Xettiku ħafna dwar kemm se jintlaħaq ftehim sinjifikattiv u reali fis-summit li għaddej dwar il-klima f’Pariġi.

Fix-xenarju ta’ kompetizzjoni globalizzata taħt is-sigla tas-suq ħieles, il-kumpaniji multinazzjonali għandhom influwenza aqwa minn tal-gvernijiet. Is-saħħa tal-entijiet governattivi, inkluzi l-kbar bħaċ-Ċina u l-Istati Uniti, tiddgħajjef mill-kilba għal aktar profitti, li biex tilħaqhom trid tbigħ u tbigħ.

Il-mudell ta’ gvern li jirregola u ta’ imprizi privati li jipproduċu ttieħed bogħod wisq. X’se jiġri mill-klima hu wisq imbiegħed mill-kalkoli li l-imprizi jagħmlu.

Ironikament, il-metodi li ġew zviluppati għall-ħarsien tal-klima ħadu s-sura li jgħabbu spiza ambjentali fuq l-operat produttiv u joħolqu suq “ħieles” għall-“kupuni” ta’ benefiċċji ambjentali lil min inaqqas mill-uzu ta’ gassijiet li jagħmlu l-ħsara.

Fuq medda tat-tul, ftit jista’ jkollok fiduċja li dawn il-metodi se jkunu effettivi bizzejjed.

***

Brussell

Dil-ġimgħa rġajt lura fi Brussell wara l-krizi tal-aħħar jiem meta l-belt ingħalqet għalkollox. Xi nbidel?

Diffiċli tgħid. Veru li suldati u pulizija jinsabu ppustjati ma’ kullimkien. Minkejja l-istat ta’ assedju li kien ġie dikjarat fi Brussell, u l-miżuri ta’ sigurtà li ttieħdu, il-persuni suspettati bit-tħejjija ta’ attakki terroristiċi fil-belt baqgħu ma nqabdux.

Kull fejn mort, il-belt dehritli kwieta, għalkemm forsi kien hemm anqas nies mis-“soltu” fit-toroq. Imma dan kien ġej ukoll mill-fatt li t-temp kesaħ u għamlet ix-xita.

Naf li ħafna nies ikkanċellaw il-laqgħat jew iz-zjarat tagħhom fil-Parlament Ewropew, li wkoll deher anqas iffullat mis-soltu.

Kemm se ddum dis-sitwazzjoni? – kienet mistoqsija li smajtha tingħad ripetutament.

***

Pressjoni

Fl-Unjoni Ewropea, l-istati membri għad għandhom is-setgħa li jissettjaw huma t-taxxi tagħhom, bla indħil mill-Unjoni. Madankollu, il-pressjoni qiegħda dejjem tiżdied biex dil-ħaġa tinbidel.

Hu mill-Parlament Ewropew li qed iqumu l-aqwa mbuttaturi dwar hekk. Sena ilu, il-midja kixfu kif l-awtoritajiet tal-Lussemburgu kienu laħqu arranġamenti sigrieti ma’ diversi kumpaniji multinazzjonali kbar li ppermettew lil dawn tal-aħħar jiskansaw il-biljuni dovuti f’taxxi fuq il-profitti f’pajjiżi Ewropej oħra.

Diġà l-ġimgħa li għaddiet fil-plenarja, il-Parlament għadda b’maġġoranza kbira mozzjoni li saħqet biex jiġu kontrollati arranġamenti bħal dawk li daħħal il-Lussemburgu. Ipproponiet miżuri oħra li jfissru indħil fil-mod kif l-istati membri jissettjaw it-taxxi.

Dan ċertament mhux fl-interess nazzjonali Malti.

U issa riesqa mozzjoni oħra fil-Parlament li b’mod dirett tipproponi “konverġenza” fit-tassazzjoni Ewropea, jiġifieri li t-taxxi nazzjonali jinġabu qrib xulxin. L-abbozz ta’ din il-mozzjoni ġie approvat nhar it-Tlieta mill-kumitat ekonomiku u finanzjarju tal-PE.

Konna jien, deputat minn Ċipru u deputat ieħor biss li vvotajna kontra f’kumitat ta’ aktar minn sittin membru, b’għaxar astensjonijiet.

English Version – Climate

One has to be quite sceptical about whether a real and significant agreement can be reached in the summit about climate change now being held in Paris.

In a scenario where globalised competition is organized under the banner of the free market, multinational companies have gained an influence more powerful than that of governments. The reach of states, including major ones like China and the US, is undermined by the urge for greater profits, which require sales and further sales.

The model of governments which regulate private enterprises, which are there to produce, has been taken to extremes. Climate issues remain too distant from the considerations that companies factor into their calculations.

Ironically, the methods developed to protect us against climate change have followed the option of injecting an environmental expense on production operations while creating a “free” market for “coupons” of environmental payoffs accorded to those who reduce their emissions of gases that trigger climate change.

One finds it difficult to have confidence that such methods can be effective in the long run.

***

Brussels

I was back in Brussels this week for the first time sincethere had been a complete shutdown in the city. What had changed?

Difficult to say. Certainly, soldiers and police were present at all points. Despite the state of siege that had been declared all over Brussels, and the security measures that were enforced, the persons suspected of planning new terrorist attacks there were still free.

Wherever I went, the city seemed calm, though perhaps less people than “usual” were on the streets. But this could also have been because it was cold and raining.

I know that many people cancelled meetings and visits at the European Parliament, where too, the usual crowds seemed to have thinned.

How long will this situation last? It was a question that I heard more than once.

***

Pressure

Member states of the European Union still have full control over their tax systems, which they run without interference from the Union. However pressures are all the time growing to change this state of affairs.

The greatest push is coming from the European Parliament. A year ago, the media discovered how the Luxembourg authorities were making secret agreements with a number of big multinational corporations, allowing them to avoid paying billions of euros in taxes on their profits levied in other European countries.

Already last week, in plenary, the Parliament approved by a huge majority a motion that insisted for controls on arrangements similar to thosemade by Luxembourg. The motion proposed other measures which amount to an intrusion in the ways by which member states levy taxes.

This is evidently not in the Maltese national interest.

Now, a new motion is coming on line in Parliament, which directly proposes “convergence” in European tax systems, meaning that national tax structures should be brought closer to each other. The draft for the motion was approved this Tuesday by the economic and financial affairs committee of the Parliament.

In a committee with over sixty members, we were three to vote no; myself, an MEP from Cyprus and another member. There were ten abstentions.