Naturali li f’kampanja elettorali, l-mistoqsija kbira f’moħħ kulħadd tkun dwar min se jirbaħ. Fil-kampanja tal-lum, il-konvinzjoni tiegħi hi li l-gvern Laburista għandu jingħata mandat ieħor biex imexxi.
Biss mistoqsija importanti hi: x’se jiġri wara tmiem il-kampanja elettorali meta jiġi fformat gvern ġdid?
Se jkun baqa’ l-aħħar tliet ġimgħat tal-Presidenza Maltija tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Malajr jgħaddu. Wara tibqa’ l-isfida ta’ kif ir-rankatura ekonomika se tiġi sostnuta. Kemm ili nsegwi l-iżviluppi ekonomiċi f’pajjiżna… u issa lanqas nitħajjar ngħodd is-snin li għaddew fuq hekk… rari kellna r-rankatura ta’ issa.
Dejjem qiest li biex Malta jirnexxielha tagħmel bidliet mill-qiegħ fit-tmexxija ekonomika u soċjali tagħha, jeħtiġilha tlaħħaq tkabbir reali sostnut ta’ bejn 3 u 5 fil-mija fis-sena. Fl-aħħar snin, hekk ġara. Fis-snin li ġejjin, dar-ritmu jrid jitkompla.
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FONDI EWROPEJ
Iż-żewġ partiti qed jipproponu programmi qawwija ta’ investiment fl-infrastruttura, l-aktar fit-trasport. Qed jagħmlu tajjeb, għalkemm forsi wieħed kien jistenna emfażi akbar fuq l-edukazzjoni, fejn għadna lura, mqabbla ma’ pajjiżi Ewropej oħra.
Madankollu l-probabbiltà hi li se jkun hemm anqas u anqas fondi Ewropej disponibbli għal Malta biex twettaq il-proġetti mħassla.
It-titjib ekonomiku tal-aħħar snin tellagħna ’l fuq mal-kejl tal-pajjiżi li huma tat-tajjeb. Allura se tonqsilna biċċa mill-kejk ta’ fondi “bl-irħis” li joħorġu mill-Unjoni Ewropea.
Raġuni oħra x’aktarx tkun li bit-tluq tar-Renju Unit mill-Unjoni Ewropea se jonqos l-ammont ġenerali ta’ flejjes li minnhom tiddisponi l-Unjoni. Il-Brittaniċi huma (jew kienu) it-tieni l-akbar kontributur ta’ fondi fil-baġit Ewropew.
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MAĠISTRAT FUQ KORRUZZJONI
L-ironiji tal-ħajja politika kważi ma jieqfu qatt. Il-PN qed jipproponi li għall-kontroll aħjar tal-korruzzjoni, jinħatar maġistrat inkwirenti speċjali li jingħata poteri akbar ta’ investigazzjoni, u jekk fhimt tajjeb, riżorsi tiegħu biex jinvestiga.
Issa dan hu l-istess proġett li bejn l-1996 u l-1998, mill-amministrazzjoni Laburista ta’ dak iż-żmien imbottajna ’l quddiem. Kellna abbozz ta’ liġi qed jitħejja. Personalment, minn dejjem qiest li m’hemmx mod aħjar kif il-ġlieda kontra l-korruzzjoni u l-abbużi ta’ poter statali tista’ titmexxa b’xi suċċess.
Dak iż-żmien, il-PN kien għal kollox kontra. B’mod konfidenzjali, sirt naf li kien bagħat il-“messaġġiera” tiegħu biex jiżguraw li titqanqal reżistenza wiesgħa għall-proposta.
Balleċ, il-ġudikatura indikat li mhix qed taqbel u qed tħossha mdejqa bl-idea. Ir-rappreżentanti tal-avukati l-istess. Riedu li l-biċċa tindifen.
L-iskuża kienet li l-proposta mhix konsonanti mal-istrutturi li jirregolaw il-ġustizzja u l-ġudikatura f’pajjiżna – u mal-mod kif jaħdmu difiża u prosekuzzjoni. Issa, l-Oppożizzjoni Nazzjonalista qed terġa’ tipproponiha. X’inbidel mill-1997 lil hawn?

English Version – And the winner is …

Naturally, the question that dominates the thinking of one and all during an election campaign is: who’s going to be the winner? In today’s race, my conviction is that the Labour government should be given another mandate to run the country.

However another important question remains: What is going to happen at the end of the campaign as a new government is being constituted?

There will still be three weeks to go before the end of the Maltese presidency of the European Union. They’ll be over in an instant. After that, the challenge will remain of how to sustain the current economic upsurge.

Since I started to follow economic developments in Malta… and really, I wouldn’t like to count all the years I’ve been doing this… very rarely did we attain the current momentum.

I always believed that if Malta were to make radical reforms in its economic and social management, it needed to reach and sustain real growth in the range of 3 to 5 per cent per annum. That has happened in the recent past. In coming years, we need to maintain this growth rate.

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European funds

The two parties are proposing substantial investment programmes in infrastructure, chiefly transport. That is as it should be, though one would perhaps have expected a greater emphasis on education, where we still lag, compared to other European countries.

However it is probable that there will be less European funds available for Malta to implement the projects being envisaged.

The economic improvement of the last few years has upped our status among countries which are doing well. So, wewill lose a proportion of the funds allocated out of the “cake” of “cheap” EU monies.

One other reason is that with the departure of the UK from the EU, the general flow of financial contributions at the disposal of the Union will diminish. The British are (or were) the second most important contributors to the European budget.

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A magistrate on corruption issues

The ironies of political life almost never cease. The PN is proposing that for the stricter control of corruption, a special investigative magistrate is appointed with greater powers of inquiry and if I understood well the proposal, with his/her own resources to look into matters.

But this is the same project which the then Labour administration was guiding forward between 1996 and 1998. A draft law had been prepared. Personally, I always considered there is no better way by which to organize with some success, the fight against corruption and the abuse of state power.

At the time, the PN was totally against. Confidentially, I got to know that it had sent “envoys” to ensure that a wideranging resistance to the proposal would be mobilised.

And curiously, almost on cue, the message came back from the judiciary that it was not in agreement with the idea, which caused it discomfort. Likewise from representatives of lawyers. They all wanted the idea dead and buried.

The excuse was that the proposal was not consonant with the structures that regulate the administration of justice and the judiciary in our country – and with the inter-relationship between prosecution and defence.

Now the PN has itself come upwith the same proposal. What has changed structurally since 1997?