Mill-ġdid, fl-evalwazzjoni tagħha dwar l-andament tal-ekonomija Maltija, il-Kummissjoni Ewropea tat ġudizzju aktar minn sodisfaċenti. Malta qed tlaħħaq mal-miri ssettjati għall-pajjiżi membri taż-żona ewro mill-Patt għall-Istabbiltà u t-Tkabbir (Ekonomiku). Qed issostni r-rankatura tat-tkabbir tagħha. F’perspettiva medja ta’ żmien, dil-ħaġa tsta’ tkompli.
Kull rapport li toħroġ Il-Kummissjoni jrid ikollu xi kummenti ta’ natura kritika. Fil-każ ta’ Malta, dawn jinħassu bħala tqanżiħa. Saru biex saru.
Fl-istess żmien li l-Kummissjoni ppubblikat il-ġudizzju dwar Malta (f’eżerċizzju li tlesta għall-pajjiżi kollha tal-Unjoni Ewropea), il-Fond Monetarju Internazzjonali ħareġ l-abbozz tal-konklużjonijiet tiegħu dwar it-tmexxija ekonomika Maltija. Ftit hemm differenza bejn li qal il-Fond, u li semmiet il-Kummissjoni.
Rari – jekk mhux qatt – kellna kunsens internazzjonali daqshekk wiesa’ dwar it-titjib fit-tmexxija ekonomika. Naħseb li hu bla preċedent.
Għandna nieħdu gost kbir b’dan. Lanqas għandna nħalluh jagħlqilna għajnejna għal fejn u kif l-affarijiet jistgħu jitjiebu, u dwar x’jistgħu jkunu l-problemi fil-futur.
SOĊJETÀ ĊIVILI
Is-soċjetà ċivili f’pajjiżna sabet li min jippromwoviha bil-kbir. Qatt ma dehret attiva daqs illum.
Qed naraw lil min kien attiv b’mod partiġġjan u tesserat fil-PN, anzi assistent gwapp ta’ ministru Nazzjonalista, jippromwovi ruħu bħala paladin tas-soċjetà ċivili. L-istess lil min qaleb għal mal-PN u llum qed jimmilita fih. Nies li qed jippreżentaw ruħhom bħala s-soċjetà ċivili u attivi fiha, bdew il-ħidma tagħhom matul l-aħħar kampanja elettorali imma jinsistu li jibqgħu anonimi.
B’dir-rata, is-“soċjetà ċivili” se tispiċċa patroċinata minn dawk li jridu jkomplu bil-kampanja elettorali li tilfu bil-kbir sitt xhur ilu.
Sadattant, membri tas-soċjetà ċivili li ilhom jistinkaw ma nafx kemm, bħall-movimenti favur l-ambjent, twarrbu. Qed naraw “soċjetà ċivili” stramba tieħu l-forma.
JOE ATTARD
Kien bniedem ta’ ftit kliem, imma li ried igħid, kien jgħidu b’determinazzjoni. Kien jinsisti li proġetti miftehma, jitwettqu bis-serjetà u bla tnikkir. Kien dejjem juri ruħu lest biex imur fuq quddiem nett, jistinka bil-goff ħalli dak li jkun issensel, jitħaddem bil-kbir.
Kellu leatajiet ċari. Lejn Malta. Lejn pajjiżu ż-Żejtun. Lejn il-Partit (u l-gvern) Laburista. Lejn il-kunċett tat-tmexxija lokali.
Matul is-snin, iltqajt ma’ numru ta’ nies li kienu jafuh qabli. Qaluli kif irnexxilu jispirahom, bħala edukaturi, bħala attivisti kulturali, bħala organizzaturi ta’ ħidmiet governattivi jew volontarji.
Sirna midħla ta’ xulxin daqs ħamsa u tletin sena ilu. Ammirajt il-mod kif kien jagħraf il-qofol ta’ suġġett u jressaq minnufih lejn konklużjoni ċara dwaru.
Minnufih għedt: ma’ Joe tista’ taħdem. Hekk għamilna, ħdimna flimkien b’rispett reċiproku li ma qata’ qatt. L-aħbar ta’ mewtu kienet daqqa.

English Version – The Commission’s judgement

Once again, when evaluating developments in the Maltese econmy, the European Commission has come up with a verdict that is more than satisfactory. Malta is coping well with the targets set for eurozone members by the Stability and Growth Pact. It is maintaining a steady growth rate. Such a performance can be sustained over the medium term.

Any report that the Commission publishes needs to have some obligatory critical comments. In Malta’s case these seem a bit forced, as if made simply because they had to be made.

At about the same time that the Commission was publishing its report about Malta (in an exercise that is carried out for all EU member states), the International Monetary Fund published its draft conclusions about Maltese economic management. There is little blue water between what the Fund stated, and what the Commission registered.

Rarely before – perhaps never – did we get such a wide international consensus in praise of the improvement of our economic performance. Indeed, I guess there is no precedent.

We should welcome this. But we should not let it lead us to ignore where and how things could still be run better, or how problems could arise in the future.

***

Civil society

Luckily, civil society in our counry has finally found those who will be promoting it in a big way. It never seemed to be so active as at present.

For instance, we find someone who was very active in the PN, indeed a card carrying member, and more – the right hand man of a former Nationalist minister, promoting himself today as the knight errant of civil society. Ditto: a recent convert to the PN in which today he also militates. Then there are people who present themselves as protagonists and activists of civil society, having started their agit prop during the last election campaign while insisting to remain anonymous.

At this rate, “civil society” will end up under the patronage of those who wish to continue with the election campaign that they lost hands down some six months ago.

Meanwhile, long standing members of civil society who have been campaigning for I do not know how long, like say in environmental movements, have been sidelined. We are witnessing a very strange “civil society” that is taking shape.

***

Joe Attard

He was a man of few words, but what he did want to say would be delivered with great determination. He would insist that once there was agreement about a project which needed to be done, then it should be carried out fully and without shilly shallying. He was always prepared to lead from the front, and would spare no effort to ensure that what had been planned, would be implemented.

His loyalties were clear – to Malta, his hometown Żejtun, the Labour Party (and government), the concept of local management.

Over the years, I met a number of people who had known him before I did. They would tell me about how he was able to inspire them as educators, as cultural activists, as organizers of activities by government or voluntary organizations.

We got to know each other some thirty five years ago. I admired the way by which he could grasp the significance of core issues and immediately push for a clear resolution about them.

I soon concluded that with Joe one could find much common ground over which to work together. That is what happened; we collaborated closely with a reciprocal respect that never wavered. The news of his death came like a blow.