The Malta Independent 21 January 2019, Monday

Forecasts

Alfred Sant Thursday, 13 December 2018, 12:27 Last update: about 2 months ago

The growth rate for the third quarter of the year has been lower than the one projected. This is putting at risk financial targets set by the European Commission for member states of the zone,

One reason why results have been less positive than expected is claimed to be an ongoing political and economic uncertainty, due in part to American enthusiasm for protectionism and the US-China standoff on trade matters. Political developments of the past few weeks within the European countries themselves could be fuelling further concerns about the economic state of the zone.

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I remain doubtful as to the approach currently being taken in economic management. The economy is conceptualised like it's an aeroplane that has to be operated according to numbers which measure how the engines that drive it are running, while cross referencing them with other numbers that detail the plane's position when in flight and the atmospheric conditions that envelop it as it flies. Economic and social realities tend to be much more complex than that.

A curious sidenote in the wider picture is Malta's economic growth rate. It has increased spectacularly, while that of others wobbled. It is a pity we are so small in size for our performance made no impact on the outturn of euro economic aggregates.

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CAMPAIGN

Having agreed to present my candidature for the European Parliament elections in May 2019, I feel now like I've reverted, in a flash back, to my first campaign for parliamentary election. That was in 1987.

I had postponed matters till it was too late, not least because as President of the Labour Party, as my role then was, I had to carry out other tasks which I could and did not want to put aside. I therefore had to see about getting my "message" across with limited resources, mostly by way of helpers. However the strongest constraint that one finds in such a situation is the limited time available for meeting families and constituents face to face. It is during meetings of this sort that one gets a feel for what is really going on among people. The less one has time for them, the less effective one can be.     

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TREES

We have hardly heard much in past weeks about the state of trees in Malta. Are they still being sacrificed on the grounds that we need wider roads? Have the promises that were made to plant new trees to replace those that had to be cut down been implemented?

The problem with an issue like this comes when considering how to keep it under serious review. If this is left for government to handle, no matter which government it is, the likelihood is that problems will be forgotten or kept alive according to the requirements of political debate, and according to how these shift from month to month.

If it is entrusted to some voluntary organization, meaningful results will be obtained so long as people who are genuinely interested continue to run it. When they die or depart, activism could stagnate. That risk will persist, indeed perhaps increase, if a voluntary organization functions with the support of a government subsidy.

 


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