The Malta Independent 21 April 2024, Sunday
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Navalny

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 22 February 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

I always felt great sympathy towards Russia as a country, as a culture and towards its citizens as a people, even in Soviet times.

I never could understand the reluctance of Western Europeans to consider Russia as part of the European space. I believed and still do that there was justification in the claims of Russia under Putin (though not to the extent claimed) that NATO was bent on shackling the country. Still I condemned and will still do, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. It totally breached international law. Disputes are not to be settled in this way.

Over the years I strongly disapproved measures that the Putin government began to take against citizens who disagreed with it, not least with the treatment reserved for the courageous Navalny. It became worse when those who disagreed with it were silenced, even liquidated. People who appeared to be creating difficulties for the Putin administration began to die or disappear im mysterious fashion. Finally this also happened to the chief of Russia’s mercenaries who then turned rebel Progozhin.

The worst in all this has been the murder of Alexei Navalny. Gone is all sense of confidence and respect that one could have for the Putin regime. Unfortunately Russia is again being driven into the same dead end it was driven into by the Tsars towards the end of the nineteenth century.

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ENVIRONMENTAL BLUES

We get contradictory stories and reports about the position that as a country we have reached in the ongoing efforts to safeguard the environment and to reverse climate warming. From the government side, stories are released about measures that have been taken or are being proposed. Naturally they do not cover where progress is lagging. Over the latter, environmental and other NGOs have been applying pressure and striving to promote an pro-environmetal consciousness among the public at large.

What we lack is a regular account about the issue as a whole, one that is objective and factual, with no attempt to pull the story one way or the other. So, one could understand synthetically what the actual situation is.

Do we really need to have such a report? Yes, for the environment is probably the sector that poses the greatest challenges for the future. Is there anybody to do it? No.

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PRICES

According to forecasts, the prospects for inflation are improving and it is expected that in coming months the rate of price rises will continue to decline. One can only hope that this will happen.

However the Malta government is doing well in maintaining its efforts to counter inflation with concrete measures that can be adjusted in line with changing circumstances. For despite the improved forecasts, the sources that have been generating uncertainty remain very active, including as they do the war in Ukraine and the massacres at Gaza.

Beyond these uncertainties though, and the inflation in the price of products, one could expect a bump in the price of services delivered internally. Although they form a part of market items which does not always have a significant impact on the cost of living index, they could easily affect negatively middle income strata, and above all lower income earners. It frequently happens that the reasons explaining why and how their prices increase are not so transparent.

                       

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