Sociologist, Local Councillor, Activist from Malta

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Nationalism and migration - Michael Briguglio

Picture: Adrian Paci (detail) centro di permanenza temporanea, 2007.

Times of Malta, 30 July 2018

Electoral results in the Western world clearly show that nationalism is a key source of identity for many voters. Yet the term nationalism does not have a monolithic meaning: it can be equally inspiring to those who believe in a society based on solidarity and the common good and those who believe in a society that is strictly aligned to one identity, whether religious, cultural or ideological.

Needless to say, migration is a key social and political issue across Europe. One social scientific survey after the other confirms that people across the continent are concerned with the matter. It would be irresponsible for politicians and policymakers to ignore this, although this does not mean that there is one way how to address the issue. I also don’t believe that a simple magic formula exists for such complex matters.

In the meantime, political parties that are articulating strong exclusionary discourse on the matter are currently riding on a wave of discontent in countries across the continent. Even in Sweden, often considered the most refugee-friendly country in the world, the populist Democratic Party is currently topping the polls.  Recent national election results in Italy, Austria, Hungary and other countries are clear tasters of what to expect in upcoming European elections unless more electorally effective political strategies are formulated.

Yet there are exceptions to this trend: Emanuel Macron and Angela Merkel immediately come to mind, even though the latter is constantly facing calls for tougher migration policies. The logic of parliamentary numbers means that often she must compromise on her otherwise solidarity-oriented stances.
At the same time, some political scientists have found that when moderate mainstream parties in countries such as Italy and Germany adopted a tougher stance on migration compared to their previous stances, this still did not stop populist parties from doing well in elections. But does this mean that the such parties should do the opposite and simply ignore people’s concerns on migration? I believe that this will open even bigger windows of opportunity for populists.

To me, the current scenario means that nationalism should be articulated in a politically productive way that values solidarity and the dignity of the person. I think that what should be done is to articulate discourse that seeks freedom and the common good through both rights and responsibilities within the nation in particular and the EU in general.   Such a nationalism should not be exclusively associated with one identity at the exclusion of others: what it can do is to define the common good in a way that people with different backgrounds can be part of society if the basic norms are adhered to. 

This form of patriotism would therefore not be aligned to a colour, race or belief. It would be aligned to basic values that unite people, such as respect and tolerance. It would emphasise the need to have shared language so that people can communicate.

It would value mainstream traditions and welcome traditions of newcomers, as long as there is mutual respect and the established rights of the individual are not trampled upon.

Lifestyles and cultures that promote intolerance, violence and oppression should not form part of such a scenario.

Cultural, ideological and political majorities would need to respect the rights of minorities, but the opposite would have to be in place too. The adversary of this form of nationalism would be the various forms of fundamentalism that are either too exclusive or else which want a free-for-all scenario with no binding norms and values.

Of course, implementing such politics is easier said than done. In an EU context, responsibility sharing for refugees is a tough nut to crack, and as things stand I cannot foresee a solution other than voluntary responsibility sharing through coalitions of willing nations.

This, in turn, requires a give and take approach among member states, which are ready to assist each other and to subscribe to basic European values. It also requires a more solidaristic give and take approach with third countries facing humanitarian crises. An example of this would be to assist with resources and aid in return for accountability and respect of people’s human rights.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Konsultazzjoni xierqa dwar l-iżvilupp - Michael Briguglio



Studju li sar dan l-aħħar minn tliet akkademiċi Daniżi jevalwa l-parteċipazzjoni pubblika fil-politika urbana. L-istudju ta' Marie Leth Meilvang, Hjalmar Bang Carlsen u Anders Blok deher fil-European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology u janalizza l-bidliet reċenti fl-għamliet kulturali-politiċi tal-parteċipazzjoni ċivika fl-ippjanar urbanistiku formali fid-Danimarka.



Dan l-istudju juri kif f'dawn l-aħħar 40 sena, il-parteċipazzjoni ċivika fl-ippjanar urbanistiku kienet ikkaratterizzata minn tensjonijiet dwar il-proċessi ta' teħid ta' deċiżjonijiet. Din is-sitwazzjoni ġiet studjata b'modi differenti fi ħdan approċċ akkademiku definit bħala soċjoloġija pragmatika.



Mod wieħed kif nagħtu ħarsa lejn tensjonijiet bħal dawn huwa billi nanalizzaw il-prattiki u l-proċessi ta' ġustifikazzjoni, kritika u kompromess fil-proċessi ta' teħid ta' deċiżjonijiet. Approċċ ieħor fil-qasam janalizza kif l-involviment tal-pubbliku jiddependi mill-familjarità tal-persuni involuti mal-postijiet ikkonċernati, filwaqt li approċċ ieħor janalizza kif l-ibliet jiġu ordnati permezz ta' miri u indikaturi li jistgħu jitkejlu, li jinkludu u jeskludu prattiki rispettivi.



Fid-Danimarka u għadd ta' stati membri oħrajn tal-UE, il-kunsilli lokali għandhom ir-responsabbiltà demokratika aħħarija għall-ippjanar, u l-awtoritajiet rispettivi tagħhom jikkoordinaw proċeduri ta' parteċipazzjoni formali u informali, li jinvolvu ċittadini ordinarji, organizzazzjonijiet mhux governattivi (NGOs), gruppi ta' interess u oħrajn. Ir-reazzjonijiet rispettivi tagħhom għall-proposti ta' żvilupp jintbagħtu lill-awtoritajiet u b'hekk tiġi stimulata 'konverżazzjoni', fejn ikun hemm djalogu bejn kritika u ġustifikazzjonijiet.



Djalogu bħal dan iseħħ f'laqgħat ta' interess u sessjonijiet ta' ħidma, u d-differenzi fil-fehmiet u l-opinjonijiet jiġu rikonoxxuti u mħeġġa bħala kontributi siewja għall-ippjanar urbanistiku.



Dan l-istudju sibtu utli ħafna għall-kuntest Malti. L-esperjenza tiegħi fil-politika lokali u r-riċerka soċjoloġika tiegħi wassluni biex nikkonkludi li l-konsultazzjoni pubblika hi proċess inkonsistenti f'Malta. Jekk Malta kienet miexja bil-mod lejn aktar razzjonalizzazzjoni u standardizzazzjoni wara li ssieħbet fl-UE, illum in-norma l-ġdida hi li jitbaxxew dejjem aktar l-istandards.



Tabilħaqq, sikwit ħafna, l-applikazzjonijiet għall-iżvilupp jiġu approvati, għall-ġid tal-applikanti u tal-interessi politiċi dominanti. Il-kwantità tal-applikazzjonijiet tirbaħ fuq il-kwalità tagħhom, u dan iwassal għall-industrijalizzazzjoni tal-permessi.



Il-parir espert, inkluż dak minn sorsi interni, ta’ spiss jingħata anqas importanza milli tingħata l-pressjoni politika. Mhux ta' b'xejn li l-esperti qed jitilqu minn strutturi bħall-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar.



Madankollu, hemm eċċezzjonijiet għal dan, u sikwit dawn ikunu kkaratterizzati minn oppożizzjoni b'saħħitha mir-residenti, NGOs ambjentali, kunsilli lokali, mill-inqas partit politiku ewlieni wieħed u rappurtar fil-mezzi tax-xandir.



Għaldaqstant, il-proċessi Maltin ta' teħid ta' deċiżjonijiet dwar l-applikazzjonijiet għall-iżvilupp għandhom element politiku qawwi, bil-politiċi spiss jaġixxu bħala intermedjarji jew intraprendituri favur jew kontra dawn il-proposti. Il-pajsaġġi urbani u rurali joffru l-materja prima għal dawn id-diskussjonijiet.



Relazzjonijiet mill-qrib ma' intraprendituri politiċi għalhekk jistgħu jkunu investiment tajjeb kemm għal dawk li jkunu qed jipproponu kif ukoll għal dawk li jkunu qed jopponu proposti speċifiċi. Il-politiċi li jgawdu s-setgħa tal-kariga tagħhom għandhom aktar riżorsi, iżda s-setgħa tagħhom qatt ma hi bla limitu, u huwa għalhekk li jinfetħu twieqi ta' opportunità għall-oppożizzjoni.



L-applikazzjonijiet għall-iżvilupp dejjem ser ikollhom implikazzjonijiet politiċi sa ċertu punt, iżda nemmen li wasal iż-żmien li Malta tibda tieħu dawn il-proċessi tassew bis-serjetà. Ma jkunx aħjar kieku l-konsultazzjoni tal-partijiet ikkonċernati tkun strutturata aħjar u kieku l-ilħna tal-esperti jingħataw aktar importanza?



L-eżempju Daniż li semmejt jipprovdi xi metodi li jistgħu jiġu kkunsidrati f'Malta. Madankollu dawn ikunu jinvolvu s-sussidjarjetà, fejn il-kunsilli lokali jingħataw aktar awtorità milli għandhom bħalissa, u fejn il-konsultazzjoni tkun aktar organika u djaloġika, bl-involviment ta' partijiet ikkonċernati differenti u medjazzjoni minn esperti fdati.



Xi nies isaqsu x'inhi l-pożizzjoni tal-UE fi kwistjonijiet bħal dawn. Fil-biċċa l-kbira tal-każijiet, Malta twettaq valutazzjonijiet tal-impatt ambjentali fuq proposti kbar għall-iżvilupp, u b'hekk tħares ir-rekwiżiti bażiċi tal-UE. Iżda wasal iż-żmien li nħarsu lejn il-kwalità u mhux biss il-kwantità ta' valutazzjonijiet bħal dawn, u wasal ukoll iż-żmien li nipproponu li l-impatt kumulattiv tal-iżvilupp fuq skala żgħira kollu li qed isir jingħata aktar importanza milli qed jingħata bħalissa.



Għal din ir-raġuni Malta teħtieġ gvern iżgħar u inqas interferenza politika fit-teħid tad-deċizzjonijiet dwar proposti ta’ żvilupp u soċjetà u kontribut espert ikbar f'dan il-qasam. Ir-rwol tal-politiċi għandu jkun it-titjib u l-iskrutinju tat-tfassil tal-politika fuq il-livell lokali, dak nazzjonali u dak Ewropew.

Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 29 ta' Lulju 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Is-saħħa mentali f'pajjiżna - Michael Briguglio


F'dan il-vlog f'The Malta Independent niddiskuti s-saħħa mentali f'pajjiżna u r-rapport ta' l-Awditur Ġenerali f'dan ir-rigward.

Il-filmat jinstab hawn: http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-07-25/blogs-opinions/Mental-health-6736193944

Monday, July 23, 2018

Ideology, political calculation - Michael Briguglio


Times of Malta, 23 July 2018

What’s in an ideological tag? Some argue that in today’s liquid societies, ideologies are as outdated as typewriters.

Others believe their own political stance to be objective and correct, to the contrary of other stances that are labelled as being ideological, subjective, biased and so forth. Such labelling is sometimes articulated both by extreme liberals whose liberalism morphs into dogmatic authoritarianism as well as by ultra-conservatives who fail to understand social changes of our times.

Being closer to the liberal side myself, I am quite preoccupied by a new dogmatism which is being pronounced by extreme liberals who believe in inevitable ‘progress’ that demolishes traditions that they may detest. They believe that history should be accelerated towards their preferred direction and that critics are mere reactionaries who are clinging to prejudice.

Such extreme liberalism is articulated in various ways. For example, economic progress is seen as inevitable no matter the social and environmental impacts. Body politics is dubbed as the triumph of identity and technology even if critics raise queries on natural characteristics that cannot simply be erased through social construction.

Like other extremists of all stripes and colours, extreme liberalism may also shun compromise, moderation and measure because they may interfere with their absolute ‘truth’.

Critics of this approach include moderates within both the liberal and conservative poles. They may argue that society may be too hypercharged to give time for reflexive dialogue and to value the inherited wisdom of tradition. Mind you, not all traditions are to be valued. But this does not mean that tradition should be rubbished just because it happens to promote constructive continuity.

In all truth, it is power which implements ideological positions, though this may often be influenced by other factors and unintended consequences. Whether such ideologies are supported by evidence or by holistic consultation is another matter.

I will supplement my argument with examples from Malta. The Labour government was democratically elected on a mandate to carry out social changes, and its big parliamentary majority gives it the comfort to keep pressing its accelerator. A key aspect of Labour’s strategy is to deliver electoral commitments to specific groups even if there may be ramifications on sustainability and the common good.

But as long as such commitments do not impinge on the immediate interests or concerns of other groups, or if the latter are seen as being electorally less significant than the groups benefitting from Labour’s commitments, then the changes in question go ahead.

One may say that this is the essence of democratic politics, and in a way this is true. But such politics also require responsibility, and this in turn also means evaluating the different forms of impacts of policymaking.
Let me give some examples. Quite a good number of people are making lots of money out of Labour’s lax planning policies. Extra storeys can be rented or sold, development on ODZ land can result in super profits, and low construction standards save costs. In turn this results in votes for Labour.

 People who oppose such practices may be resigned, may be seduced to participate in the new order or may belong to the demograph of voters who already do not support Labour. But are such policies responsible, when Malta’s landscape is becoming increasingly polluted, urbanised and congested?

Labour’s policy process on IVF and surrogacy are other cases in point. Granted, there are different views on these issues, including opposing expert positions, and one also notes that surrogacy was not included in the recent IVF reforms.

But is the government really listening to different voices and recommendations? Given that the Nationalist Party in government itself introduced IVF in 2012, could Labour have done more to reach consensus, or did it give absolute primacy to its own ideological position and its electoral calculations?

I believe that it is only normal to have different ideological positions in a liberal democracy, and it is such diversity which gives life to the democratic process itself. But when such positions become entrenched in enclaves of political calculation or dogmatism, we become all the poorer through a lack of dialogue.

Yes, Labour has a big parliamentary majority and a strong mandate for various reforms. But if anything, this should give extra comfort for proper dialogue, comprehensive consultation and thorough analysis of evidence.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Egrant Findings

When the corruption protests started the Egrant story had not yet erupted.

Unlike Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri 's involvement in Panama papers, no one has admitted he/she owns Egrant. The inquiry proved that no proof of ownership has been found yet and that allegations to date have not been proven. So it raises more questions...like who falsified the signatures and why? Prime Minister Joseph Muscat still has alot to answer for, particularly on involvement of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi  in the Panama Papers scandal, and for his chief of staff owning a bank account in Pilatus Bank.

Muscat probably called the enquiry on Egrant as he knew legal proof would never come out - he consequently rode the political wave. This was clear from day one. On the other hand Hearnville and Tillgate had full proof but Labour 's strong majority  and the power of Schembri and Mizzi in the triumvarate made them untouchable. Hence in latter case Politics prevailed over rule of Law... And this is extremely sad and worrying.

Muscat is now in good stead to turn his attention to the 2 sister companies Hearnville and Tillgate whose owners are known. He should hold Schembri and Mizzi to the same standard he held himself.

I will keep being active for justice and truth with my colleagues.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Kemm nistgħu nkunu liberi? – Michael Briguglio

Picture: Freedom Dance - George Mullen, 1999
Meta wieħed jagħti ħarsa lejn l-iżvilupp ekonomiku, kwistjonijiet etiċi, jew il-liġi u l-ordni pubbliku, jara li l-libertà individwali sikwit hi l-fattur ewlieni li jimmotiva t-tfassil tal-politika f'Malta bħalissa. Isiru eċċezzjonijiet meta jkunu involuti l-interessi politiċi u ekonomiċi tal-grupp dominanti li jmexxi l-pajjiż.



Għal diversi filosfi u soċjologi, il-libertà hi l-fattur ewlieni li jimmotiva l-imġiba tal-bnedmin, iżda t-tifsira ta' din il-frażi trid tiġi kkwalifikata. Nemmen li meta wieħed janalizza din il-kwistjoni, wieħed għandu jsaqsi kif il-libertà ta' persuna waħda tista' tkun kompatibbli mal-libertà tal-oħrajn.



Dan hu differenti mill-argument li l-libertà ta' individwu għandha tirbaħ fuq kollox u li s-sistemi morali jibdluna f'entitajiet passivi u doċili. Tabilħaqq, bosta argumenti għal libertà bla rażan sikwit ikunu huma stess marbutin ma' sistemi morali: il-libertinaġġ huwa fih innifsu twemmin. Għaldaqstant, libertarju huwa lsir ta' egoiżmu bla tmiem?



Il-perspettiva tiegħi dwar il-libertà hija differenti wkoll mit-twemmin li l-ħajja hija biss taqbida bla waqfien biex wieħed isalva. Tassew li lkoll ser immutu, u iva, xi wħud minna huma aktar b'saħħithom minn oħrajn. Iżda persuna tista' tkun fiżikament aktar b'saħħitha mill-ġar tagħha iżda psikoloġikament aktar dgħajfa biex tħabbat wiċċha mal-isfidi li tiltaqa' magħhom. U daqskemm il-kompetizzjoni tista' tagħti inċentiv lil dak li jkun biex itejjeb il-qagħda tiegħu, daqstant il-kooperazzjoni jista' jkollha riżultati pożittivi. Nemmen li l-kuntest hu kruċjali f’dan ir-rigward.



Nemmen ukoll li ta' spiss il-libertà tista' tirriżulta f'konsegwenzi mhux intenzjonati f'diversi direzzjonijiet, kemm pożittivi kif ukoll negattivi.  B'rabta ma dawn tal-aħħar, l-istorja turina li proġetti “grandjużi” li wiegħdu l-liberazzjoni tal-umanità spiċċaw biex wasslu għall-oppost, fejn sikwit spiċċaw biex daru għar-repressjoni, it-tfigħ il-ħabs jew il-qtil ta' dawk li ddubitaw il-pjanijiet "liberi" tal-mexxejja "illuminati" u l-veritajiet assoluti tagħhom.



Jekk immexxu l-ipoteżi tal-"konsegwenzi mhux intenzjonati" għal Malta llum, nemmen li l-introduzzjoni mgħaġġla mill-gvern ta' leġislazzjoni f'bosta oqsma jista' jkollha konsegwenzi mhux intenzjonati li setgħu ġew evitati kieku l-proċess ta' tfassil ta' politika kien iktar kawt u olistiku.



Kif inhuma l-affarijiet, it-tfassil ta' politika f'Malta jista' jkun li qed ixaqleb iżżejjed lejn l-estrem tal-libertà mingħajr ma jqis implikazzjonijiet bħas-sostenibbiltà u l-etika. Dan l-approċċ jista' jirbaħ il-voti ta' dawk li jgawdu direttament, iżda jirrispetta l-ġejjieni u dawk li jista' jkun ikollhom iħallsu l-prezz ta’ tfassil ta' politika bħal dan?



Naħseb li pajjiżna jeħtieġ li jikkwalifika l-perspettiva tiegħu tal-libertà. Tista' titqies sostenibbli jekk tiġi rikonoxxuta bħala dipendenti mil-libertà tal-oħrajn, u b'hekk tiġi rrikonċiljata mar-responsabbiltà u l-interdipendenza. Idealment, l-Istat għandu jidher li huwa l-entità li tagħti l-garanzija aħħarija tar-rikonċiljazzjoni tal-libertà individwali mal-ġid komuni. Għaldaqstant,  idealment il-lingwaġġ politiku ma jikkonċentrax biss fuq il-libertà, iżda jenfasizza wkoll is-solidarjetà, id-dinjità, ir-reċiproċità u r-responsabbiltà.



Minkejja dan l-argument, nagħraf li d-djalettika bejn il-libertà u l-ġid komuni xi kultant diffiċli li tasal għal rikonċiljazzjoni. Il-politiċi sikwit ikollhom biċċa xogħol iebsa biex jaqtgħu linja fit-tfassil tal-politika, u din tiġi influwenzata wkoll mill-interessi konfliġġenti ta’ lobbies differenti. Il-biża’ tiegħi hi li l-gvern bħalissa qed jikkonċentra wisq fuq id-denominatur komuni l-iżjed baxx fi ħdan iċ-ċiklu elettorali.



Barra minn hekk, il-libertà minna nfisha tista’ tkun kunċett ambigwu. Ta’ spiss ikollna nagħmlu għażliet u ngħixu bihom fit-tajjeb u l-ħażin. Nistgħu ma nkunux ċerti dwar ir-riżultati tad-deċiżjonijiet tagħna, u dan parzjalment jispjega l-ansjetà akbar ta’ żminijietna.



Kif darba qal Eckhart Tolle, sikwit niskopru li l-ħajja hi aktar avventura milli vjaġġ ippjanat: u li nippruvaw naħarbu mil-libertà u r-responsabbiltà jista’ jitqies “twemmin ħażin”, kif darba saħaq Jean Paul Sartre.



F’dan, jien ningħaqad ma’ Zygmunt Bauman fit-twemmin li qatt ma jista’ jkun hemm tweġiba finali għad-djalettika bejn il-libertà u l-ġid komuni. Dak li għandna nagħmlu hu li nevitaw assolutiżmi ideoloġiċi u minflok ninvestu f’soċjetà li taħseb u tirrifletti.



L-għanijiet ta’ soċjetà bħal din ikunu li kull wieħed u waħda minna jkollha l-ħila tħabbat wiċċha mal-ħajja ta’ kuljum u li niġbru r-riżorsi tagħna biex ngħinu biex tiġi garantita ħajja deċenti. L-ewwel għan jitlob aktar investiment f’oqsma bħax-xjenzi umanistiċi, l-etika u l-psikoloġija; it-tieni għan jitlob sistema ta’ sigurtà soċjali li tħares lil hinn miċ-ċikli elettorali.


Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 22 ta' Lulju 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Urban development - Michael Briguglio

Picture: Dialogue - Pedro Paricio (2011)

Times of Malta 16 July 2018

A recent study by three Danish scholars evaluates public participation in urban politics. The study by Marie Leth Meilvang, Hjalmar Bang Carlsen and Anders Blok appears in the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology and it analyses recent shifts in the cultural-political forms of civic participation in formal urban planning in Denmark.
Their study shows how in the past 40 years, civic participation in urban planning has been characterised by tensions regarding decision-making processes. This, in turn has been studied in different ways within a scholarly approach defined as pragmatic sociology.
One way of looking at such tensions is by analysing practices and processes of justification, critique and compromise in decision-making processes. Another approach within the field looks at how public engagement depends on familiarity of the people involved with the sites in question, while a third approach analyses how cities are ordered through measurable objectives and indicators which include and exclude respective practices.  In Denmark and various other EU member states, local councils have the final democratic responsibility for planning, and their respective authorities coordinate formal and informal participation procedures, involving ordinary citizens, NGOs, interest groups and others.
Their respective feedback to development proposals is circulated to authorities and thus stimulates a ‘conversation’, where critique and justifications engage with one another.
Such dialogue takes places within interest meetings and workshops, and differences in views and opinions are acknowledged and encouraged as helpful inputs to urban planning.
I found this study very useful to the Maltese context. My experience in local politics and my sociological research have led me to conclude that public consultation is an uneven process in Malta. If Malta was slowly moving towards increased rationality and standardisation following EU accession, the new order is generally lowering down standards.
Indeed, very often, development applications are approved, resulting in a win-win situation for applicants and for ruling political interests. The quantity of applications runs roughshod over their quality, resulting in an industrialisation of permits.
Expert advice, including that from internal sources, often comes second to political pressure. No wonder the exodus of experts and the influx of party loyalists in structures such as the Planning Authority.
There are exceptions to this, though, and very often these are characterised by strong opposition from residents, environmental NGOs, local councils, at least one major political party and media coverage.
Hence, Maltese decision-making processes on development applications are intensely political, with politicians often acting as middlemen or entrepreneurs in favour or against such proposals.  The urban and rural landscapes provide the raw material for this toing and froing.
Being close to political entrepreneurs can thus be a good investment for both proponents and opponents of specific proposals. Politicians who enjoy the power of incumbency have more resources in their possession, but their power is never unlimited, thus opening windows of opportunity for the opposition.
Development applications will always have political ramifications to an extent, but I believe that it is about time that Malta really takes such processes seriously. Wouldn’t it be better if stakeholder consultation were better structured and if experts’ voices are taken more seriously?
The Danish example I referred to provides some methods which could be considered in Malta. This would however involve subsidiarity, where local councils are given more authority over what they currently have, and where consultation is more organic and dialogical, involving different stakeholders and the mediation by trusted experts.
Some people ask where the EU stands in such matters. By and large, Malta carries out environment impact assessments on large development proposals, thus conforming to basic EU requirements. But it is about time that we look at the quality and not just the quantity of such assessments, and it is also about time to propose that the cumulative impacts of small scale development is given more weighting than what currently is the case.
Thus Malta requires a smaller government and less political interference and a bigger society and expert input in this field. The role of politicians should be to improve and scrutinise policymaking at local, national and European levels rather than assuming the role of middlemen for proponents and opponents.