The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Maltese banks

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 9 May 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 11 days ago

An ongoing controversy about the services that Maltese banks provide to citizens has clearly revealed that banks have decreased the services available to depositors while increasing their fees. It is also apparent that the expectation of analysts who follow the operations of Maltese banks is that they should best function as deposit banks.

Still meanwhile, they are also operating as banks which are available for lending to productive investments, for construction projects and for real estate deals. Which means that despite their relatively small size, they have also to operate as investment banks over the medium to long term, while still carrying over the mentality of a middle sized commercial bank.

To compound matters, since the 2008-2021 financial crisis, they have had to take on board new and complicated rules regarding how to manage their capital base. Moreover, they got tied to yet other regulations made necessary by the EU drive to establish a banking union and to wipe out money laundering.

The “big” Maltese banks are not successfully juggling with all these balls that are up in the air. The worst hit as a result have been the small depositors.

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EUROPEAN CONSTITUENCY

The proposal to create as of the next European Parliament elections, constituencies that cover territory in more than one member state so that they could be contested by “transnational” parties has gained support in recent years. Originally the idea was touted by French President Macron.

In order to soften some of the resistance which it was met with, a number of measures were inserted to make the idea sound more attractive, but they have rather managed to make it more confusing.

I cannot understand how the proposal in and of itself is supposed to help stimulate a greater interest in European elections among citizens and how it will actually incentivate them to go vote in European Parliament elections. I wonder for instance whether Maltese voters will show a greater interest  in such elections and go vote in greater numbers just because Malta becomes part of a constituency that includes Slovak or Slovenian territory.

Still the good souls who spend their lives in the so-called Brussels bubble think otherwise.

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PEGASUS

There arose an uproar about the spying which happened (and still does, no doubt) via the software created by the Israeli company labelled Pegasus. It is being deployed and marketed “commercially” with great success. Its advantage is that it infiltrates the mobile phones of significant people in politics and business, records all the information that it finds there and transmits it to clients.

I found it curious that such a furore arose. Clearly, the way by which this software is being used is scandalous. But it seemed as if this has not been happeneing for quite a long while, between friends, enemies and competitors.

Even as the Pegasus affair continued to generate scandal, one could see once again how in this area, double standards prevail. The spying that my friends and I organize on whoever is unfriendly towards us carries its own justification. What our adversaries and competitors attempt on the same basis in our regard deserves total condemnation.

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