni Ewropeja. Kull pajjiż għandu jkun mgħejjun, iżda ukoll kull pajjiż ikollu l-obbligu li jgħin ukoll meta dan ikun meħtieġ.

Id-deċiżjonjijiet dwar l-immigrazzjoni fil-fatt għandhom jittieħdu Brusssels. Għax ir-realta’ hi li dan m’huwiex iżjed Mare Nostrum. Fil-fatt hu tagħna lkoll

Malta: Repubblika tal-Banana fil-Mediterran

The Banana Republic of Malta

Bil-mod il-mod qiegħed jidher ċar it-twemmin politiku tal-Partit Laburista ta’ Joseph.

Alfred Sant għaddielu partit li ried jittrasforma lil Malta bħala Svizzera fil-Mediterran. Joseph jidher li hu iffukat biex jittrasforma lil din ir-Repubblika bħala r-Repubblika tal-Banana fil-Mediterran. Anzi, fl-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Ir-Repubblika tal-Banana oriġinali għandha l-oriġini tagħha fl-Amerika Ċentrali u hi deskritta fil-kitba tal-awtur Amerikan O.Henry biex jiddiskrivi r-Repubblika fittizija ta’ Anchuria fil-ktieb tiegħu Cabbages and Kings, ġabra ta’ novelli ispirati mill-perjodu li hu għex fil-Honduras, maħrub mill-ġustizzja Amerikana in konnessjoni ma’ frodi ta’ bank.

Fil-politika d-deskrizzjoni Repubblika tal-Banana tfisser li fit-tmexxija tal-pajjiż l-interessi privati ta’ dawk li jmexxu u ta’ madwarhom jiġu qabel il-ġid komuni. Terminu li intuża spiss dwar diversi pajjiżi fl-Amerika Latina u Ċentrali.

Fir-Repubblika tal-Banana l-Prim Ministru jikri lilu innifsu bħala Prim Ministru l-karozza privata tiegħu stess. Kif qed jagħmel Joseph Muscat.

Fir-Repubblika tal-Banana fl-ewwel jum tas-setgħa jixkupa lil kulħadd mit-tmexxija tad-Dipartimenti tal-Gvern. Qiesu sar kolp ta’ stat. Kif għamel Joseph Muscat. Inkluż fl-Armata ta’ Malta.

Issa għandna l-aħħar waħda.

Fir-Repubblika tal-Banana meta tinqabad tmexxi Lukanda illegali bħal-Lukanda Damiani f’Buġibba qiesu ma ġara xejn. Jekk inti Direttur tal-Awtorita’ tat-Trasport  tista’ tibqa’ hemm bħala Direttur għax l-etika fit-tmexxija tal-korpi pubbliċi hi biss materja ta’ interess akkademiku.

Repubblika tal-Banana  …………….. fil-Mediterran. L-aħjar fl-Ewropa!

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.