Sa ftit ilu kont nemmen li ċerti bassara qed jesaġeraw fl-inkwiet li bdew juru dwar il-qagħda ekonomika fl-Ewropa u lil hinn minnha. Wara kollox, ir-rankatura fl-ekonomija taż-żona ewro ilha soda għal żmien sew. Minkejja kull ma ngħidu dwar il-President Trump, kemm ilu fil-kariga l-ekonomija Amerikana tħarrket.

Biss issa qamu wisq fehmiet negattivi. Ma tistax twarrabhom. Ġejjin minn istituzzjonijiet ta’ stoffa li mhux dejjem jaqblu bejniethom… Mill-Bank Ċentrali Ewropew għall-Fond Monetarju Internazzjonali għall-Kummissjoni Ewropea għall-ministeru responsabbli mill-ekonomija Ġermaniża… F’din, kellu jitnaqqas bil-kbir it-tbassir dwar kemm se tikber dis-sena waqt li l-Italja daħlet f’riċessjoni.

Meħuda flimkien, il-fatturi li jispjegaw dan l-inkwiet ekonomiku huma impressjonanti: fost oħrajn: il-Brexit; it-tnaqqis tar-ritmu ekonomiku fiċ-Ċina; il-protezzjoniżmu li qed jinxtered, aktar u aktar kemm ilhom li l-Istati Uniti kkonvertew għalih; l-inċertezzi li jinħolqu bil-konfużjoni dwar kif qed nilqgħu għall-bidla fil-klima…

ŻIEDA FIN-NIES

Iż-żieda fil-popolazzjoni tagħna… eżistenti u mistennija… hi bla preċedent. M’inix wieħed minn dawk li dil-ħaġa ma jqisuhiex bħalha problematika.

Biss anke dawk li ma jarawhiex ta’ barraminnhawn ikollhom jaqblu li għandha konsegwenzi fuq il-mod kif se torganizza ruħha l-komunità tagħna. U dan lil hinn mill-fattur li l-aktar jissemma – l-akkomodazzjoni u l-livelli tal-kera.

Hemm pereżempju l-konsegwenza ta’ użu akbar tal-infrastruttura publika bħal bil-ħteġiet aqwa ta’ manteniment u tindif li dan iġib miegħu. F’parti kbira, jintlaqat l-operat tal-kunsilli lokali. Ix-xogħol se jiżdied għalihom u biex ikampaw se jkunu jeħtieġu baġits akbar.

Smajt min isemmi wkoll il-piż akbar fuq l-edukazzjoni publika bil-wasla fl-istess klassi ta’ tfal b’kulturi u ilsna varjati.

Mhux biżżejjed li niflu ż-żieda fin-nies fostna mil-lenti tas-suq tax-xogħol ħalli nifhmu kif dan qed jevolvi. Jeħtiġilna nqisu b’reqqa l-impatt fuq oqsma soċjali wiesgħa ħalli nlestu strutturi finanzjarji u organizzattivi li jgħoddu għal diż-żieda.

PRATTIKA RELIĠJUŻA

Ingħatat pubbliċità dan l-aħħar lil rapport dwar kif (u jekk) il-Maltin u l-Għawdxin żammewx il-prattika reliġjuża ta’ li jmorru l-quddies għal tmiem il-ġimgħa.

Personalment ma stagħġibtx bir-riżultati miksuba. Jirriflettu tendenzi li seħħew f’pajjiżi oħra Kattoliċi fl-Ewropa, għalkemm f’tagħna b’dewmien fuq tagħhom.

Aktar insibha interessanti bidla fl-attitudini personali ta’ kif sirna nistqarru bla kumplessi fhiex nemmnu. Tletin sena ilu jew ftit aktar, ma kinitx ħaġa faċli ssaqsi lil persuna jekk temminx f’Alla. Anke waħda ta’ kalibru intellettwali għoli, setgħet tħossha imbarazzata biex twieġeb u tevita risposta. Illum jistaqsuha bħala parti minn profil qasir f’gazzetta lil persuna ukoll ta’ kalibru, u r-risposta tkun skjetta, ċara u onesta.

English Version – Economic trouble?

Up to not so long ago, I believed that some forecasters were exagerrating the disquiet they started to express at the economic situation in Europe and elsewhere. After all, economic growth in the euro zone had been solid for quite a while. Despite all the claims made against President Trump, since he’s been in charge the US economy has rolled forward.

Yet now too many voices have gone negative. One cannot just ignore them. They come from institutions that carry clout and that do not always see eye to eye.They include the European Central bank, the IMF, the European Commission and the ministry that oversees the German economy… The latter drastically downscaled its economic growth forecast even as Italy entered a recession.

Taken together, the factors that are contributingto this economic malaise are impressive: among which: Brexit; an economic slowdown in China; a spreading protectionism, particularly since the US has converted to this doctrine; the uncertainties created byconfusion over efforts to counter climate change…

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More people

The existing and expected increase in Malta’s population is unprecedented. I am not among those who consider the development as no problem.

However even those who have no worries about the matter would agree that it carries consequences for the manner by which our community is organised.This goes beyond the factor that is most frequently mentioned – accomodation and rental levels…

For instance one consequence is bound to be an increasing usage of the public infrastructure, which then generates a greater need for maintenance and cleaning services. To a large extent, the impact will be felt by local councils. Their workload will increase and to cope, they will need an increase in their budgets.

Public reference has also been made to the greater demands being placed on the educational infrastructure with the arrival in the same classes of children with varied cultural and lingusitic backgrounds.

It is not enough to consider and evaluate the current population growth only in terms of labour market effects. We need to carefully take into account the impact of this population increase on a wide range of social sectors in order to get ready the appropriate financial and organizational responses.

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Religious practice

Recently publicity was given to a survey which looked at whether and how the people of Malta and Gozo have retained the religious practice of attending mass at the weekend.

Personally I was not surprised by the results. They reflect tendencies similar to those that have occurred in other European countries, though with a lag.

What I find more revealing is the change in personal attitudes that now allows us to declare without any complexes what we believe in. Some thirty years ago or more, it was not such an easy matter to ask a person outright whether he/she believed in God. Even a high calibre intellectual then could feel embarrassed by such a question and avoid a reply. Today the question is asked in a brief newspaper profile to an equally high calibre individual and the reply is quickfire, clear and honest.