The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Farm land

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 31 December 2020, 07:49 Last update: about 2 years ago

It is really bad that we seem to be giving a lower ranking in terms of importance to the agricultural land that is still being worked by fulltimers and part-timers. My belief has always been that we should consider all such land as extremely precious. When active in local politics, I used to consider it should be considered a national priority to safeguard farmland.

We would launch campaigns against developers who wanted to build or dig or stack waste on productive land. Today this priority seems to have been completely forgotten. The greatest enthusiasm is shown for the construction of flyovers that do not always seem to have any serious rationale except by way of giving a leg-up to road builders. Such projects continue to invade the areas which up to some time ago were assigned to agricultural activity.

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Traffic is getting the thumbs up at the expense of agriculture, which remains in decline. If a road can be widened, then just do it and forget the fact that it will erode further land that is now available to farming. That has become the callsign. As well, privileged villas get prefered above farm requirements – so that one can see being arrogantly laid out in their direction, roads that are unnecessary except for the convenience of villa owners.

This just is not right.   

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TRADE AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT

The agreement on “trade and cooperation” between the UK and the EU to determine how they will conduct relations in future is a complicated text. It does not make for easy reading. The principles and general rules it lays out are clear and straight. But the way they have to be implemented as described in the annexes to the agreement, which constitute the major part of the document, need a close study. One needs a good understanding of the sectoral details they deal with in order to assess their impact.

To be sure, that is what happens with most agreeements on “trade and cooperation” that nations get to sign in today’s world.

It will mean that all member states of the EU need to consider in detail and in depth the agreement to consider how it will affect their own particular interests. There could be a fear that due to the haste with which this needs to be carried out, not all will be able to run a sufficiently comprehensive evaluation.

Meanwhile, with its very title and its tepid undertones, the agreement is signalling the beginning of a radical change in the European political-economic space.

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NEW YEAR

Best wishes for the New Year, analyses of 2020, forecasts about what could happen as of 1 January 2021... it’s one big dance, as was to be expected.

How successful the New Year will turn out to be, one that’s less unpleasant than 2020 now just coming to an end, will probably depend on each and every one of us. Too much haste in going back to “normality” or a slackening in the application of public health directives that will be necessary to attain it could lead to outcomes as unpleasant as those we have had to live with in past months.

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BEST WISHES

Even so, all best wishes for a New Year 2021 that will deliver prosperity and good health to all.

 

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