Il-kriżi tal-lum fl-Ewropa m’għandhiex tiġi sottovalutata. Fl-oqsma tas-sigurtà u tal-immigrazzjoni nkixfu xquq enormi fil-mod kif jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet fuq livell Ewropew, u fil-firxa ta’ miżuri li jistgħu jaslu biex jilqgħu għall-problemi gravi li nqalgħu.

Kumplikazzjoni serja qed tkun id-diżgwid politiku bejn l-istati membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea dwar l-għażliet quddiemhom.

Minħabba t-theddida tat-terroriżmu u l-isfida tal-immigrazzjoni, hu l-ispazju ta’ Schengen li qed iqajjem l-akbar inkwiet. Jekk wieħed jgħid li qed jikkrolla, ma jkunx wisq bogħod mill-verità.

Issa, quddiem il-problemi ta’ sigurtà nazzjonali u personali li qamu, li Schengen jitqasqas mhux bilfors għandu jitqies bħala traġedja. Madankollu fi ħdan l-Unjoni Ewropea, speċjalment fl-aħħar snin, il-linja politika ta’ ħafna saret li l-iċken ċaqliqa lura fil-proċess ta’ għaqda Ewropea timmarka diżastru. Bl-ebda mod dan ma għandu jitħalla jiġri.

Rajna dil-ħaġa tintqal u titwettaq fil-każ tal-ewro. F’din il-perspettiva, il-prinċipju li baqa’ jinżamm kien favur “aktar” Ewropa, mhux anqas.

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Biedja

L-istatistika dwar il-biedja Ewropea li għadha kemm ħarġet l-Eurostat twassal għal paraguni interessanti bejn il-biedja tal-pajjiżi differenti.

L-aktar li laqtuni kienu żewġ kuntrasti.

L-ewwel, mal-Unjoni Ewropea kollha kien 6 fil-mija l-persentaġġ tal-hekk imsejħa “holding managers” tal-irziezet (nistgħu nsejħulhom bdiewa “full time”) li għandhom età ta’ anqas minn 35 sena. F’Malta l-persentaġġ hu ta’ 3.8 fil-mija. Huma l-anzjani li baqgħu attivi fis-settur.

It-tieni: id-daqs medju ta’ razzett f’Malta hu ta’ 1.2 hectare, l-iżgħar fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Qabbel dan mal-medja Ewropea ta’ 16.1 hectare, fil-Ġermanja 58.6, u fi Franza 58.7.

Xejn ma juri aħjar il-bluha tal-aħħar għaxar snin li matulhom mexxejna l-politika għall-biedja lokali skont il-fasla tal-politika agrikola komuni tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

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Ewripide

Wara snin twal, fettilli nerġa’ nżur lil Ewripide; lanqas niftakar jekk qrajthomx qabel id-drammi tiegħu “Alcestis” u “Ippolitu” li kelli quddiemi.

Iddum ftit biex taqbad ir-ritmu ta’ kif fil-konvenzjonijiet “teatrali” ta’ żmienhom tiżviluppa n-nisġa, jitlaħħmu l-“karattri” u tinbena t-tensjoni bejniethom. Malli tagħmel hekk iżda, terġa’ ssib pjaċir kbir tidħol fid-dinja ta’ Ewripide li daqskemm hi qadima, daqstant ieħor hi moderna.

“Alcestis” jittratta dwar mara li taċċetta li tmut minflok żewġha, ħaġa li l-istess ġenituri tiegħu jirrifjutaw li jagħmlu.

Ippolitu bin Teseu jurta bil-kbir lill-alla tal-imħabba Afrodite għax jagħti unur biss lil Artemis, l-alla tal-kaċċa u l-kastità (!). Biex tpattihielu Afrodite tnebbaħ b’imħabba miġnuna lejh, lil Phaedra il-mara preżenti ta’ Teseu. Minn dan il-maniġġ, tirriżulta traġedja doppja.

Imbiegħda minna kemm jinħassu mbiegħda dawn il-“ħrejjef”, tiskanta kemm fl-iżvilupp tagħhom it-test iqajjem ekijiet kontemporanji.

English Version – Crisis in Europe

The present crisis in Europe should not be underestimated. In the areas of security and immigration, huge cracks have emerged in the ways by which decisions are being taken at a European level, as well as in the range of measures that could be applied to deal with the serious problems that have arisen.

An important complication results from the political rifts between member states of the European Union regarding the choices they face.

Because of the terrorist threat and the strains caused by immigration, the Schengen area has become the cause of the greatest concern. One would not be too far off the truth when saying that it is close to collapse.

Now, faced with the problems of national and civilian security that are being faced, one need not necessarily consider a curtailment of Schengen arrangements as a tragedy. However in the EU, especially in recent years, many have adopted the political mantra that the least step backwards in the process by which Europe is being built, would amount to a disaster and must be prevented at all costs.

We saw this declaration being made in the case of the euro, and action was taken accordingly. In such a perspective, the principle in favour of “more” Europe rather than less, was sustained.

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Agriculture

Data about European agriculture just released by Eurostat affords interesting comparisions between the farm sectors of different countries.

I was especially intrigued by two contrasts.

In first place: over the EU as a whole, there are 6 per cent of “holding managers” on farms (call them fulltime farmers if you wish) aged less that 35 years. In Malta the figure stands at 3.8 per cent. Clearly, it is older people who have remained active in the sector.

Secondly, the average area of Maltese farm holdings is 1.2 hectare, the tiniest in the Union. Compare this to the European average of 16.1 hectare, or Germany’s at 58.6, or France’s at 58.7 hectares.

Nothing shows more clearly than these comparisons the folly committed over the last ten years during which we applied to local farms the policies dictated by the EU’s agricultural policy.

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Euripides

After a very very long time, I decided to make a call on Euripides; I cannot even remember whether I had ever read the two plays of his I consulted, “Alcestis” and “Hippolytus”.

It does take a while to grasp how within the “theatrical” conventions of their day and age, the plot of the plays develops, how the “characters” stand out and the tension between them takes root. Once you get over this hurdle though, the pleasure is guaranteed as you join Euripides’ world, ancient perhaps but quite modern nevertheless.

“Alcestis” deals with a woman who offers to die instead of her husband, something that his aged parents refused to do.

Hippolytus, son of Theseus, mortally offends the goddess of love, Aphrodite, because he honours only her rival, Artemis, goddess of hunting and chastity (!). To get back at him, Aphrodite makes Phaedra, Theseus’ present wife, madly fall in love with Hippolytus. This game ends in a double tragedy.

While such “fables” might seem to be completely outside our current experience, the extent to which Euripides’ script resonates with contemporary nuances is astonishing.