The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
View E-Paper

National loyalties

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 26 September 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The recent news story about the exchange between the Ukraine and Russia of prisoners/hostages again highlighted how frequently tragic dilemmas arise when people have for one reason or another, “dual” national loyalties.One of the men released was a  Ukrainian notable with Russian loyalties. Russia exchanged him for a substantial number of prisoners.

During World War II there were Maltese citizens who genuinely believed that Malta should form part of Italy. They ended up working to help get the fascist government win control over the islands.

The question that arises is the extent to which one can accept the sincerity of sentiment towards country A or B, and how to measure it. When a conflict arises between two different national allegiances that a person carries, how is one to judge whether the choice that that person makes between the two is legitimate and when should it be considered as treason?

After all, there is a wide agreement that an individual can consider himself (and be considered) as a citizen of more than one country. Many countries, ours included, recognize the practice of dual citizenship.

***

INSURANCE REFORM

A protracted process of discussion and negotiation is ongoing within the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers regarding changes in rules that are meant to ensure that in the management of funds they are entrusted with, insurance companies show sufficient prudence.

Some time ago, within the EU a system was devised by which prudential regulations – as they are called – would be similar all over the Union. After five years, a review had to be carried out to determine how the rules that had been introduced were shaping up and how they could be improved. Insurance companies have stewardship over funds that amount to trillions of euros. Many view these funds as sources of much needed investment. But nobody wants any investment initiative to end up dissipating the savings of pensioners and of those who rely on insurance policies to underwrite their future.

So a tension is emerging between those who would like to see insurance companies invest more, and those who do not wish them to take “unnecessary” risks with the monies of which they are the guardians.

***

EXTERNALITIES

Clearly, the construction projects we see sprouting everywhere have costs attached to them, for materials, permits, labour, you name it. Developers who pay for them expect to make a profit when they come to sell.

But there are other costs too which are attached to projects and are borne by citizens and families who are not involved at all in them – like by way of a reduction in parking spaces for cars, the closure of streets, the removal of pavements, the deterioration of air quality, dust and other inconveniences whose cost is ignored. Nor is any compensation made for them, as they are considered to be externalities, “foreign” to the project. Yet these real costs are being carried by people who do not “benefit” at all from projects. This is hardly fair.

  • don't miss