Personalment niddubita kemm il-waqfa dekretata fit-twaqqigħ tal-bini se ssolvi l-kriżi tal-kostruzzjoni li qed issir ma’ kullimkien b’mod imgħaġġel, kulħadd għal rasu u ta’ spiss abużivament. L-awtoritajiet diġà qaluha: m’għandhomx riżorsi biżżejjed, fil-għadd u fil-kwalità, biex ilaħħqu ma x’jinsab għaddej.
Frankament hi ħaġa ċara li l-professjonisti involuti, daqs il-kuntratturi u l-iżviluppaturi, għamlu u qed jagħmlu minn kollox biex sakemm il-bigħa tibqa’ tajba, fejn is-suq isuq, isuqu. B’ċertu mod, ma tagħtihomx tort (!).
Mill-aħħar kampanja tal-Parlament Ewropew, nibqa’ niftakar żewġ mumenti. Wieħed f’dar fi Triq Viani Tas-Sliema fejn ir-residenti urewni mal-ħitan u t-torġien, konsenturi jinfirxu. Taħthom, wara d-dar, ħofra kbira għadha titħaffer, li se ssir appartamenti u garaġijiet.
Il-mument l-ieħor f’housing estate Ta’ Xbiex: wieħed mill-appartamenti mixtri mill-gvern se jitwaqqa biex minfloku jitla’ blokk ta’ tlieta jew erba’ sulari ta’ appartamenti. Min jinsab maġenb das-sit, ipprotesta u kollox baqa’ f’wiċċu.
Hemm wisq interessi vestiti filli l-bini jibqa’jitwaqqa’ biex jerġa’ jitla’ malajr, aktar fil-għoli.
Ġimagħtejn ilu, ħareġ studju tal-Organizzazzjoni għall-Koperazzjoni u l-Iżvilupp Ekonomiku (OECD) bbażata f’Pariġi dwar kif ġie affettwat il-ħasil interazzjonali ta’ flejjes mill-miżuri li ttieħdu biex jikkontrollawh.
Skont l-istudju, dawn il-flejjes li imorru jinħbew f’xi ġenna fiskali laħqu livell għoli immens sas-sena 2008. Miżuri mifruxa li ttieħdu minn dak iż-żmien lil hawn saħqu biex tikber u tinfirex it-trasparenza. Il-postijiet fejn il-flejjes imorru jinħbew kellhom jiddikjaraw x’resaq lejhom u x’telaq. Twaqqfet xibka dejjem tinfirex ta’ trattati fejn kulħadd obbliga ruħu li jistqarr xinhu jiġri.
Dejjem skont l-istudju, bl-isforz tnaqqset sew il-pjaga, talanqas fil-każ ta’ flejjes li jinżammu f’kontijiet bankarji. Baqa’ ħafna minnhom li “jinħaslu” imma wisq anqas minn qabel.
Inkoraġġanti biżżejjed dar-riżultat biex jikkonvinċi li t-trasparenza hi l-aqwa arma kontra l-ħasil ta’ flus? Għad irridu naraw.
L-SPD, il-partit soċjal demokratiku Ġermaniż jinsab f’inkwiet kbir. Mar ħażin ħafna fl-elezzjonjiet Ewropej. Il-mexxejja tiegħu irreżinjat minħabba f’hekk. Id-diverġenzi interni dwar x’għandu jagħmel żdiedu, mhux naqsu. Se jibqgħu f’koalizzjoni tal-gvern maċ-ċentru lemin? Se jitilqu għal rashom?
M’hemm l-ebda konfort filli ċ-ċentru-lemin jinsab quddiem diffikultajiet kbar tiegħu.
Il-problema hi wkoll waħda Ewropea.
L-SPD kien il-partit li matul deċennji sħaħa baqa’ jħares l-interessi tal-ħaddiema u impjegati Ġermaniżi. Dawn donnhom m’għadhomx jarawh li qed isegwi din il-linja. Naqqsu kemm naqqsu numerikament bil-modernizzazzjoni ekonomika, xorta għad għandhom vuċi qawwija.
Jekk ikomplu jħallu lill-SPD, fejn se jmorru? Mal-Ħodor ma jkampawx. Mal-lemin estrem bħal fis-snin 30 tas-seklu l-ieħor?
Għalhekk ukoll il-problema hi waħda Ewropea.
English Version – Too little, too late
Personally, I doubt whether the freeze that has been decreed on the demolition of existing buildings will solve the crisis in the construction sector. It is an industry which continues to plough forward at full blast, where all are in it for themselves, often in abusive mode. The authorities have already made it clear they do not have enough resources, in quantity and quality, to cope with developments.
Frankly, it is quite clear that the professionals involved, as well as the building contractors and developers, have been doing their best to play the “market” for all it is worth. They continue to do so. In a certain way and as things stand, it is difficult to blame them (!).
I will remember two moments from the last European Parliament election campaign. One happened at a house in Viani Street, Sliema. The residents showed me walls and stairs in their house where fissures were spreading. Beneath their house, a huge pit had been, was still being, dug… to make way for flats and garages.
The other moment happened at a Ta’ Xbiex housing estate: one of the government built houses that had been sold was now going to be demolished. In its place, a three to four storey block of flats was going to be built. Protests made by those who live alongside the site were ignored.
There are too many vested interests pressing for the demolition of existing buildings to be replaced in quick time by higher constructions.
Two weeks ago, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based in Paris, published a study that showed how money laundering on an international scale had been affected by measures that were taken to control it.
According to the study, funds that go hide in some tax haven had reached an immensely high level as at 2008. Measures taken since then had pushed to boost transparency and roll it out. The jurisdictions to which monies travel had to declare what came their way and what had departed. An ever widening net of treaties was set up by which all parties obligated themselves to make known what was going on by way of financial transfers.
Again according to the study, this effort did succeed to reduce the problem, at least in so far as monies are concerned that get parked in bank accounts. Huge amounts are still being laundered, but much less than previously.
Is this outcome sufficiently promising to convince people that transparency remains the best tool by which to eradicate money laundering? That remains to be seen.
The SPD, Germany’s social democratic party, is in big trouble. It has done very badly in the European Parliament elections. Its leader resigned as a result. Instead of diminishing, internal disagreement about what needs to be done has increased.
There is no consolation at all in the fact that the German centre-right is also facing great difficulties.
The problem is a European one.
For long decades, the SPD was the party that safeguarded the interests of German workers and employees. They do not seem to consider now that it is still following this path. No matter how numerically smaller they have become, their voice is still strong.
It they continue to shy away from the SPD, where could they go? They will not stick with the Greens. Could they end up with the extreme right, like in the 1930’s?
Which is why it’s a European problem.