The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 8 February 2024, 07:00 Last update: about 26 days ago

In coming years the EU will need to resolve the strategic problem of how it is to maintain coherence in its policies. At present, even if after protracted negotiations an agreement has been reached regarding the policy to be followed, it soon appears that agreement has been skin deep across a number of priority areas.

The reason usually advanced to explain this is mostly that with 27 member states, the EU finds it very difficult to align and maintain them all on the same policy compass. Even though this is a fact of life, various other reasons come closer to the bone.

First, there is the problem of how political decisions get taken. So long as a political agreement is reached, little consideration is given to the means and methods by which decisions will then be implemented. Not only are the tools at hand few (especially in the financial area) but as they are deployed, the problems they give rise to generate new quarrels and misunderstandings.

Secondly, after decisions are taken at a “central” European level they frequently encounter a popular resistance at national level. The attempts made by national authorities to damp it down then end up giving contradictory signals. This has been happening all too often. 



I got a fright when I read the headline. The health minister was envisaging the building of a new national hospital! Another story like that of San Raffaele would be in the making! With all the waste of money, the devastation of land, the scandalous planning, the substandard work, the misguided decisions and the corruption that characterised the construction of Mater Dei.

Then I read the whole news article and was relieved The health minister is actually proposing that the St Luke’s complex gets reframed so that ancillary services required to run the hospital at Tal-Qroqq are provided from it, thereby freeing space at Mater Dei which at present is limited there, for more clinical interventions.  Indeed, this would be an excellent strategic approach.

Another consequence of the scandalous manner by which the Mater Dei project developed under the Fenech Adami and Gonzi administrations has been the realization that it is now already too “small” for current needs. As at 1996, they intended the project to provide a “research” hospital, which was crazy. We changed that between 1996 and 1998, converting the project to the construction of a general hospital. But then again the subsequent Fenech Adami administration reduced the operating area for hospital services as well as the number of beds. So now the whole edifice is deemed to be too small! 



The Banana “song” in the latest Maltese competition to prepare for the Eurovision contest enjoyed wide popular support and got a lukewarm reception from the expert jury. Possibly the latter were not attracted by the doltish verbal content that carried no “meaning” and the confused rhythms  and movements, even if they were well synchronised at performance.

However the show could be read as having had a deeper meaning, with a message that reflected satirically on the nature of entertainment in this era of electronic communication. Not just because of the reference to bananas, but also in the arrangement of gestures and rhytms: the techniques and means of modern entertainment require and encourage among members of audiences attitudes that do not have to be more complex than those developed by monkeys. (Monkeys might feel slandered by this.) Yet the naive popularity enjoyed by the show served to underscore its satiric implications.
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