REGĦBA

Stagħġibt ftit dil-ġimgħa: fi tliet konversazzjonijiet separati ma’ tlieta min-nies (Maltin) li ma jafux lil xulxin, qamet l-istess kelma. Użawha biex ifissru x’jidhrilhom li hu l-aqwa difett fil-ħidma ekonomika ta’ madwarna. Ma għamluhiex għax tħallew lura fil-ġirja lejn is-suċċess. Anzi bla problema ta’ xejn irrikonoxxew li l-ekonomija tagħna qabdet rankatura sabiħa li sostniet għal numru ta’ snin.

Ir-regħba: minnha li jaqblilna noqgħodu attenti, qaluli. Wisq Maltin iridu jagħmlu ħafna ħafna flus malajr malajr u mingħajr taħbit.

Fil-ħeġġa li biha r-regħba twassal lin-nies biex jiġru wara l-iċken opportunità li toffri prospetti ta’ qligħ faċli, malajr tintilef il-ħila biex wieħed jagħraf jekk dak li jleqq hux siewi jew falz. B’hekk, il-prosperità tinbena fuq pedamenti li malajr jistgħu jisfrundaw.

NIHIL OBSTAT

Wasal fl-aħħar il-proċess li bih kull sena, l-Kummissjoni Ewropea saret tifli l-baġits imħejjija mill-gvernijiet tal-pajjiżi membri taż-żona tal-ewro l-aktar, biex tara jaqblux mar-regoli taż-żona għall-miri li għandhom jilħqu.

Dwar Malta, il-Kummissjoni ftit kellha xi tgħid. Ir-regoli tal-ewro mhux biss ġew rispettati imma ninsabu f’qagħda ħafna aħjar milli jesiġu.

Il-Kummissjoni kellha materji ħafna eqlel minn ta’ Malta x’tikkunsidra – fuq quddiem nett, il-kwistjoni Taljana.

Tabilħaqq, dan l-eżerċizzju dwar il-baġits nazzjonali jinħass goff u komplikat. Hu diffiċli tkejjel kemm tidħol politika ġo fih. Anke hawn, jekk pajjiż ikunx miċ-ċkejkna jew mill-kbar jaffettwa d-deċiżjoni li tittieħed dwaru – għalkemm lil kull min tkellem fil-Kummissjoni, se jiċħad dan bl-akbar qawwa.

Kien Jean Claude Juncker biss għal waqt wieħed fl-aħħar snin li forsi bi żball, tkellem b’onestà. Dwar il-fatt li Franza ma kinitx qed issegwi r-regoli taż-żona, qal: E! Franza! Lil Franza x’tista’ tgħidilha biex twissiha…?

Iċ-ċerimonjal kollu sar jixbah kif il-Knisja Kattolika tagħti l-imprimatur lil xi ktieb tat-teoloġija li jkun ħiereġ. Il-proċess tal-Knisja hu aktar effettiv minn tal-Kumissjoni Ewropea.

FTEHIM PESPUSA

Fl-aħħar, Franza u l-Ġermanja laħqu ftehim dwar x’għandhom jipproponu lil sħabhom bħala l-ewwel passi tar-riforma meħtieġa fit-tmexxija taż-żona tal-ewro. Għamlu dan f’test ta’ żewġ paġni li jfisser kif jista’ jitwaqqaf “baġit” għaż-żona tal-ewro.

Il-proposta franko-ġermaniża ftit impressjonat. Hi timida għall-aħħar. Tammonta għal ħafna anqas minn dak li ppropona l-President Macron meta daqs sena u nofs ilu, reġa’ tellaq l-idea li r-riforma fiż-żona tal-ewro kienet saret urġenza.

Minkejja d-dgħufija ta’ x’qed jiġi propost, xorta tqanqlet reżistenza għalih. X’inhu l-bżonn tiegħu? qamet il-mistoqsija minn dawk li ma jridux jafu b’“riformi”. Il-mistoqsija tagħhom tieħu saħħa akbar meta tqis kemm jidhru mpespsa s-suġġerimenti ta’ bidla li tressqu.

English Version – Greed

I was quite surprised this last week: in three separate conversations with (Maltese) individuals who do not know each other, the same word turned up. They employed it to pinpoint what in their view, is the deepest flaw in the ongoing economic activity. They did not mention it because they feel somehow sidelined by the general run towards greater business success. Indeed they had no problem at all to agree that the economy has been and remains on a roll which has now persisted for a number of years.

Greed: that’s what we need to watch out for: so they said. Too many people in Malta are eager to make lots of money in double quick time and with minimal effort.

In the rush that’s fired by greed and that makes one chase the slightest opportunity that could offer the prospects of easy takings, one could in short time lose the skill by which to make sure that what glistens is gold not dross. Prosperity would then be built on foundations that might rapidly collapse.

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Nihil obstat

We’re again coming to the end of the process by which every year, the European Coommission inspects the budgets prepared by the governments of eurozone member states, to judge whether they correspond to the targets set for them under the zone’s rules.

The Commission had little to say about Malta. Eurozone rules have not only been observed but our performance goes well beyond what they require.

And the Commission had to consider other matters that were much trickier than the Maltese dossier – primarily the Italian issue.

Actually, the annual exercise covering national budgets does seem to be clumsy and complicated. It is difficult to assess the political inputs that feed it. Here too, the size of a country, big or small, does affect the decisions that are taken about it – although one and all in the Commission will roundly deny this.

It had to be Jean Claude Juncker of all people who for once in past years, was honest about this, probably because he happened to be distracted. Referring to how France was failing to respect eurozone rules, he exclaimed: Oh yes, but that’s France! How can one issue a warning to France?

In a way, the process has come to resemble the ceremonial by which the Catholic Church grants an imprimatur to some new theology book that’s being published. Even so, the procedures followed by the Church are more effective that those adopted by the European Commission.

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The chicken of an agreement

At last, France and Germany have reached an agreement about what they should propose to their associates by way of the first steps towards a reform that has become necessary in eurozone management. They did so by finalising a two-page text which mainly describes how to establish a “budget” for the eurozone.

The Franco-German proposal left most people cold. In its sheer timidity, it delivers much much less that what a year and a half ago, President Macron had prospecteed as he relaunched the idea that eurozone reform had become an urgent matter.

Despite being so weak in content, the proposals advanced have still met with resistance. Why do we need this? has been the query of those who contest the whole idea of “reform”. Their scepticism gains in appeal when one considers how shallow the suggestions for change have turned out to be.