Għall-baġit ta’ dis-sena, b’differenza sħiħa mis-snin ta’ qabel, il-gvern Malti m’għandux isibha ħaġa diffiċli li jissodisfa l-eżiġenzi tal-Patt għall-Istabbilta u t-Tkabbir li jitħaddmu fiż-żona ewro. Il-Patt irekken il-finanzi tal-gvernijiet biex ma jħallix il-ħruġ tagħhom jogħla aktar minn ċertu livell fuq id-dħul.

Mhux l-ewwel darba li Malta qalgħet ċamati dwar hekk u ngħatat ordnijiet minn Brussell dwar kif għandha tikkoreġi l-qagħda finanzjarja li tkun fiha.

It-tkabbir ekonomiku preżenti warrab għal kollox il-possibiltà li l-istorja tirrepeti ruħha. Dan għandu jikkawża sodisfazzjon kbir.

Biss il-fatt hu li l-metodi li bihom iż-żona ewro tipprova żżomm bilanċ finanzjarju ħalli ma terġax taqa’ fi kriżi, huma pjuttost primittivi. Nista’ nara dan bħalissa, waqt li nservi bħala rapporteur “dell” għas-soċjalisti u d-demokratiċi fil-Parlament Ewropew rigward riżoluzzjoni li qed titħejja fuq ir-rakkomandazzjonijiet tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea dwar il-baġits u l-qagħda ekonomika għal dis-sena tal-pajjiżi membri tal-ewro.

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Malta Business Bureau

Kelli laqgħa siewja ħafna ma’ rappreżentanti tal-Malta Business Bureau, MBB. Tkellimna dwar żviluppi fit-trattament tal-profitti ta’ kumpaniji kbar għal skopijiet ta’ taxxa minn pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

L-MBB hu uffiċċju mwaqqaf bejn il-Kamra tal-Kummerċ u l-MHRA, l-għaqda tal-imprendituri fit-turiżmu. Isegwi l-iżviluppi fl-Unjoni Ewropea li jistgħu jolqtu, tajjeb jew ħażin, in-negozji Maltin. Mill-interventi li saru, fhimt li dan ix-xogħol qed jitwettaq b’għaqal.

Tkellimna l-aktar dwar proposti li qed isiru bħalissa fi ħdan l-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej biex il-pajjiżi tal-UE jaddottaw kemm jista’ jkun l-istess proċeduri għall-kejl tal-profitti fil-kontijiet tagħhom. B’hekk, jitrażżnu l-isforzi tal-kumpaniji l-kbar, l-hekk imsejħa “multinazzjonali”, biex jevitaw li jħallsu t-taxxi dovuti minnhom fuq il-profitti.

Hi mira li bilfors ikollok taqbel magħha. Imma jekk isservi bħala pass lejn id-dħul tal-istess strutturi ta’ taxxi fil-pajjiżi tal-Ewropa, ma tistax titqies bħala ta’ ġid għall-ekonomija Maltija u s-settur privat tagħha.

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Tony Zarb

Iż-żmien li Tony Zarb qatta’ bħala segretarju ġenerali tal-GWU ma kienx wieħed faċli għall-unjins la f’Malta, lanqas fl-Ewropa. Kellhom jaffaċċjaw riċessjoni ekonomika gwappa u theddid frontali lejn l-istess eżistenza tagħhom fis-soċjetajiet Ewropej.

Quddiem dawn l-isfidi, Zarb ħareġ bl-unuri, mhux l-anqas fil-linja kuraġġuża kontra x-xogħol prekarju, li ħeġġeġ. Taħt id-direzzjoni tiegħu, il-GWU baqgħet konsistenti fil-ħidma tagħha biex tħares l-interessi tal-ħaddiema Maltin u Għawdxin.

Mhux dejjem rebħet. Anki meta tilfet, tat is-sinjal li se tibqa’ sal-aħħar tagħmel dak kollu li seta’ jsir biex id-drittijiet tal-ħaddiema jinżammu fis-sod.

Għal li ġej, l-isfidi quddiem it-trejd unjins ma tantx se jinbidlu. Il-globalizzazzjoni misjuqa minn prinċipji neoliberali se tibqa’ timmina l-pedamenti li fuqhom huma mibnija.

English Version – Financial obligations

In total contrast to past years, this year the Malta government should not find it difficult to satisfy in its budget for 2016, obligations arising under the Stability and Growth Pact as contracted within the euro zone. The Pact sets constraints on government finances, to prevent outgo from exceeding income beyond a certain measure.

More than once, Malta was brought to order on this matter and was directed by Brussels to take corrective action.

The current rates of economic growth should totally rule out a rerun of this scenario. Which should give rise to great satisfaction among one and all.

However, the truth is that the eurozone’s methods by which to maintain financial equilibrium and avoid another crisis, are still quite primitive. I am again now having to recognize this state of affairs, in my role as shadow rapporteur for the socialist and democratic group in the European Parliament on a resolution that is being drafted regarding the European Commission’s recommendations to members of the euro zone about their 2015 budgets and their economic situation.

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Malta Business Bureau

I had a very useful meeting with representatives of the Malta Business Bureau (MBB). We discussed developments related to the tax treatment of profits made by big companies among member states of the European Union.

The MBB is a unit set up by the Chamber of Commerce and the MHRA, an association which groups tourism operators. It monitors EU developments that could have a negative or positive impact on Maltese business. As I listened to what was being said, I realised that the MBB is diligently carrying out its assignment.

Our discussion revolved mainly around proposals now being presented in European institutions for EU countries to adopt as much as possible the same procedures by which to measure profits according to company accounts. This would help to counter attempts by big, so-called multinational companies, to avoid having to pay taxes due on their profits.

Regarding this objective, one can hardly dissent. But if such measures are envisaged as a step towards the introduction of the same tax structures in all European countries, then it cannot be seen as going in the right direction from the point of view of the Maltese economy and of our private sector.

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Tony Zarb

Tony Zarb was general secretary of the General Workers Union during a period when the going was hard for trade unions, in Malta and Europe. They had to face a huge economic recession plus a direct threat to their very existence within European societies.

Confronted with such challenges, Zarb performed creditably, not least with his courageous and active stand against precarious employment. Under his leadership, the GWU kept up its consistent efforts to project the interests of workers in Malta and Gozo.

It did not always win. Even when it lost though, it continued to signal that it would never fail to do all that needed to be done to enhance workers’ rights.

The near future will not bring much change in the challenges facing unions. Nourished by neo-liberal principles, globalisation will continue to undermine the foundations that unions were built on.