The Malta Independent 29 May 2024, Wednesday
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Disasters

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 18 September 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 9 months ago

Disaster situations in the Mediterranean area have multiplied. Enormous fires in Spain, Portugal, France and Greece. A huge earthquake in Morocco. A flood in Libya. A volcano eruption in Sicily. And others.

After decades during which we have been discussing the need for greater unity in the Med, it seems like there still does not exist a common mechanism by which the states that border the sea can come to each other’s assistance when problems emerge. Assistance is offered but on an ad hoc basis depending on the crisis that has arisen, quite late and possibly less than enough.

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Even in the organization of solidarity, the Mediterranean peoples have still not managed to organize an effective way of doing things. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the whole area which used to be a single political entity became so fragmented that apparently it could not again find a proper basis on which to come closer.

I will not argue that Malta should serve as a bridge between the north and the south of the region. Since when it first got spoken about, I believed that this dream from the past was totally unrealistic. Even so, no one can deny that there is a need to find some common factor that promotes greater unity and cooperation between all corners of “our” neighbourhood. Not least as a safeguard against natural disasters.

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COST OF LIVING

Disquiet about the increase in the cost of living is deeepening. When this happens, inflation takes longer to subside.

Initially it was said that price increases resulted from the impact on international trade flows of the Covid pandemic. The systems by which essential products were carried from point to point in a “globalised” world had been disrupted. The resulting delays caused scarcities that impacted on prices. As soon as Covid died down, we were told, matters would ease. They did not, partly becauase the war in the Ukraine created new shortages.

Today, there is a growing recognition that the current inflation reflects more profound changes than those that Covid and the Ukraine war on their own brought in their wake. Yet there does not seem to be unanimous agreement as to what these changes really consist of. The fight against inflation in Europe is becoming increasingly complex.

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SCANDALS

The political scenario would not be what it is if it lacked the scandals that regularly ferment within political circles. That ferment frequently reaches out to people at large including those who are uninterested in politics.

The means of communication and now the social media enter the picture to pour fuel into the flames of controversies. Even more than political actors, journalists of all sorts are interested in the scandals that arise, seeing them as an opportunity to attract and increase readership. Those who happen to have the task of getting more information on ongoing scandals share a sense of adventure and discovery as they go about their work.

Apart from the abuses and mistakes they expose, scandals unfortunately have the negative effect of showing that politics mostly – if not totally – amount to a sordid game played by rascals for rascals. This is not fair on politicians who do their work honestly and with dedication. They exist and they are not few.

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