The dressing down that the FIAU, the Maltese agency responsible for investigating abuses in the island’s financial sector, got from the European Banking Authority is serious, without any doubt. It should be regarded with total attention. The deficiencies discovered by the Authority should be eliminated as soon as possible, without any hesitation.
On the other hand, we need to maintain a sense of proportion. One understands that there are those who have, or believe they have, a political interest to exagerrate the matter, so as to highlight the claim that there is a crisis of confidence in the overall management of the Maltese financial scene.
That a regulatory institution can slip up – even over matters that should have been transparent, has been the experience all over Europe. So, there’s nothing extraordinary for this to happen in Malta where during past years enormous economic growth has been registered. One needs only to remember the monumental regulatory fiasco which happened not so long ago in the sector of controls over new cars which were supposedly carrying anti-pollution devices. US agencies discovered the abuses that were going on, not EU ones.
Gozitan workers in Malta
Gozitan workers who daily travel to Malta to work there are right to complain about the difficulties they face in their every day lives, as well as to aspire to find work in Gozo. I learnt more about this during meetings I held in Gozo recently.
For government employees, there is a limit to how many Gozitan workers can be posted to the island to carry out work that relates only to their island. Actually, it appears that there are already more public employees based in Gozo than is needed for this kind of work.
By contrast, there is work that could be done from Gozo dealing with matters that affect both islands; to carry this out, more Gozitan workers could be retained in Gozo. Such a system was initiated by the Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici administration between 1985 and 1987. Later it was also taken up by diverse parastatal agencies. The policy is still being applied today though perhaps it might be given a new impetus, not least because of the technological developments that have happened over the years.
Still I doubt whether even if this approach is followed to the end, the demand by Gozitan workers for a job in their island home can be met fully.
Twixt Malta and Holland
I fail to understand why the Minister of Justice and Culture needed to go and try to “pacify” the Dutch borough which along with Valletta is presenting itself as this year’s European capital of culture. If at their end, therepresentatives of the Dutch project felt they needed to criticise their Maltese counterparts, so be it. They have every right to raise their complaints and to withdraw their participation in joint projects, if they felt the need to take matters to such an extreme.
It seems to me that we should simply ignore a certain arrogance in our direction adopted by some European quarters (incited in certain cases by Malteseagit prop animators).
This does not mean we should stay back from interacting with all those who visit the island, whether under the sway of incitement or otherwise, to discuss and interview. But I do not much like the idea of carrying an olive branch and going to visit those who have taken it upon themselves to give us lessons.
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