L-għajta “progressiva” għal li ġej se tkun dik ta’ Ewropa li tipproteġi. Is-soċjalisti demokratiċi bdew jużawha imma jidhirli li fl-istess żmien, jekk mhux qabel, użaha wkoll il-President Macron ta’ Franza li qed ifittex kif il-partit li waqqaf fl-aħħar sentejn, se jallineja ruħu fl-ispektrum politiku Ewropew.

Is-slogan jagħmel sens għalkemm jagħti xhieda tal-irtirata li kellhom jagħmlu l-istrateġisti pro-Ewropej fl-aħħar ħmistax-il sena.

Qabel, ma kienx hemm bżonn li tingħata importanza lill-ħila tal-Ewropa biex tipproteġi liċ-ċittadini tagħha. Tant kienet kisbet prestiġju u rankatura bil-binja tagħha, li l-protezzjoni li tagħti kienet mitqiesa bħala ħaġa minn ewl id-dinja. L-aqwa kien li l-Ewropa qed isservi ta’ mutur biex in-nies ittejjeb ħajjitha bl-aktar mod naturali, tant li aktar u aktar pajjiżi riedu jingħaqdu magħha.

Spiċċa dak iż-żmien. L-awsterità, l-immigrazzjoni, l-iskandli finanzjarji, il-qgħad fost iż-żgħażagħ, il-faqar li reġa’ żdied daħħlu klima ta’ insigurtà li jeħtiġilha titwarrab. Inkella l-populiżmu se jġorr kollox quddiemu.

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TBASSIR DWAR L-ISTORJA

Snin ilu, wara li waqa’ l-ħajt ta’ Berlin u l-Unjoni Sovjetika kkollassat, akkademiku Amerikan ħabbar li l-istorja (“history”) kienet intemmet. Konna resqin – sostna – lejn “kunsens” fit-tmexxija tas-soċjetajiet fejn jiddominaw ir-regoli tas-suq ħieles li dwarhom kulħadd se jaqbel. Qed nissimplifika aktar minn “xi ftit”, imma l-essenzjali hemm qiegħed.

Jidher sew kemm dal-pronostku kien fażull.

Kważi fl-istess żmien, akkademiku Amerikan ieħor ħareġ ibassar kif l-aqwa diżgwid riesaq lejn id-dinja kien “reliġjuż”, bejn l-Islam u r-reliġjonijiet l-oħra. Mill-ġdid, qed nissimplifika, forsi żżejjed. Dal-pronostku wkoll – għalkemm x’aktarx eqreb ir-realtà minn ta’ qablu – ma tantx iwassalna bogħod.

Il-problema essenzjali hi li nfetħu l-bibien tal-globalizzazzjoni, mingħajr ħadd ma kellu idea ċara dwar għaliex/kif/meta l-iżviluppi li ġġenerat, għandhom jiġu sorveljati/iggwidati.

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IL-KONSUMATUR

Jintqalu ħafna affarijiet dwar kif fuq bażi nazzjonali u Ewropea, il-konsumaturi qed isibu dejjem aktar ħitan tal-kenn kontra l-abbużi li bejjiegħa, anke tal-aqwa reputazzjoni, imdorrija jagħmlu biex ma jwettqux dak li jkunu wegħdu. M’inix konvint li dawn il-ħitan qed jagħtu biżżejjed kenn.

Forsi din hi problema li tispikka l-aktar fil-qasam tas-servizzi: il-modi kif jitpoġġew f’investimenti l-flejjes li familji jkunu ġemmgħu; il-garanziji mogħtija fuq apparati bħal mobajls u kompjuters li jinxtraw malajr malajr; il-mod kif jiġu onorati jew le insurances dwar aċċidenti ta’ saħħa meta wieħed qed jivvjaġġa; il-kumpens li wieħed suppost intitolat għalih meta jingħata xi parir professjonali żbaljat.

Tiskanta kemm tiltaqa’ ma’ każi fejn konsumatur li kontra tiegħu twettaq xi tort jibqa’ bla saħħa biex jingħata sodisfazzjon, anke meta jinduna li ġie ngannat.

English Version – A Europe which protects?

Shortly, the “progressive” call will be for a Europe “that protects”. Democratic socialists have already started to use that term, when apparently at the same time if not before, French President Macron has also been talking about it as he tries to position the party he founded two years ago within the European political spectrum.

The slogan makes sense even though it gives evidence of the retreat that pro-European strategists have been obliged to make over the last fifteen years.

Prior to that, there was no need to emphasize Europe’s ability to afford protection to its citizens. European construction had acquired so much momentum and prestige, that it was completely safe to believe it would also act as protector. The main draw was that Europe had become the motor by which people could improve the quality of their lives in the most natural manner, so much so that more and more countries wanted to join it.

That time is now over. Austerity, immigration, financial scandals, youth unemployment, the rise in poverty did introduce a climate of insecurity which has to be pushed back. Otherwise, populism will carry everything before it.

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Historic forecasts

Years ago, post the levelling of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR, an American academic proclaimed that history had come to an end. We were reaching, so he claimed, a “consensus” about the management of our societies that would henceforth be subject to the rules of the free market about which there would be no dissent. This amounts to more than an oversimplification of his arguments, but it does cover his essential point.

That this perspective is/was well off the mark is now quite clear.

Almost at the same time, another American professor prognosticated that the strongest conflict the world would be experiencing was “religious”, between Islam and other competing faiths. Here once again, such a presentation of his ideas carries an arguably extreme element of simplification. Still, this forecast – though possibly closer to reality than the previous one – does not take us very far.

The fundamental problem is that the doors were opened for globalisation to roll, without anybody having had any clear idea about why/how/when the developments being triggered were to be monitored/guided.

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The consumer

Much is said about how at national and European levels, consumers are finding continually upgraded support systems by which to fight back against abuses which even high reputation sellers still commit in order not to deliver on their promises. Yet, one cannot be convinced that the support available is quite enough.

Perhaps the problem stands out most in the field of services: such as when the savings of families come to be invested; regarding guarantees given on apparata like mobiles and computers bought off the shelf in a hurry; the ways by which health insurances covering travel are implemented one way or the other when accidents happen during voyages; the compensation one should be entitled to for damages incurred after being given incorrect professional advice.

It is surprising how many instances there still are of consumers finding themselves powerless to obtain satisfaction after having been wronged… even when they are aware of the fact that yes, they have been cheated.