The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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The Middle East as never before

Alfred Sant Monday, 20 November 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 9 months ago

Today the two sides – Israelis and Palestinians – seem caught in a conflict in which one side needs to annihilate the other.

Events of the past few weeks have injected a new poison in relations between the two peoples and it is difficult to say how it could be leached out. What is worse is that as killings and barbaric warfare spread during the past weeks, the popular sentiment will harden on both sides so that truly the aim will be to destroy completely the other side. Not just in the course of the present conflict, but later as well, no matter who now “wins”.

The struggles that persisted in the Middle East have always been bitter, but never as bitter as today.

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STRASBOURG AND XMAS

The beautiful city of Strasbourg boasts that it serves as a capital in a number of  dimensions... Europe... Christmas...

A problem though is that the facilities which could bring people easily to the city have remained quite primitive. I know because for the past years I visited practically every month. Despite this, Strasbourg’s leaders keep stressing that the city is the European capital of this and that.

Where they are completely correct is with regards to Christmas. The markets that spring to life at this time are packed with activity, overflow across the city, offering lots of different attractions that successfully bring in big crowds.

Still Strasbourg should not be too complacent on this matter. Apart from what is being done in other locations of the Alsace region: various  European cities have been developing and extending their Christmas celebrations. And you can reach them much more easily. Cities like Brussels.

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END OF THE MANDATE

The six months that remain before the present mandate of the European Parliament expires would seem to be enough to finalise European laws that have advanced in the legislative process. Still in practice, these six months amount to a much shorter work period, measured in weeks, than appears at first sight. They include the Christmas break as well as weeks during which a number of MEPs are going to be busy with their re-election campaigns.

Moreover, before the legislative process can come to an end, it has to go through the phase of negotiations with the Council. Spain is President in exercise of the Council till end year, followed by Belgium for the next six months. Internal political constraints in the country with the presidency, will likely lengthen this phase of negotiations. So will the need to keep other member states in the loop regarding points being negotiated and about which their agreement is needed when compromises with the European Parliament are being fleshed out.

Chances are not slim: the new Parliament will inherit a number of legal drafts that are only half cooked.

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