The Malta Independent 15 December 2017, Friday

Compass

Alfred Sant Monday, 20 November 2017, 07:58 Last update: about 25 days ago

For a while, the Times of Malta seemed to have cooled the anti-Labour urges which were considered part and parcel of its DNA. It kept somewhat aloof from anti-Labour controversies that would emerge. Not once or twice, it even ventured into some criticism of the PN in government.

Then the paper returned to form and once again began to open fire on the Labour government, returning to its total allegiance to the PN over surprisingly, claims of government corruption. It was understandable for one to feel puzzled by this. In the course of the Gonzi administration, it had shown scant interest in such stories.

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Since the last election, while maintaining its anti-Labour stance, the paper has also been at odds with the new PN management and seems like it prefers the outgoing administration. It is difficult to understand how and why this is happening. One remains with the impression that The Times has lost its compass and cannot determine where it stands exactly.

I guess the starting point for all these developments was the problem with the Times’ ex managing director Hillman. The paper still has to get over that setback. As of now, it has never really provided any information about what the whole matter was in aid of, and the impact it had on operations. Meanwhile, it still calls on others to show full transperency.

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Social Europe

In Sweden, symbolically for sure, a document was signed about the European Union’s social pillar. It lists the principles and obligations which the EU considers – or says it considers – as defining its social character.

The document is interesting but in reality hardly carries any new proposal. All its pronouncements can already be found in the European treaties. What it does is simply bring together many different measures that you’ll find laid out in the texts of laws and directives.

A number of S & D deputies in the European Parliament have expressed their disappointment at this outcome. Perhaps they thought the document could take up the proposals which the EP itself adopted in a resolution that was passed earlier on this year regarding what should be the social objectives of the Union today. The resolution was approved with a huge majority even though there was no chance that its proposals could be implemented fast.  

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Contradictions

Recently, I raised this contradiction: while the PN was largely instrumental in launching financial services in this country, it is now causing them a lot of harm, giving the impression it actually wants to see them fade out.

But there’s another contradiction. Following Malta’s accession to the EU, after an initial period of decline, the financial services sector again took off. It became the most powerful engine of economic growth.

Such a development should have been welcome to all, including our European partners. That is not what happened. Financial services in Malta have come under continuous attack, especially from EU representatives, high and low. Some say quite openly that the island is serving as a money laundering machine. 

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