Fl-aħħar rapport tal-Fond Monetarju Internazzjonali dwar Malta, tqajjem punt li ma tantx ingħata attenzjoni. Il-kontribut tal-ħaddiema immigranti, l-aktar mill-Unjoni Ewropea, kien sinjifikattiv fil-mod kif l-ekonomija Maltija sostniet il-kompetittività u r-rankatura ta’ tkabbir li qabdet fl-aħħar żmien. Mingħajr l-immigranti, fuq kejl demografiku biss, il-kotra ta’ ħaddiema Maltin ma kinitx tkun tista’ żżomm dal-pass.

Hi analiżi li jeħtieġ nixtarruha teknikament, mil-lat ekonomiku u soċjali. Donnha pereżempju li qed tinjora l-fatt li l-parteċipazzjoni tal-poplu fid-dinja tax-xogħol, għalkemm żdiedet, għadha baxxa mqabbla mal-medja Ewropea.

Ir-rapport tal-FMI jsemmi kif il-kontribut tal-ħaddiema barranin ġab miegħu snajja’ ġodda. Dwar hekk, isemmi fost oħrajn is-setturi tas-servizzi finanzjarji u tat-turiżmu.

Fil-qasam tal-imħatri bl-internet, wieħed jifhem li dil-ħaġa tgħodd għal barranin li jitkellmu b’ilsna li aħna ma nipprattikawx.

Kemm l-istess effett jaħdem fil-qasam tal-lukandi u r-restoranti hu dubjuż. Forsi hawn, hu aktar l-impatt soċjali li jinħass, mhux l-anqas b’referenza għall-firxa tal-impjiegi prekarji.

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L-Italja versus…

Fl-aħħar ġimgħat kibret tensjoni bejn il-gvern Taljan u l-Kummissjoni Ewropea u istituzzjonijiet Ewropej. Botti, akkużi u kontra akkużi, li fihom ħa sehem ukoll il-Premier Renzi, ma qatgħux.

Dalwaqt, il-Kummissjoni Ewropea trid tagħti ġudizzju dwar kemm il-proposti ekonomiċi tal-gvern Taljan qed jirnexxu. Trid tqis jekk, kif qed jiġu preżentati, humiex se jkunu konformi mar-regoli taż-żona ewro dwar it-tmexxija tal-finanzi tal-gvernijiet.

Ir-regoli huma dawk li huma. Jintqal li l-Italja (flimkien ma’ xi żewġ pajjiżi oħra) tinsab qrib ħafna li tiksirhom b’mod li ma jistax jiġi injorat. Mill-Italja u minn oħrajn, qed tissemma’ l-ħtieġa ta’ flessibiltà fit-tħaddim tar-regoli, “prinċipju” li ġie evokat bil-kbir is-sena li għaddiet fil-każ ta’ Franza. Biss il-battuta tal-Kummissjoni diġà dwiet: sa issa l-Italja diġà kienet l-aktar li bbenefikat mill-flessibiltà.

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Governanza universitarja

Dehru rapporti fil-midja dwar il-ħatra li jmiss tar-rettur ġdid għall-Università ta’ Malta. Kif ma jistax jonqos, il-biċċa ġiet personalizzata u l-istorja kollha daret fuq min se jinħatar.

Il-kurjuża hi li l-aktar mistoqsija essenzjali fi żmien hekk tikkonċerna l-governanza tal-Università. Ftit li xejn nisimgħu dwarha. Fejn waslet l-Università? X’inhuma l-miri tagħha? Kemm qed jirnexxilha tilħaqhom?

L-għażla ta’ rettur trid issir fil-qafas ta’ tweġibiet għal dawn il-mistoqsijiet u oħrajn bħalhom.

Forsi wasal iż-żmien għal rapport estensiv dwar l-Università kollha kemm hi, bi studju tal-kisbiet u l-fallimenti tagħha sal-lum, u tar-riżorsi li qed tuża. Minn hemm, għandu jqum dibattitu nazzjonali dwar kif għandha tiġi pożizzjonata bħala istituzzjoni għal li ġej. U x’inhuma l-miri u r-riżorsi li għandha taspira għalihom.

English Version – Outside Input

The latest Malta report from the International Monetary Fund raised a point that escaped much attention. Input from immigrant workers, mostly coming frm the European Union, was significant in the way by which the Maltese economy sustained competitiveness and the growth path it followed recently. Without immigrants, on a purely demographic basis, the Maltese labour force would not have been able to manage this.

The analysis needs to be evaluated technically, from both an economic and social perspective. For instance, it seems to be overlooking the fact that local participation in the labour force, though it has risen, is still low compared to the European average.

The IMF report states that immigrant workers brought new skills with them as part of their contribution. Among sectors where this happens, it mentions financial services and tourism.

In the e-gaming sector, one understands that this is the case for foreign workers who know languages that are not familiar in Malta.

However, it is doubtful whether the same point holds for the hotels and restaurants sector. Perhaps here, more than anything else, the focus should be on the social impact, not least with reference to the spread of precarious employment.

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Italy versus…

In past weeks, relations between the Italian government, the European Commission and other European institutions have become quite tense. Pointed remarks, accusations and counter accusations, in which PM Renzi also featured, followed in quick succession.

Soon, the European Commission will need to give a verdict regarding the success or otherwise of the economic proposals being implemented by the Italian government. It will need to judge whether as presented, these proposals conform to eurozone rules covering the management of government finances.

The rules are what they are. It is being rumoured that Italy (along with perhaps two other countries) is very close to breaching them to an extent that cannot be brushed aside. Voices from Italy and elsewhere are claiming that there is a need for flexibility in the implementation of eurozone rules, a “principle” that was widely invoked last year for France. However, the Commission’s repartee has already made the rounds: up to now, Italy has been the country to most benefit from flexibility.

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University governance

Media reports featured the upcoming appointment of a new rector for the University of Malta. As was to be expected, personalities became the focus as the story turned on who would be anointed.

Curiously though, the most essential question at such a moment should rather concern University governance. Very little is said about it. What is the current state of affairs at University? What are its present aims? How well is the University managing to reach them?

Presumably the choice of a rector will need to be framed by replies to such and similar questions.

The time has perhaps arrived for an extensive report about the University as a whole, including a study documenting the achievements and failures registered as of now, as well as the resources being devoted to all its operations. On such a basis, a national debate could be launched regarding how the University should be positioned as an institution for the future, comprising aims and the resources it should aspire to secure.