The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Health

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 26 August 2019, 08:18 Last update: about 26 days ago

I had a meeting with the Malta Health Network group, which coordinates the work of NGOs active in the health sector. They run their activities in tandem with likeminded associations in Europe. Though health issues are hardly part of the fundamental competences of the EU, still the practice by which member states try to run policies hand in hand even for this sector is becoming increasingly common.

The aims that the Malta Health Network have set for the coming years can only be considered realistic and worthwhile. Not least their priority to assert the right of patients to be fully involved in the medical treatments which they are assigned. I fully agree with this aim, though one can foresee it could trigger problems.

It is not always the case that the right of an individual – as a private citizen – to know what is happening or going to happen to him during his medical treatment, even if it is the best that exists, is sufficiently enforced. Often, patients are considered as if they were still children. There’s no need to consult them about the cure they will follow or why they need to follow it. What’s considered to be important is that they’re on the way to being cured.  

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Tuna

Operators of tuna fish farms in Malta face a problem. The quotas they need to get from the EU for tuna catches and fattening before they can sell, have been blocked by the European Commission.

As enterprises, they enjoy a less than good reputation among the Maltese people. They have become notorious for polluting the seas where they are located and making swimmers as angry as hell.

On the other hand, it is not fair either that in their line of activity, they are not treated by the EU on the same basis as Spanish or Italian concerns. Actually after all, they were among the pioneers in the Mediterranean when fish farms came to be established and managed. And their share in Malta’s exports is useful.

Spanish and Italian enterprises have been prominent in contravening European rules governing how tuna fishing should be carried out. While the European Commission is pressing hard on Maltese units, to the point it could make them go bankrupt, it takes things easy with the rest of the pack.

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RLS

What a mistake it was to have allowed Robert Louis Stevenson to be forgotten. He was one of the finest novelists around, even if his name stayed tied to “Treasure Island” and he became known mostly as a writer of adventure stories for kids. What he wrote goes way beyond adventure, in the simplicity and directness with which he confronts the reader.

“Island Nights’ Entertainments” presents three short/long stories which RLS concocted when he was living in the islands of the Pacific (where he died). He describes life there with the same rolling pace that characterise his adventure books for “kids”. His main characters are both the small time commmercial agents sent to the Samoan islands to trade with the inhabitants, as well as selected personalities from among the Kanaka tribes.

Whether he is taking a look at Europeans in the Pacific or people born there, and how they behave, RLS always has the ability to portray their lives authentically, as individuals. The plot around which each story develops goes straight to the point forcefully. 

 

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