The Malta Independent 10 April 2020, Friday

In Libya

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 20 February 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The situation in Libya is getting from bad to worse.

What could be done to calm things down? – most of all in the interests of the Libyan people.

Given the way matters are proceeding, chaos and violence shall increase. Even participants in the Berlin conference held recently to investigate how “solutions” could be devised, now seem less optimistic that their aims can be achieved.

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How disquieting.

Will one have to conclude that the correct option for Libya, given the current state of affairs, is to agree that it’s best for that country to be ruled by whoever has accumulated the strongest military support...? Such support would not simply have arrived from outside “allies”, but more importantly, from internal forces capable of supplying substantial tangible support.

It’s a less than perfect solution if one believes in a democracy where the people decide about their future, while fully respecting human rights.

But if this perfect option has little chance of getting implemented, should we keep insisting on it?  For while this is being done, families are being destroyed on the ground by senseless military operations... warfare that is only serving the interests of foreign powers which in truth, couldn’t care less about the welfare of the Libyan people.

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COMPREHENSIVE

The speech delivered by Prime Minister and Labour leader Robert Abela at the Labour Party’s extraordinary general conference was comprehensive. It touched on many aspects of current political developments.

What I appreciated most... apart from the emphasis on the issue of governance, which needs to be hugely prioritized in our country... were his references to the need for a greater diversification of our economy. Tied to these were mentions that focussed on the importance of the “industrial” sector in such diversification.

For actually, with the passage of time, economic activity has increasingly hinged on certain services. We still do not know what future consequences this will entail and why; like for instance, with the arrival in our midst of thousands of foreign workers.

Clearly, it never is going to  be beneficial to cluster all our activities around the same pole. It is equally clear that many of the “new sectors” that  have been attracted to Malta can leave just as fast as they arrived.

To be successful, diversification efforts should aim to reduce as much as possible too great a dependence on just one range of economic activity.

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COLA

Till a few years ago, when commenting on the economic policies being followed by the Maltese government, the European Commission would insist that the mechanism applied year in year out, to adjust wages in line with the cost of living (COLA), was not fit for purpose. According to the Commission then, it could result in a loss of competitivity by Maltese firms, while stoking inflationary tendencies.

Such remarks have since vanished from Commission reports, and this has not really happened because the European Commissioner involved with policy-making in the eurozone happened to be a socialist.

Effectively, given the adjustment mechanism we use, in recent years, wage increases in Malta on an annual basis, have been among the lowest, compared to those of other EU member states. This happened because in all of Europe, including Malta, the inflation rate remained so low.

We need to seriously reflect about this outcome... from the social as well as from the economic perspective.    

 

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