Imqabbla ma’ ta’ pajjiżi oħra, iċ-ċifra tal-enerġija li nikkonsmaw li ġejja minn sorsi li jiġġeddu bħala persentaġġ tal-konsum totali tagħna ta’ enerġija, hi miżerabbli. Tlaħħaq xi 4.7 fil-mija, anqas minn nofs tal-mira ta’ 10 fil-mija li tpoġġitilna biex nilħquha sas-sena 2020. Il-Lussemburgu biss qed juri riżultat agħar minn tagħna.

Biss il-biċċa setgħet kienet agħar.

Mill-bidu nett qiest li dan qasam ieħor fejn l-Unjoni Ewropea użat kejl biex twettaq politika ġenerali li tgħodd għal pajjiżi kbar, mhux daqstant għaż-żgħar. Kważi f’kull qasam ta’ enerġija li tiġġedded li jeżisti, il-limitazzjonijiet tal-ispazju tagħna fost oħrajn, joħolqu problemi kbar biex il-proġetti meħtieġa jkunu fattibbli u vijabbli.

Veru li nħlew ħafna riżorsi fuq studji li ma wasslu mkien waqt li l-Enemalta damet għomor biex tfassal sistema li biha n-nies setgħet tgħaqqad l-apparati fotovoltajiċi fid-djar mas-sistema tal-elettriku. Dan aggrava l-problemi.

Imma hu sinjifikattiv li l-pajjiż li sejjer agħar minna fl-enerġija li tiġġedded hu l-Lussemburgu, li mhux wisq akbar minn Malta.

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Manifattura

Tajjeb li wieħed ikollu f’moħħu l-fatturi preċiżi li qed jolqtu l-kompetittività tal-manifattura għall-esportazzjoni, jekk nassumu li x-xogħol tal-ħaddiema Maltin jibqa’ kompetittiv fi prezz u produttività mqabbel ma’ dak ta’ ħaddiema oħra fiż-żona ewro.

Il-fatturi rilevanti huma:

Għall-fabbriki li jesportaw lejn iż-żona ewro, l-ispiża tal-materja prima miġjuba minn barra ż-żona u l-fjuwil (f’dollari); u l-ispiża tat-trasport (f’ewro);

Għall-fabriki li jesportaw barra ż-żona ewro, ir-rata tal-kambju tal-ewro, l-ispiża tal-fjuwil u l-ispiża tat-trasport (f’dollari).

Is-settur tal-manifattura għall-esportazzjoni naqqas sew fl-aħħar għaxar snin. Se jibqa’ jingħafas. Ta’ min iżomm quddiem għajnejh liema minn dawn il-fonti ta’ spiża, l-aktar se jqagħbruh. Dwarhom, fejn possibbli, trid tittieħed azzjoni.

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Jifhmu?

Ħafna drabi, l-argumenti Maltin quddiem proposti li jkunu qed isiru għal bidliet fil-politika Ewropea jew it-tnedija ta’ xi waħda ġdida, jippernjaw dwar il-ħtieġa li mhux kulħadd ikollu bilfors jagħmel l-istess ħaġa.

Issa, hi ħaġa ċara li meta qed titfassal liġi, din trid tinħadem fuq linji ġenerali, mhux bħala lista ta’ eċċezzjonjiet. Min-naħa l-oħra, l-anqas ma wieħed jista’ jibqa’ jassumi li jekk qed jitħejjew regolamenti li jridu japplikaw b’mod wiesa’, se jkunu jgħoddu għal kulħadd malli maġġoranza turi li hi sodisfatta bihom.

Ġieli nieħu l-impressjoni li jeżisti ġudizzju fi ħdan l-Unjoni Ewropea li Malta tinsisti wisq fuq il-każ partikolari tagħha. Il-ħsieb donnu hu li nesaġeraw f’hekk, għax il-każ li nagħmlu mhux dejjem ikun ċar daqskemm nippretendu: inressquh bħala parti minn strateġija biex niżgiċċaw mill-obbligi u r-responsabbiltajiet.

English Version – Could have been worse

Compared to that of other countries, the percentage of the total energy we consume that comes from renewable sources is miserable. It is about 4.7per cent, less than half the target that we’ve been asked to reach by the year 2020. Only Luxembourg lags behind us.

However, it could have been worse.

Right from the start, I was convinced that this is another area where to implement a general policy, the European Union had deployed instruments that made sense for the bigger countries, less so for the small ones. Almost in all available sectors of renewable energy, limitations of size among others, create huge problems here when ensuring that projects are doable and viable.

True, we wasted lots of resources on studies that never got anywhere while Enemalta took ages to design a system by which people could link their photovoltaic installations to the electricity grid. All this helped to pile up the difficulties.

Still, it is significant that the country which is faring worse than us in the renewable energy stakes is Luxembourg, roughly our size.

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Manufacturing competitiveness

It is useful to keep in mind the precise factors that affect the competitiveness of our export manufacturing sector, on the assumption that the competitiveness of our labour force, price- and productivity-wise, remains stable compared to that of other workers in the eurozone.

The relevant factors are as follows;

For factories that export towards the eurozone, the cost of materials imported from outside the zone and fuel (in dollars); plus transport costs (in euros);

For factories that export outside the eurozone, the euro exchange rate, the cost of fuel and transport (in dollars).

The export manufacturing sector has been in serious decline over the last ten years. Pressure on it will continue. Attention should be focussed on those elements of expense which create most damage. Where possible, action should be taken to contain their impact.

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Do they understand?

Often, Maltese arguments regarding upcoming proposals for changes to European policies or for the launch of a new one, hinge on the need to ensure that no obligation ensues on a one-size-fits-all basis.

Now it is clear that when a law is being drafted, it must present general lines of action, not a list of exceptions. On the other hand, one cannot simply assume that when regulations are being applied across a wide front, they would have to apply to all, as soon as a majority emerges to express its satisfaction at the turn of events.

I sometimes get the impression that within the European Union, there are those who believe that Malta is over-insistent in emphasizing its own particularities. Some seem to think that we are exagerrating, and that the case we raise is not so clear as we would like to pretend: in their view, we make our points as part of a strategy by which to evade obligations and responsibilities.