The Malta Independent 3 August 2021, Tuesday

Digital

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 21 June 2021, 07:55 Last update: about 2 months ago

When one tries to understand what the really fundamental changes were worldwide and in this country, the conclusion is likely to be that such changes did not follow from the decline of colonial empires or the collapse of the Soviet Union or the resurgence of China. The most important change, one that is still spreading at an astonishing pace, is that of the digital revolution.

Not only did it generate an enormous acceleration in the use and development of computers. It also created new and radically new methods by which we communicate with each other, travel, learn, enjoy ourselves, behave in our everyday lives. I would even reckon that given the speed with which all these changes are happening, the digital mode will likely penetrate too the procedures by which we die.

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Indeed, the digital presence is impacting all aspects of our life. Which means that those societies which fail to learn how to use digital tools or how to use them well, will falter or drop back relative to others. To complicate matters, it will be impossible for anybody to claim that one has assimilated all that needs to be known about the digital sector and nothing more needs be done. Unless the digital knowledge and practice one has acquired by a certain point are not continually renewed, one could in a short while feel as lost in the digital world as those who never cared to approach it.   

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AN UNUSUAL SUMMER

No summer resembles the previous one. Last year’s was truly unique as Malta got caught in the second wave of the corona virus pandemic and the facile optimism that had characterised the first phase soon changed to depression as well as apprehension about what the future held.

In terms of what can be seen right now, Malta will be exiting or will have completely exited from the Covid-19 fall-out as the summer matures. Leading economic sectors will be striving to get their business off the ground after the stagnation and worse of recent months.

The success of efforts to pump up their operations – or much of it –  will depend on developments outside the country.

It could happen that this summer will give us a demonstration of how and whether the model for economic development that we have been following in past decades is  viable over the long term.

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THE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY

At the end of this month, Portugal’s stint at the presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers comes to an end. I believe that all things considered, it has been one of the most effective presidencies of recent years. On a number of fronts, the Portuguese side was prepared with their set agenda that also reflected the social democratic perspectives of the present government led by Antonio Costa.

Actually, an emphasis on the Union’s social policy was continually maintained, as well as a commitment for the Union to not delay the implementation of  its plan for economic rescue and recovery to counter the damage caused by the pandemic. The Porto summit may not have greatly altered the turn that Europe’s social policy has taken but it did at least nail into place the concept that social targets should remain central in European initiatives to the same extent as economic and environmental aims.

Where the activism of the Portuguese presidency failed was on the immigration front. The same happened happened with all other previous presidencies.

 

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