Jiskantawni dawk in-nies li f’daqqa skoprew kemm hemm xi tgħid dwar il-ħażin u t-tajjeb tas-servizzi finanzjarji, tal-ewwel l-aktar. Matul is-snin, kont nistagħġeb kif ħadd ma kien jara l-ebda problema bl-espansjoni kbira li dawn is-servizzi għaddew minnha. Jien fil-bidu kont xettiku biex ma ngħidx kważi ostili lejhom. Biss, la kulħadd qieshom bħala xi ħaġa tajba, u spiċċaw jipprovdu daqstant impjiegi, trid tara kif tħarishom.
Bl-istess mod, is-settur tal-imħatri bl-internet: fi ftit snin, spiċċajna l-Atlantic City tal-imħatri bl-internet fl-Ewropa. Pereżempju, sibtha stramba kif il-Knisja qatt ma qalet xejn dwarhom. L-ekonomija tal-imħatri, jsiru kif isiru, ma sseddaqx il-ġabra fost il-familji.
Madankollu, fl-aħħar ġimgħat, qamu twissijiet u riżervi. Jekk dan ġara għax Ewropej bdew jikkritikawlna s-servizzi finanzjarji Maltin, il-biċċa ftit tirrifletti tajjeb fuq min kien sieket u stenbaħ issa.
Għadni dubjuż dwar jekk ivvotajtx tajjeb fil-Parlament Ewropew biex jitneħħew il-fosfati mill-kebab li tixtri fir-ristoranti popolari. Din l-ikla hi waħda mill-preferiti tiegħi, jekk mhux l-aktar waħda. Nifhem li m’inix waħdi f’dan.
Inżammu protesti wiesgħa mal-Ewropa kollha kontra l-miżura ta’ projbizzjoni. Għamluhom is-sidien tal-eluf ta’ ħwienet żgħar li jservu l-kebab, imma mhux biss. Qalu li mingħajr il-fosfati mhux se jkunu jistgħu jibqgħu jservu l-ikel.
Il-fosfati jintużaw fil-prodott maħdum fil-fabriki u mwassal iffriżat fil-ħwienet biex iżomm il-laħam niedi. Rapporti mediċi u ambjentali jgħidu li huma ta’ dannu għas-saħħa tal-bniedem. Bħas-soltu, hemm rapporti oħra li juru li mhux hekk.
Fuq kwistjonijiet ta’ saħħa u ambjent, is-soċjalisti u d-demokratiċi fil-PE jieħdu pożizzjoni kemm jista’ jkun “progressiva”. F’dal-każ, din kienet tfisser li naqblu mal-projbizzjoni tal-fosfati. Ivvotajt f’das-sens. Il-projbizzjoni ma għaddietx.
Bejnietna, ma għalejtx.
F’Pariġi fl-aħħar ġimgħat, inżammet konferenza importanti dwar il-ħarsien ambjentali miż-żieda fit-temperatura tad-dinja, li diġà qed taffettwa ħażin il-klima. Il-konferenza ngħatat attenzjoni kbira mill-President Macron, il-gvern Franċiż u l-midja.
Imma fl-istess ħin, l-akbar kjass tqanqal dwar il-mewt tal-kantant Johnnie Halliday, stilla tad-divertiment Franċiż, fl-età ta’ 74 sena.
Dejjem stagħġibt bil-popolarità enormi li gawda fi Franza kważi tul il-karriera kollha tiegħu. Fid-dinja “anglo-sassuna” ftit kienu jafu bih. Dan waqt li fuq l-istil u l-kanzunetti li kien jiddeleletta bihom, l-influwenza Amerikana kienet ċarissima. Anzi għal snin twal, Halliday kien donnu jimportah l-aktar minn jekk hux qed jimita tajjeb lil Elvis Presley. Dawn il-kwalitajiet mhux soltu jsibu suċċess fi Franza.
Il-funeral ta’ Johnnie kien avveniment nazzjonali. Bil-barka tal-gvern tħejjiet purċissjoni impressjonanti ta’ motoċiklisti li nġabru biex jagħtuh qima u jeskortawh sat-tluq tiegħu lejn difna privata.
English Version – Astonishing
I find astonishing those people who have suddenly discovered what there is in financial services to denigrate or praise, but the former mostly. Over the years I was surprised that nobody seemed to find that the huge expansion this sector underwent could be problematic. Initially, I had been sceptical about it, not to say hostile. However, since one and all seemed to consider that financial services were such a good thing and since they ended up providing so many jobs, one needed to take care of them.
The same applies to the internet gaming sector: in a few years, we have become the Atlantic City of internet gaming in Europe. Indeed, I always found it curious that the Church never said anything about this. The economics of betting, no matter how operated, do not help foster cohesion among families.
Meanwhile, in recent weeks, warnings and reserves have finally been expressed. If this is happening because European sources have begun to criticise Maltese financial services, the matter does not really reflect well on those who kept silent and only woke up now.
I still have doubts about whether I voted the right way in the European Parliament when the proposal to remove phosphates from the kebab bought in popular restaurants came up. Kebabs happen to be one of my preferred dishes, if not the top one. I understand that I am not alone in this.
Wideranging protests were held all over Europe against prohibition of phosphates. The owners of the thousands of small shops which sell kebab were at the front line, but not only they. Their claim was that without phosphates they will be unable to provide meals.
To keep the meat moist, phosphates are used when it is being processed in factories, before being distributed frozen to kebab shops. Medical and environmental reports insist that the chemicals are harmful to the health of consumers. As usual, there are other reports to deny this.
On matters of health and environment, the socialist and democrat group in the EP take a position that goes to the limit of progressive. Here, it meant that we were to agree with a phosphate ban. That’s what I voted for. But the ban was not approved.
I cannot claim I was very sorry.
This month an important conference was held in Paris about the need to protect the environment from the global warming that is already affecting the climate negatively. The conference was hugely promoted by President Macron, the French government and the media.
Meanwhile however, the biggest headlines related to the death of the singer Johnnie Halliday, a star of the French entertainment scene, at the age of 74.
I was always puzzled by the enormous popularity which he enjoyed in France right through his career. In the “Anglo-Saxon” world, practically nobody knew about him. Yet, meantime, the style and songs that he chose to interpret carried very evident American influences. For long years, Halliday seemed to be concentrating mainly on how good an imitation of Elvis Presley he could turn out. Such an approach is not one that usually meets with success in France.
Johnnie’s funeral turned into a national event. With the government’s encouragement, an impressive procession of motor bikes was organized to give him tribute and escort his coffin to the point at which it was sent forward to a private burial.