Is-segretarju parlamentari għal affarijiet Ewropej Ian Borg kien Brussels għal laqgħa tal-grupp tas-soċjalisti u d-demokratiċi fil-Parlament Ewropew. Jinsab inkarigat ukoll mit-tħejjijiet għall-ħidma li Malta se twettaq fl-2017 fil-presidenza tal-Kunsill tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

It-tħejjijiet qed jittieħdu bis-serjetà. Fost oħrajn, seħħet żieda ppjanata fl-istaff ta’ Dar Malta fi Brussell. Minn issa, din qed tkabbar l-operat tagħha biex tlaħħaq maż-żieda fil-volum ta’ xogħol waqt il-presidenza.

Ian spjegali aspetti oħra tal-ħidma amministrattiva u teknika li qed issir. Il-passi li ttieħdu jidhruli f’waqthom. Jekk jibqgħu għaddejja bir-ritmu tal-lum, kollox għandu jkun f’postu bil-mod mixtieq. Mhux l-anqas fil-qasam ta’ kif se nużaw il-presidenza biex nipproġettaw xbieha dinamika tal-pajjiż.

Personalment niddubita kemm il-fatt li pajjiż ikollu l-presidenza tal-Unjoni tiftaħlu xi prospetti ġodda. Xorta nieħu ħafna gost nara li għal okkażjoni mitqiesa bħala importanti, ikunu qed isiru tħejjijiet daqstant serji.

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Vilifikazzjoni

Il-proposta li titneħħa l-liġi li tissettja l-vilifikazzjoni tar-reliġjon Kattolika bħala att kriminali, qajmet polemika.

Se tibqa’ viġġenti liġi oħra, li tikkriminaliżża kull att jew stqarrija li tħeġġeġ disprezz jew mibegħda lejn kull twemmin reliġjuż, inkluż l-atejiżmu (?). Wara riflessjni, ma narax xi bżonn għandha r-reliġjon Kattolika, jew kwalunkwe reliġjon oħra, ta’ “protezzjoni” akbar.

Jissemma l-argument li t-tneħħija tal-liġi dwar vilifikazzjoni hu anti-kostituzzjonali. Il-kostituzzjoni hi miktuba b’mod li jippromwovi l-ħarsien tal-Kottoliċeżimu. Dan ma jsirx billi tneħħi miżura li appuntu kienet hemm għall-ħarsien tagħha.

Hu argument tat-tip: Jekk se tipproklama l-ħarsien ta’ xi ħaġa, kull ma hemm sa issa biex “jipproteġiha” jrid jinżamm.

Anki jekk ikunu nbidlu ċ-ċirkostanzi ta’ ħsieb, imġiba u espressjoni?

Fil-każ, messna żammejna l-istrutturi tal-Inkiżizzjoni.

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Storja ekonomika

L-istudju ta’ Aaron Grech ippubblikat mill-Bank Ċentrali “The Evolution of the Maltese Economy since Independence” kien jistħoqqlu attenzjoni akbar milli ngħata. Sfortunatament, m’għandniex tradizzjoni ta’ riflessjoni serja dwar il-qagħda ekonomika.

Grech jinvestiga kif l-ekonomija Maltija żviluppat mill-1964 sal-lum, billi jifli l-istatistika ekonomika u finanzjarja f’diversi oqsma. L-eżerċizzju jgħallem ħafna. Grech jinkwadra l-bidla lejn ekonomija ta’ servizzi li seħħet, minkejja l-isforzi tal-bidu lejn l-industrijalizzazjoni, u r-rwol qawwi tal-gvern f’li ġara.

Jikkonkludi li matul is-snin, l-ekonomija tagħna saret aktar stabbli, hi u ssostni rati ta’ tkabbir reali rispettabbli ħafna.

Għalkemm il-bażi statistika hi kruċjali, ma naħsibx li waħidha biżżejjed biex turi l-ħsus tal-iżviluppi ekonomiċi. Dwar dan neħtieġu analiżi wkoll tal-proposti strateġiċi li wasslu lejn ċerti deċiżjonijiet. U forsi wkoll, in-narrativa ekonomika trid tibda minn tmiem it-Tieni Gwerra Dinjija.

F’dil-ħidma, l-istudju ta’ Aaron Grech jibqa’ għodda mill-aktar siewja.

English Version – EU Presidency

Parliamentary secretary for European affairs Ian Borg was in Brussels to attend a meeting of the socialist and democratic group in the European Parliament. He is in charge of the preparations for activities that Malta will be conducting in 2017, as President of the European Union Council.

The preparations are being actively pushed forward. Among other moves, there has been a planned increase in the staff complement at Dar Malta, in Brussels. It has already stepped up its operations to cover the rise in the administrative output that the presidency will entail.

Ian detailed other aspects of the administrative and technical runs that are being implemented. The moves carried out appear to me to be timely. If they maintain their present rhythm, things should be well in place at the right time. Not least by way of using the presidency in order to project a dynamic image of the island.

Personally, I doubt whether the fact that a country is at the presidency of the Union opens up any new prospects. Still I take great pleasure when I see that such well planned arrangements are being laid out for an occasion that is considered to be of importance.

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Vilification

The proposal to revoke a law that defines the vilification of the Catholc religion as a criminal act has raised polemics.

Another law which bans all acts or statements that encourage contempt or hate towards all religious creeds, including atheism (?), will remain valid. On reflection, I cannot see any reason why the Catholic religion, or any other religion for that matter, will need further “protection”.

We are told that the repeal of the vilification law is anti-constitutional. The text of the Constitution is written in a mode that encourages the protection of Catholicism. This is not done when existing measures intended on purpose to safeguard that aim are revoked.

Such an argument follows this logic: If you proclaim the wish to protect something, all that exists as of now to “safegaurd” it, should be retained.

Does this hold even when circumstances have changed in beliefs, behaviour and way of saying things?

If so, then we should have retained the structures of the Inquisition.

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Economic history

“The Evolution of the Maltese Economy since Independence” a paper by Aaron Grech published by the Central Bank should have attracted greater attention than it did. Unfortunately, we lack a tradition of in-depth reflection about the economic situation.

Grech investigates the growth of the Maltese economy between 1964 and the present by analysing economic and financial data longitudinally across a number of sectors. It’s a very interesting approach. He thus supplies a frame for the shift towards an economy based on services despite an initial thrust towards industrialization and the ongoing strong role played by government in developments.

His conclusion is that over the years, our economy became more stable even as it maintained quite respectable real growth rates.

Although a statistical base is crucial for such a study, I doubt whether it is sufficient to identify fully the factors that defined economic developments. For this, one also needs to analyse the strategic proposals that led to certain decisions being taken.

And perhaps too, the economic narrrative has to take the end of the Second World War as its starting point.

In drawing up such a story, Aaron Grech’s study will remain a very useful tool.