F’diversi mkejjen tal-Ewropa, Malta inkluża, qamu nirien das-sajf fil-kampanja li ħolqu qerda sħiħa u kkawżaw periklu għall-persuni. Anke jekk fil-Miżieb, il-ħsara kienet estensiva, hemm u f’inħawi oħra fejn inqalgħet il-problema, l-iskwadri tat-tifi tan-nar laqgħu tajjeb għall-isfida.

Bqajt impressjonat favorevolment, għax kont nistenna li n-nirien fil-kampanja kienu xi ħaġa relattivament ġdida hawn. It-taħriġ u l-esperjenza tal-iskwadri kienet aktar ta’ nirien f’ċentri urbani. Fil-fatt, id-diffikultajiet li nqalgħu kienu l-aktar għax ma jeżistux biżżejjed faċilitajiet għal ġlieda sostnuta kontra n-nirien f’inħawi mbiegħda tal-kampanja.

L-istess diffikultà qamet f’pajjiżi oħra. Trid tinstab soluzzjoni għaliha, hekk qed jintqal. Hux minħabba fil-bidla tal-klima jew le, l-istennija qed tkun li fis-sjuf tas-snin li ġejjin, se jibqgħu jiżdiedu n-nirien fil-beraħ tal-kampanji.

AWTORITÀ TAL-KONSUMATUR

Ma nistax nifhem kif kwistjoni importanti bħal dik dwar kif se jitwettqu deċiżjonijiet dwar il-konsumaturi meħuda mir-regolatur, u dwar x’poteri għandu dan tal-aħħar biex jiddeċiedi dwar “kastigi” u multi, baqgħet pendenti għal daqstant żmien.

Dak li jgħodd jew ma jgħoddx għall-awtorità li tirregola d-drittijiet tal-konsumaturi fis-suq, nimmaġina japplika wkoll għal regolaturi oħra.

Ċertament m’aħniex l-ewwel pajjiż li beda jħaddem sistemi ta’ awtoritajiet regolaturi, u anqas u anqas l-ewwel wieħed li kellu jaffaċċja l-mistoqsija ta’ kif il-poteri regolatorji għandhom jitħaddmu legalment fid-dell tal-qrati.

Possibbli ma jinstabx mod kif is-soluzzjonijiet li tħaddmu f’imkejjen oħra, b’xi mod jiġu addattati għal pajjiżna?

Żgur li mhix ħaġa sew li dil-materja tħalliet tperper għal daqstant żmien.

VOT FUQ PRESIDENT

Id-deputati Ewropej kellhom bil-kbir għax jivvotaw kontra l-ħatra ta’ Ursula von der Leyen bħala President tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea — talanqas dawk fosthom li jemmnu li għandha titħaddem is-sistema ta’ spitzenkandidat biex jinħatar il-President. Oħrajn bħali mix-xellug, li ma jemmnux f’dis-sistema, xorta kellhom għax jivvotaw kontra peress li issa, ilhom żmien sew l-aqwa ħatriet tal-Unjoni jmorru għand il-lemin jew ċentru lemin.

Il-vot favur von der Leyen għadda bi żbrixx imma għadda. Kieku m’għaddiex kienet tqum “kriżi” — fis-sens li l-kapijiet tal-istat u tal-gvernijiet Ewropej ikollhom jerġgħu jiltaqgħu fit-tul biex jaraw x’se jagħmlu. Ma kinitx se taqa’ d-dinja imma ħafna xejn ma għoġobhom ix-xenarju ta’ “kriżi” fi żmien meta l-problema tal-Brexit għadha titqagħweġ fuq il-mejda.

Nemmen li kien minħabba f’hekk l-aktar li l-vot kien favur, u mhux għax fl-aħħar ġranet von der Leyen bdiet twiegħed kollox lil kuħadd. Minkejja l-ħafna inbieħ li l-Parlament Ewropew jagħmel, meta jkollu r-raġun u d-dritt, u jkun il-waqt għax ikunu qamu kontroversji “kbar”, fir-realtà joqgħod lura milli jigdem.

English Version – Fires

This summer, in quite a number of locations around Europe – Malta included – fires broke out in the open countryside, wreaking havoc and endangering lives.

Even if at Miżieb the damage was extensive, there and at other sites where fires occurred the firefighting brigade met the challenge well.

I was favourably impressed, since it was to be expected that controlling fires out in the open would be a relatively new experience for Malta. The training and experience of firefighters would have been more in the area of dealing with fires occurring in urban centres.

Actually, the difficulties that arose were largely due to the fact that facilities at distant points of the countryside were less than enough to maintain a full effort mounted to extinguish the flames.

Other countries have experienced the same problem, and a solution to it has to be found — so it is being said. Whether due to climate change or for some other reason, the expectation now is that during coming summers, more and more fires will break out in the countryside.

***

Consumer authority

I just cannot understand why such an important issue as to how decisions taken by the regulator responsible for consumer affairs can be legally implemented, and what powers the regulator has to impose “punishments” and fines, has been left pending forso long.

Objections that apply to the regulator of consumer affairs, apply equally well, one would guess, to regulators in other areas.

Certainly we are not the first country to have established a system of regulatory authorities, and even more clearly, not the first one to have to face questions regarding how regulatory powers should be exercised in the shadow of the courts.

How come then that it has not been possible to find solutions operated elsewhere and somehow adapt them to this country’s situation?

Surely this is not an issue that should have been left hanging forso long.

***

Voting for a President

MEPs had every reason to vote against the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen to the presidency of the European Commission – at least those among them who believe that the spitzenkandidat arrangement should be implemented to appoint the President. Others like me, who do not care for this way of doing things but are on the left, still should have voted against, since for a very long time now, the most important appointments of the Union have gone to the right or the centre right.

The vote went in favour of von der Leyen by a whisker, true, but she won. If the vote failed, a “crisis” would have arisen – meaning that European heads of state and government would have again had to meet at length to find a replacement. Even so, heaven and earth would still have remained in place. However, many MEPs did not fancy the “crisis” scenario at a time when the Brexit problem is still gurgling up and down the agenda.

I believe that was the main reason why the yes vote won, and not because in the final days, von der Leyen took pains to promise everything to everybody. Although the European Parliament indulges in much barking, even when it is in the right, has the legal power, and the time is ripe for great controversy, it actually prefers not to bite.