Il-“konfront” bejn l-Italja u l-Kummissjoni Ewropea dwar il-baġit Taljan iqajjem għall-forzi politiċi Ewropej, dilemmi li jmorru lil hinn mill-pożizzjoni Taljana.

Fl-aħħar mill-aħħar, il-gvern Taljan – u dan issa indipendenti mill-kulur politiku tiegħu – qiegħed jikkontesta mill-qiegħ il-politika ta’ awsterità li ż-żona tal-ewro segwiet fl-aħħar snin biex toħroġ mill-kriżi finanzjarja li kienet fiha. Oħrajn qabel it-Taljani għamlu hekk. Fuq bażi intellettwali, ekonomisti bħal Krugmann u fuq bażi programmatika, partiti bħas-soċjalisti “moderati” u “estremi”. Kollha waqfu hesrem. L-istess il-gvern Grieg ta’ Tsipras.

Sa issa, l-gvern Taljan donnu qed juri li se jibqa’ lest għaddej sal-aħħar, anke jekk jaf li qed jikser ir-regoli stabbiliti għat-tmexxija tal-ewro.

Biss seta’ jinstab mod ieħor kif tiġi sfidata l-politika ta’ awsterità – jekk tassew kien hemm rieda biex tiġi sfidata? Niddubita kemm biex wieħed jeħles minn din id-dilemma, se jkun biżżejjed jargumenta kif il-miżuri magħżula mill-gvern Taljan biex jimmina l-awsterità huma “populisti” u mhumiex teknikament validi.

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IL-BANK U Ċ-ĊEDOLI TA’ SELF

Argument li qed jitqanqal fil-ħidma li ssir biex tissalvagwardja l-qagħda finanzjarja tal-banek Ewropej igħid: Il-banek m’għandhomx ikollhom wisq miċ-ċedoli ta’ self li joħroġ il-gvern tal-pajjiż fejn jinsabu, jew ta’ gvern ieħor. Inkella meta l-gvern jkun qed jaffaċċja problemi finanzjarji, il-bank jispiċċa mikxuf iżżejjed għall-konsegwenzi li jistgħu jinqalgħu. Allura l-banek għandhom ikunu soġġetti għal limiti ċari dwar kemm jistgħu jixtru ċedoli ta’ self fl-istess pajjiżhom.

Tarah waħdu, dar-raġunament jinħass bħala siewi. Fil-banek kbar tal-pajjiżi kbar bi friegħi mxerrda mal-Ewropa kollha, l-argument hu validu. Ma jibqax jagħmel sens meta jiġi applikat għal pajjiż ċkejken bħal Malta, għall-Bank of Valletta ngħidu aħna.

Iċ-ċokon tagħna jżommna prattikament iżolati miċ-ċaqliq finanzjarju internazzjonali f’dak li jirrigwarda l-ħidma bankarja fl-intern tal-pajjiż. Ix-xiri taċ-ċedoli tas-self tal-gvern lokali baqa’ jsir bla problemi. Qatt ma qajjem xi biża’ ta’ kollass – bil-maqlub. Kien u għadu sostenn importanti fiż-żamma tal-istabbiltà tal-ekonomija Maltija. Jekk taqilbu għall-mudell ta’ tmexxija li qed tiġi suġġerita għall-banek, din l-istabbiltà tisfa mhedda.

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DISKORS DWAR DNUB

Xejn ma jogħġboni d-diskors dwar dnub u mhux dnub. Biss nifhem li hu parti essenzjali minn kif ir-reliġjonijiet li aħna familjari magħhom jifhmu u jfehmu r-realtà ta’ madwarhom. Għandhom kull dritt jagħmlu dan.

Ma tantx nara kif id-dutrini reliġjużi jistgħu jkunu sovversivi għall-valuri sekolari li nħaddnu, sakemm ma jsirux fundamentalisti estremi. Ma jidhirx li dan qed jiġri.

F’kuntrast bejn il-valuri, m’għandu jkun hemm l-ebda problema biex dak li jdoqqilna grottesk jew antikwat jitħalla jgħid tiegħu bil-mod tiegħu kemm irid.

English Version – Dilemma

The “confrontation” between Italy and the European Commission about the Italian budget has placed European political formations before dilemmas that go well beyond that country’s situation.

Essentially, independently of the political line it stands for, the Italian government is contesting radically the policiesof austerity which the eurozone has followed in recent years to resolve the financial crisis it was in. There were others who tried to do so before the Italians came along. Intellectually there were economists like Krugmann, and programatically, “moderate” and “extreme” socialists. They all stopped short of going on to the end. So did the Tsipras government in Greece.

As of now, the Italian government has shown it is prepared to continue right to the very end with its stance, even though it knows this contravenes all the established rules for managing the euro.

However, could another method have been found by which to challenge austerity policies – if there was any real ambition to defy them? I doubt how convincing it would be, in order to evade this dilemma, to claim that the measures chosen by the Italian authorities to undermine austerity are “populist” in character and technically invalid.

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Banks and government bonds

In the ongoing efforts to safeguard the financial situation of European banks, one proposed guideline is set out as follows: Banks should not carry too many bonds issued by the government of the country where they are based, or too many of other governments’. Otherwise, when a government becomes financially strapped, the bank itself would become overexposed to the arising difficulties. So banks should be subject to strict limits covering their exposure to government bond issues in their own country.

All by itself, such an approach seems reasonable. For the big banks of the larger countries, with branches all over Europe, the argument is indeed weighty. It begins to lose traction when applied to banks of the smaller countries like Malta – like Bank of Valletta, shall we say.

Our minute size practically isolates internal banking business from the financial traffic that occurs internationally. Sales and purchases of local government bonds proceed smoothly. They never came close to some kind of collapse. To the contrary. They have remained an important tool by which to keep the Maltese economy stable. If the model is converted to the one being touted for European banks, this very stability would be threatened.

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Sin talk

One can only less than like all the talk that goes on about how sinful we are or can be. But one also must understand that this is an essential element by which the religions with which we are familiar understand and explain the reality that envelopes them. They have every right to adopt this method.

Really one fails to see how religious doctrines can be subversive of the secular values we practise, so long as they do not go to fundamentalist extremes. This hardly looks like being the case.

In the contrast between values, it should be no problem to accept and ensure that what now appears to be grotesque or antiquated remains empowered with full and free expression.