Bl-aħħar kompromess li nstab mill-gvernijiet membri dwar kif se jkompli l-proċess tal-Brexit, jidher li r-Renju Unit se jkun qed jieħu sehem fl-elezzjonijiet li riesqa. Legalment, mid-dehra ma nstabx mod kif jittawwal iż-żmien li fih ir-Renju Unit jibqa’ “membru” mingħajr ma jżomm elezzjonijiet Ewropej. Ma nafx x’sinjifikat se jagħtihom il-poplu Brittaniku, li mingħalih li t-triq tiegħu kienet ’il-barra mill-Ewropa mhux li jivvota f’elezzjonijiet Ewropej!

Hemm affarijiet oħra li jqanqlu mistoqsijiet. Pereżempju, l-gruppi politiċi fil-Parlament Ewropew baqgħu għaddejjin bil-proposta li jinnominaw kandidat ewlieni f’isimhom. Min minnhom iġib l-aktar siġġijiet, jistenna li jitlaħħaq President tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea l-kandidat ewlieni tiegħu. Kemm se titwettaq dil-ħaġa?

Terġa’: effettivament il-Parlament Ewropew ħadem kif ħadem għax għal ħafna miż-żmien tal-mandat, formalment jew informalment, inżammet alleanza jew koalizzjoni bejn il-Popolari u s-Soċjalisti u d-Demokratiċi, minkejja li seħħew battibekki bejniethom. Kemm jista’ jibqa’ vijabbli dan l-arranġament fis-snin li jmiss?

GUG

Kull meta fl-aħħar snin, iltqajt mal-kumitat tal-GUG – l-għaqda li tirrapreżenta lill-istudenti universitarji Għawdxin – dejjem kellna laqgħat produttivi. Matulhom tgħallimt ħafna dwar kif iż-żgħażagħ Għawdxin jgħixu ħajjithom, “maqsumin” bejn Malta u l-gżira tagħhom.

Erġajt kelli laqgħa oħra ftit ilu u mill-ġdid, sibtha tassew siewja. F’ċerti aspetti, il-ħajja tal-istudenti Għawdxin saret aktar diffiċli. Il-kirjiet tal-postijiet fejn joqgħodu saru aktar għolja, f’ċerti każi ħafna aktar. Kemm jekk għandhom karozza, kemm jekk jużaw it-trasport publiku, il-ħinijiet tal-vjaġġi li jkollhom jagħmlu twalu.

Dwar prospetti tagħhom għall-futur, jekk fhimt tajjeb… rawhom sbieħ… sakemm jiġu jgħixu Malta. Saqsejthom dwar il-mina. Wieġbu li anke jekk tkun suċċess, meta titlesta żgur se jkunu spiċċaw l-istudji tagħhom. Kellhom argument.

INIZJATTIVI

Ninsabu fiż-żmien meta mal-pajjiż kollu, f’inizjattivi personali jew ta’ għaqdiet, jinfetħu għall-publiku wirjiet “tal-Ġimgħa l-Kbira”. Sigħat twal ta’ tħejjija u xogħol imorru fuqhom… Nissuspetta li jiġu ħafna aktar minn dawk dedikati għal manifestazzjonijiet tal-Milied.

Dnub li dis-sena se jerġa’ mhux se jkolli ħin (minħabba l-aħħar plenarja tal-Parlament Ewropew li tinżamm fi Strasburgu sal-Ħamis) nara mill-wirjiet dawskemm kont nara fi żminijiet oħra. Tabilħaqq il-varjetà tagħhom infirxet ħafna.

Biss, kullimkien, tiltaqa’ mal-istess entużjażmu u impenn, mhux l-anqas – u dan li dejjem jissorprendini – fost iż-żgħażagħ. Għax tistenna li la dawn il-wirjiet huma tradizzjonali, u għax huma fost it-tifkiriet tal-ħajja li jġorru fihom persuni “maturi”, se jkunu tal-aħħar li jiddelettaw l-aktar f’dil-ħidma.

Mentri mhux hekk. Veru, issib ħafna ta’ ċerta età li jkunu nvoluti f’dawn l-inizjattivi. Madankollu nikkalkola li l-għadd taż-żgħażagħ fosthom hu aqwa.

English Version – The end of the mandate

This week marks the end of the European Parliament’s present mandate.

With the latest compromise that member governments settled upon in order to continue with the Brexit process, it appears that the UK will be participating in the coming elections. Legally, no way could apparently be found by which to extend the stay of the UK as a member without it having to organize European elections. I wonder how significant the British people will consider this vote to be; their expectation was that the chosen way was to leave Europe, not to vote in its elections!

Other issues also raise concerns. For instance, the political groupings in the European Parliament have stuck to the proposal of nominating each a top candidate to contest elections in their name. The grouping which gets most seats, should expect to have its top candidate awarded the office of President of the European Commission. How sure is it that this will happen?

On another tack: effectively, the European Parliament has functioned in the way it has becase for much of the mandate, offically or unofficially, an alliance or a coalition was maintained between the EPP and the group of socialists and democrats. How viable will this arrangement remain in coming years?

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GUG

All the meetings I had in past years with the committee of GUG – the organization that represents Gozo’s university students – were productive. I learnt a lot about how Gozitan youths live during their years at University, with their week straddling Malta and their native island.

Quite recently I had another meeting with them and true to form, I found it most useful. In some ways, life for Gozitan students has become more difficult. The rent for the flats where they live in Malta has become more expensive, in certain cases much more. Both for those with their own car and for those who use public transport, the time needed for travel has increased.

Regarding their future prospects, if I understood correctly, they have high expectations… if that is, they go to live in Malta. I asked about their views on the tunnel. They replied that even if it was a success, by the time it is completed, their studies would surely have come to an end. They had a point.

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Initiatives

We are again at a time when right though our islands, Good Friday displays are opened for public view, as part of initiatives undertaken by individuals and local societies. Long hours of preparation and work go into them… I suspect that more persons are involved in them than in the efforts dedicated to the celebration of Christmas.

It’s a pity that once again this year, I will hardly have the time (since the final European Parliament plenary is being held in Strasbourg up to Thursday) to view as many displays as I used to in the past. Actually with time, they have become more widespread and more varied.

Still, you encounter everywhere the same enthusiasm and commitment, not least – and this never ceases to surprise me – among young people. For one would expect that given how these displays are traditional in scope, and because they are among the life memories of “mature” people, it would be the latter whom you’d find mostly carrying out the required labour.

It doesn’t happen quite like that. Of course, one does find older people taking part in such initiatives. Even so, I estimate that the number of younger people participating is greater.