The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
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Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 6 February 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The world we know is totally dependent on the enormous volumes of information that are continually being created, used and registered, at which point they become “data”. Every sector of human existence takes part in this activity of storage, use and registration. The electronic spaces where the data is stored have top value for those who direct, control, guide, protect people’s lives. They also serve to underpin the launching of new businesses and new ways by which business gets done.


Only recently I began to understand better how crucial these so-called data spaces have become. Their financial, strategic and material value is practically unbounded. If well organised, they offer huge platforms from which new initiatives could be set up to improve production and marketing of a wide variety of goods and services.

As of now, I have heard mainly about data spaces in the financial sector where they have already had a significant impact on the management of banks. Now their reach is extending towards the insurance market.

It’s a good move by the EU to have set out to establish a framework within which data spaces could be developed on a continental basis within a  schedule of rules  that will guarantee the welfare of consumers.



Current events in Israel are taking a dangerous turn. To get into government, Prime Minister Netanyahu has given much weight to his coalition allies from the religious “extremes”. These have insisted on tough policies towards the Palestinians and benign ones towards Israelis who settle illegally in areas where Palestinians live. (This apart from the controversy which has been building up about the reforms Netanyahu is proposing to apply to the legal system.)

The Israeli government has sought to divert attention away from what it is doing by focusing attention on Iran (another “extremist” state) which it claims, is sponsoring Palestinian terrorism. The real problem is that increasingly over time, the Israeli government has been acting in a dictatorial manner, that yes, one is sorry to say, is also racist. Which is a huge pity.

Such complaints have been accumulating over the decades as time after time, things go from bad to worse.



Frequently I get the impression that when European institutions evaluate third countries, the leading criterion by which they arrive at their judgement is whether these are run in “democratic” or “autocratic” mode. If they fall in the first category, there is little they can do that is bad. If in the latter, it’s quite certain they do everything badly.

Now, though democratic virtues are extremely positive, it could also happen that a democratic country turns towards agressive and imperialistic aims and behaviour. Should it be given automatic approval just because it is democratic?

A friend remarked: Where did you get this idea from? -- that Europeans infallibly support democracies and give short shrift to authoritarianism? That holds when it is in their interest to do so. But consider what happened as soon as the energy crisis emerged.

They quickly forgot the priority that should be given to democratic values and strove hard to get in the good books of the Arab Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia. Is there anywhere any government that is more authoritarian and ruthless in how it maintains its hold over the people than the Saudi government?


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