The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Gozo airport

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 12 May 2022, 07:25 Last update: about 7 days ago

I remain unconvinced by the proposal for Gozo to develop an airport able to receive arrivals of planes from Malta carrying up to 11 passengers. That same load can be carried by a reasonably sized helicopter.

It will soon be discovered that the project as framed is not commercially viable and that there will be a need to enlarge the airport, step up the size of the airplane in use and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, agricultural land will again be taken up as new commercial buildings will arise and remain there after the project has gone bankrupt.

A subsidized helicopter service would have been enough, even if it would have butted against some EU rule or other. But it would be much better if the main services providing good communications between Gozo and Malta are subsidized in a serious and methodical way via Gozo Channel and the fast ferry system.

The proposal to organize regular flights between the two islands, appears attractive only till it is found to be an illusion.

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CONSEQUENCES

Both for winners and losers, the political and social consequences of war do not disappear once it is over.

When in 1870, Prussia won the war with France and the German “empire” was established, incorporating the French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, that was not the end of the story. It again became an issue at the end of World War I when the two provinces reverted to France.  One of the Nazi war aims was indeed to annex them after having taken them over post-1940. At the end of World War II, they again became “French”. Only during the last sixty years, perhaps a bit more, since the setting up of the EU, did it seem like the issue is buried for ever.

All wars leave in their wake bitter memories and a determination not to accept the loss of what has been won, and to win back what has been lost... and so the seeds of a new war are sown.

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GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE? 

As in practically all other free market economies, the private sector here expects government backing while complaining either that there is hardly enough of such backing, or that government intervenes too much. Frequently controversy rages about whether regulations being applied are actually fit for purpose.

We have seen this happen during the last two years or so of pandemic, mainly  about governmental decisions that related among others, to the wearing of protective masks, entry in shops, attendance at public and commercial meetings,.  What however impressed me most was what happened recently when the time for precautionary measures and controls came to an end and the government rescinded them across the board.

Quite rightly, a number of citizens continued to wear masks on their own intiative and did not enter shops where they were not used at all. Clearly this was a personal choice to which one is fully entitled. Some still want to wear masks, others not at all.

Yet if I understood correctly, complaints arose on this point too. It was claimed that the government had allowed far too many ambiguities to persist. How can one run a business when customers want to appear with a mask, others not? I failed to understand why the government was expected to deal with this matter.

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