The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday


Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 10 January 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 14 days ago

Perhaps the biggest problem we have with the running of our institutions is complacency – the belief that we know best how well we do things. We have inherited much that was quite good, we improved on it, so that few can suggest that they can come along to give us useful lessons on this or that.

In part, this can be explained by the minute scale of our society. Small clans of people, who most often are related to each other or know each other quite well, with relationships being carried over from parents to children, had been in charge of the professions and our administrative structures. Whatever they managed to carry out, for good or for bad – in the courts, in the Church, in political parties, in private enterprsies – got to be considered as an achievement that deserved full recognition, without much attention to how it needed to be renewed.

Even when new people succeeded to old established leadership positions, they found it useful to adopt procedures overseen by their predecessors. They had no incentive to really change anything.

Perhaps now things have started to change. The “new” generations have become more critical. But even among some of them, one notes how once they have in a way been co-opted into the existing structures, soon there comes into force a kind of acceptance regarding what’s going on.

Complacency is among the qualities that take root most easily.



A draft European law is moving forward to seek the investigation of the state subsidies being given in non-EU countries when these impact on investments and trade carried out within the Union.

In line with the protection the Union currently gives within the single market against state aids deployed by member countries, the idea is to provide the same protection against state aids that are extended outside the EU. The proposal comes attached with many pros and cons. On both the political right and the left, there is  a recognition that the initiative makes sense in today’s world.

Personally, I am not so convinced.



European security has become a subject that is giving rise to growing interest and concerns. Not least because France, which now is in the chair of the EU, has been pushing the issue. But attention to it has been growing ever since during the presidency of Donald Trump (and even during that of Barak Obama after all), the US began to affirm  a new orientation by which it seemed to be defining American security interests in ways that did not consider Europe as an integral part of them.

The problem is that European security interests are still splintered – between the “east” and the “west”, towards Russia, regarding Africa and the Middle East, about nuclear weapons, and regarding the ever increasing competition between the US and China.

Although the French position has many aspects that are perfectly valid and of the greatest interest, this cannot “by itself” determine how European security should be laid out. It has too many features that relate purely to the French national interest and have no resonance in other member states of the EU.

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