Sociologist, Local Councillor, Politician from Malta
MEP Candidate - Partit Nazzjonalista (EPP).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

X'Unjoni Ewropea irridu? Michael Briguglio



L-Unjoni Ewropea qed tħabbat wiċċha ma' sfidi importanti f'għadd ta' oqsma differenti. Fl-istess waqt ma rridux ninsew li l-UE għamlet u għadha tagħmel ħafna kisbiet, li aħna kultant ma napprezzawx.



F'dawn l-aħħar għaxar snin, il-kriżi finanzjarja dinjija wasslet biex il-kundizzjonijiet ta' għajxien ta' ħafna nies imorru għall-agħar madwar l-Unjoni. Iżda l-eqqel tal-kriżi jidher li għadda u xejriet reċenti wrew titjib ekonomiku f'diversi pajjiżi, pereżempju rati aktar baxxi ta' qgħad. Madankollu, anke meta l-istatistika turi xejriet pożittivi, it-tbatija ta' kuljum li jgħaddu minnha bosta individwi ma għandhiex tiġi injorata. Analiżi soċjali xierqa għandha tikkonċentra kemm fuq fatturi kwantitattivi kif ukoll fuq fatturi kwalitattivi.



L-UE ħadmet, u għandha taħdem aktar, biex trawwem politika soċjali li tintegra l-ġid ekonomiku mal-ġid soċjali. Għandu jkompli jiġi żviluppat investiment soċjali permezz ta' tagħlim tul il-ħajja, l-għoti ta' setgħa liċ-ċittadini, u l-kapital uman sabiex l-individwi jkunu mgħammra biex jiffaċċjaw ir-riskji u l-opportunitajiet fil-ħajja ta' kuljum tagħhom.



Il-mudell ekonomiku Ewropew għandu jipprova wkoll isib bilanċ bejn ir-rwol tal-Unjoni bħala ċentru ta' kummerċ dinji u l-istandards soċjali, ekonomiċi u ambjentali għoljin tagħha. Jista' jinħoloq aktar xogħol fl-UE jekk tingħata aktar importanza lill-investiment f'setturi bħall-enerġija: dan ikun siewi wkoll minn perspettiva ġeopolitika.



B'rabta ma' din il-perspettiva, qed isir dejjem aktar ċar li l-UE teħtieġ politika barranija koerenti u strateġija komuni għas-sigurtà jekk trid li jkollha leħen b'saħħtu fuq il-livell dinji. Id-dipendenza tal-UE fuq l-Istati Uniti fil-qasam tas-sigurtà bħalissa hi inċerta, u Ewropa maqsuma tista' tkun ta' ħsara għall-Ewropa u ta' vantaġġ għal setgħat dinjin oħrajn.



Fl-istess waqt, madankollu, nemmen li l-Unjoni Ewropea għandha tagħti aktar spazju lir-realtajiet nazzjonali, reġjonali u lokali fi ħdan qafas ġenerali tal-UE. Eżempju tajjeb ta' dan huwa l-politika tal-UE dwar it-tibdil fil-klima, li għandha mira waħdanija tal-UE iżda miri nazzjonali differenti fid-dawl tas-sitwazzjonijiet differenti f'kull stat membru. B'dan il-mod, l-istati membri tal-UE qed jaqsmu s-sovranità tagħhom billi jkollhom leħen aktar b'saħħtu fid-dinja iżda li xorta waħda jirrispetta r-realtajiet nazzjonali.


Problema politika kbira madwar l-UE hija li qed jikbru u jinfirxu partiti u sentimenti populisti u Ewro-xettiċi li qed jipproponu soluzzjonijiet ta' malajr għat-tħassib tan-nies dwar kwistjonijiet bħall-migrazzjoni. Meta ma jkunx jista' jinstab kunsens mal-Unjoni kollha, l-UE għandha tippromwovi koalizzjonijiet ta' pajjiżi u organizzazzjonijiet ta' rieda tajba li jkunu lesti jgħinu lil xulxin. Kif inhuma l-affarijiet, jista' jkun li dan hu l-aktar mezz vijabbli: inkella, qed nissograw li nispiċċaw f'paraliżi istituzzjonali. Nemmen ukoll li għandu jsir aktar investiment fi programmi ta' integrazzjoni soċjali u ta' solidarjetà madwar l-Unjoni.



L-isfida attwali tal-migrazzjoni tfakkarna wkoll li l-Ewropa li għandha wirt b'saħħtu ta' libertà, drittijiet tal-bniedem u s-saltna tad-dritt hija l-istess Ewropa li għaddiet mit-totalitarjaniżmu u li f'bosta żminijiet ipprattikat il-kolonjaliżmu. Barra minn hekk, il-kelma 'migrazzjoni' nnifisha jeħtieġ li nqisuha mill-perspettiva tal-baħar ta' identitajiet, lealtajiet u twemmin f'Unjoni ta' diversità. 


Sfida oħra li l-UE qed tħabbat wiċċha magħha hi s-saltna tad-dritt. Għal darb'oħra hemm kunflitti ċari bejn dawk favur standards Ewropej u l-Ewroxettiċi u jidher li ma teżistix soluzzjoni sempliċi. Dan ifakkarna fir-rwol tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea li tara li l-istati membri jżommu ma' standards bażiċi u fl-għażliet li l-elettorat Ewropew ser ikollu jagħmel fl-elezzjonijiet nazzjonali u dawk Ewropej. L-Ewroxettiċi sikwit qed jippreżentaw argumenti b'aktar passjoni u kemm il-darba jirbħu l-ġlieda tal-komunikazzjoni.


B'rabta ma' dan, istituzzjonijiet, partiti politiċi u organizzazzjonijiet tas-soċjetà ċivili favur l-UE għandhom irawmu sens li aħna lkoll għandna sehem fl-Ewropa. Dan ifisser ukoll li r-rappreżentanti tan-nies fil-Parlament Ewropew għandhom ikunu eqreb tan-nies billi jisimgħu t-tħassib u r-realtajiet ta' kuljum tagħhom fil-kostitwenzi rispettivi tagħhom u jikkonċentraw inqas fuq ir-retorika, li n-nies ma għandhom l-ebda rabta magħha.


J
ekk irridu nħarsu u ntejbu l-kisbiet tal-Unjoni Ewropea, bħall-paċi, is-solidarjetà u s-sostenibbiltà, irridu naraw li l-individwi, il-gruppi u s-soċjetajiet Ewropej iħossuhom li huma parti mill-istituzzjonijiet tal-UE u li tassew qed jieħdu sehem fihom.

Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 23 ta' Settembru 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Qed ikollna nimxu fit-triq minflok fuq il-bankina - Michael Briguglio


Fdan il-vlog f'The Malta Independent nispjega kif il-bankini tagħna qed jiġu okkupati minn imwejjed u siġġijiet u minn kostruzzjoni traskurata.

Tista tara l-filmat minn dan il-link:

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-09-17/blogs-opinions/People-having-to-walk-on-roads-instead-of-pavements-6736196458

Cheques and Pensioners - Michael Briguglio


Times of Malta 12 September 2018

When people receive tax refunds, they are receiving what is theirs by right from payments they made to the government. They usually receive a notice about this in their tax statement and move on with their life. The government has taken this a step further through a public relations stunt: Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna held a press conference to announce the delivery of specific cheques, which were sent together with a propagandist letter to thousands of workers.
A few days ago, someone sarcastically told me that the tax money that is being refunded to people have already been paid up by the same people through the higher utility bills courtesy of an illegal billing method. Within the social media others joked that the refund could be used at pharmacists to buy anti-pollution products, and some said that government’s boasting about the refund was an insult to those struggling with rent and loan payments. In a tweet, Times of Malta opinionist André DeBattista referred to this as ‘bread and circus’ politics.
Many others have been saying that the government is somewhat forgetful of the fact that 95,000 pensioners in Malta are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in view of rising costs amid an increasing inflation rate. As things stand, around 22,000 pensions are at risk of poverty: rises in fuel costs, utility bills, food stuffs and many other items are not making things better.
The highest government pension in Malta is around €13,200 and the only consolation to such pensioners is that they are tax exempt. But unlike tax-exempt workers they did not benefit from a government cheque. I invite readers to check out a recent public tweet exchange by Alfred Mangion and the Finance Minister for more information on the matter.
This takes me to a recommendable read by Carmel Mallia (September 7) regarding pensioners’ budget expectations. Mallia reminds his readers that for the past decade the Alliance of Pensioners Organisations has been addressing the importance of adequate pensions.
It is important to note that a recent report by the European Social Protection Committee and the European Commission confirmed that Malta’s two-thirds government pension was inadequate, something which even I elaborated upon in a recent article in this newspaper.
In this regard, Mallia reports how the relative median income rate for older people (65+) decreased between 2008 and 2016, that women are worse off and that there is age discrimination in various measures introduced in the two-thirds pension, “namely in the capping of the maximum pensionable income, the guaranteed national minimum pension and in the yearly reassessment of pension”.
The report in question shows that one cannot survive on a pension in Malta and affirms that the gender gap among pensioners is one of the highest in the EU. It adds that during the period under review (2008-16), the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for older people has increased, especially for those aged 75 and over, even though the relative poverty gap for persons aged 65 or over showed a marked improvement.
The pensions report in question also recommends a proper indexation of pensions to mitigate the erosion of pensioners’ purchasing power. This should include a basket of goods and services needed by older people. The recommended formula is one which reflects 50 per cent wage inflation and 50 per cent retail price inflation.
It also recommends the possibility for persons to create their own pensions schemes instead of the State-run one.  To this, I would like to add that the current government has abandoned Malta’s previous efforts to include a second-pillar pension which could help foster responsibility and sustainability.
Given that thousands of pensioners are finding it difficult to make ends meet, it is about time that the Minister of Finance introduces substantive measures in the upcoming budget. Otherwise, they will have to keep making personal sacrifices or depend on other sources of income and assistance, if available, to make ends meet.
Malta requires national consensus on the pensions policy: let us commit ourselves to cross-generational solidarity within a caring society.