The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Piecemeal?

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 14 October 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The construction of the European Union as a bloc of European countries was actually undertaken on a piecemeal basis. Over the years, more countries agreed to give up another bit of their sovereignty so that it could be exercised on a joint basis. Changes were thus to be introduced, implemented and accepted gradually not via a big bang.

Still there were occasions when a member state would contest steps being taken towards closer union. Some would stay back from following their fellows down a new avenue towards joint action.

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However now, the Polish case has triggered a completely new situation. Although the piecemeal changes that take place result from negotiations between member states, the framework in which this happens is a formal treaty that regulates how changes may happen.

The constitutional court of Poland has ruled that essential elements of this framework violate the country’s constitution. Yet, if they get swept aside, the whole construct would collapse.

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THE “GOOD” DEATH

It’s been a long while since I last heard it but then some days ago, so I did hear the claim: He/she had a good death.

Now what does this mean exactly?

Perhaps in a religious context, one can understand what it would mean for believers: he/she was comforted by the religious rites that he/she believed in, so that death came in the absence of too much anxiety and fear, or so one hopes.

But for the rest?

I can understand the difference between a death that  happens after long physical suffering  and one that is not like so. In both cases, if there is still conscisouness, it is likely that tensions, moral and apprehensive, will still be part of the experience. Even when young, I could never understand what somebody like the English poet Robert Browning meant when he wrote that he could wish for the most difficult death and welcome it, because of what would come beyond!

Or perhaps what should be considered as a “good” death is one which despite the fear, the tension and also the physical pain it entails, would still remain dignified?

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POST BUDGET

The budget has been accorded a relatively good reception. There has been criticism too which the Opposition will continue to develop. Its task naturally is to concentrate on how empty the glass is, not how full.

Yet, all the relevant economic and social levers which needed to be moved, have been moved. There is one problem though which no finance minister can waltz around at present. Forecasts can only be much more tentative than in pre-pandemic years. Covid-19 gave rise to huge changes. As they spread along numerous sectors, they interact across sectors while affecting each other in ways that cannot be nailed down by forecasts. The problem will not disappear soon.

But I think this would be a valid judgement on the Malta government budget for 2022: It carries forward the government’s declared political and social commitments, and despite the economic uncertainties, proposes robust recovery and consolidation approaches that also remain on the prudent side.

                       

 

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