M’aħniex qed nilħqu l-miri ambjentali li ġew issettjati għal kull pajjiż membru tal-Unjoni Ewropea. U allura jkollna nħallsu jew multi jew “nixtru” l-vouchers ambjentali ta’ pajjiżi li laħqu l-miri tagħhom u qabżuhom.

L-istorja ma bdietx ilbieraħ.

Niftakarni mas-seba’ snin ilu, jekk mhux aktar, fil-kumitat tal-kontijiet publiċi tal-Parlament Malti, ninsisti għal rendikont ta’ fejn konna sejrin fit-twettiq tal-miri ambjentali Ewropej li konna diġà aċċettajna dak iż-żmien. Staqsejt għal kemm se jkunu jlaħħqu l-piżijiet finanzjarji jekk nibqgħu ma nissodisfawx il-kondizzjonijiet li tpoġġew fuqna.

Min-naħa tal-gvern Nazzjonalista ta’ dak iż-żmien, kien hemm reżistenza biex dil-ħaġa ssir, imma fl-aħħar qablu li l-Awditur Ġenerali għandu jintalab jagħmel rapport fuq il-problema.

Għamlu. Ir-rapport tiegħu żgur għadu jista’ jinstab. Il-kalkoli tiegħu xejn ma kienu sbieħ. Forsi ma morniex daqshekk ħażin daqskemm bi prudenza stħajjel. M’aħniex wisq bogħod minn ċerti kalkoli li għamel, madankollu.

ETIKA U POLITIKA

Ħadt sehem f’seminar organizzat mill-Fondazzjoni Ideat fiċ-Ċentru Nazzjonali Laburista dwar l-etika u l-politika, suġġett li jibqa’ dejjem topiku. Ħadt gost insib kif dawk li pparteċipaw kellhom interess akut fih. Bla illużjonijiet dwar kif titmexxa l-politika, xorta ma kinux lesti jabbandunaw prinċipji bażiċi.

Għax fil-fatt, kif iddiskutejna, l-aqwa sfidi u diffikultajiet fil-politika jinqalgħu meta tiġi biex twettaq dak li dħalt għalih biex twettaq: l-ewwel trid tasal. Jekk ma tasalx, inutli: dak li trid twettaq, mhux se jitwettaq.

U allura, t-tentazzjoni tqum li biex tasal ħalli tkun tista’ twettaq, tagħmel kompromessi dwar dak li temmen fih. Qed nitkellmu ovvjament, dwar ħidma politika ġenwina, mhux waħda korrotta, imfassla għal xi interess personali.

BREXIT: FTEHIM?

Min fir-Renju Unit qed jikkritika bl-aħrax il-ftehim konkluż dwar il-Brexit, għandu raġun. Hu ftehim li ma jagħti l-ebda nifs lir-Renju Unit: għal żmien li jista’ jitwal, il-pajjiż se jġorr l-iżvantaġġi tas-sħubija sħiħa fl-Unjoni Ewropea bla ma jaqsam fil-vantaġġi. U aktar minn hekk: bla ma jkollu sehem fil-mod kif jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet.

Il-Brittaniċi qed ikollhom iħallsu prezz iebes għall-fatt li kienu maqsumin bejniethom dwar x’riedu tassew.

L-Ewropej baqgħu jagħfsu bla ma ċedew xejn mill-għan tagħhom li mhumiex se jħallu min jiggwadanja mis-suq wieħed li rnexxilhom jibnu, mingħajr ma jġorr ukoll ir-responsabbiltajiet tiegħu. F’hekk irnexxielhom – imma nissuspetta li ma qisux biżżejjed il-konsegwenzi tal-istrateġija tagħhom.

Bl-ebda mod ma riedu jagħtu xi inkoraġġiment lil xi stat jew ieħor li jitħajjar joħroġ mill-Unjoni. Dawk (jekk għad jeżistu) li fil-futur jkunu jridu jagħmlu dil-ħaġa għal pajjiżhom, żgur se jifhmuha dil-biċċa. Kif se jaġixxu?

English Version – Environmental targets

We are failing to reach our environmental targets as set country by country within the EU. And therefore we must either pay fines or “buy” the environmental vouchers earned by countries which have reached and exceeded their targets.

This is an old story.

I remember about how seven years ago, if not more, at meetings of the public accounts committee of the Malta Parliament, I insisted on our getting, as a committee, a full description of what progress had been achieved in approaching the European environmental goals we had already accepted at that stage. I enquired what the financial penalties would be if we continued to not satisfy the requirements set for us.

The then Nationalist government resisted doing so but they eventually agreed to request the Auditor General to evaluate the problem.

He presented a report and it must still be available soemewhere. His calculations were not so reassuring. Perhaps we have not done as badly as he, by way of prudence, forecasted. However, we are not too far off from certain calculations that he laid out then.

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Ethics and politics

I participated in a seminar on ethics and politics – a subject that is always topical – organised by the Ideat Foundation at the Labour National Centre. I was pleased to find that those present were acutely interested in the subject. Although they had no illusions about how politics are carried out, they were still not ready to do away with fundamental principles for its sake.

For actually, as came up in discussion, the strongest challenges and difficulties in politics arise when one comes to implement what one has entered politics in order to implement: starting first of all, with the imperative that one must succeed. In case of failure, the whole effort is wasted: what one looked forward to carry out, will not happen.

And so, the temptation grows to compromise with one’s beliefs in order to be able to get things moving. This still with reference obviously, to a genuine political commitment, uncorrupted and not simply meant to satisfy one’s personal interests.

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Brexit: An agreement?

Critics in the UK who have come out strongly against the Brexit agreement as recently concluded, are spot on. The agreement provides the UK with no wriggle room: for a period that could lengthen, the country will carry the disadvantages of full EU membership without sharing in the benefits. More than that: it will have no say in decisions that will be taken.

The British side has paid a very stiff price for being internally divided about what were to be the ultimate aims of Brexit.

For their part, the Europeans gave no inch: they stuck to their aim of not letting anybody share in the benefits of the single market they have successfully established, while avoiding to carry the responsibility that goes with them. They have succeeded in that aim – but I suspect they have not really evaluated in full the consequences of their strategy.

In no way did they desire to give encouragement to one state or another that would be tempted to exit the Union. Those who would in future wish to do so (should they ever emerge) will surely understand this. How will they go about achieving their aims?