The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Armaments and funds

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 10 June 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 4 days ago

In coming years, given its “new” policies on security and defence, the EU will surely need to increase its outlays on armaments and other military equipment. For the Union’s budget to expand – as will become necessary, member states will need to increase their contribution towards it. Many will resist this.

On paper, the EU could (like any other government) still incrrease its expenditures without jacking up its revenues by borrowing to finance the resulting deficit, as France has suggested. But Germany and a number of countries which share its outlook are still unwaveringly saying no.

If the cake is not going to be larger, it will still have to be shared out among a larger number of objectives, among which those related to defence will loom. Which logically will come to mean that other sectors to which significant Union funds are allocated – like agriculture and social sectors – will lose out on what they get now. Those countries which rely on the Union for such funds will rebel.

And meanwhile, what will happen to those standing European commitments against climate warming and for greater investments in European digital structures?

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THEATRE

I always found it curious that some people are surprised that confrontations and disputes arise so easily in politiics. Is there any need to create endless arguments about trivial matters? – that’s how they put it.

True, exagerrations in how political controversies arise make no sense. However, it has to be kept in mind that in politics, citizens are expected to make choices about how the society in which they live is to be run.

The choices need to be brought alive and given meaning, which is not an easy thing to do. It is through political debate that this can happen... and implicitly this means that there have to be at least two sides, one which says yes, and another side which says nay, because it has a better proposal. The way by which awareness can be raised and encouraged about the  range of possible choices  is via the political theatre of confrontation.

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REPETITION

Repetition is indispensable. Without it, practically no message can be delivered effectively. Nobody would even notice the message, or almost.

We have seen it being deployed in the elections campaign which has just ended. Few messages were beng communicated but they were being relentlessly repeated in every meeting, every political programme, every advert over electronic or traditional media. Modern advertising and public relations have made repetition easier, more tenacious. The challenge is how to ensure that such a repetitive mode keeps sounding fresh and interesting.

For actually the danger remains that with persons who have a more than superficial interest in the issues which happen to be salient, repetition could end up blanking out all attention.

Still, though the risk of this happening cannot be discounted, neither should it be overstressed. The effectiveness of repetition remains a “supreme” factor. In recent weeks I did meet individuals (and they were not older people) who were asking: After all, what are these elections really about?      
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