First of all let me apologise for the petulant outburst at all things blogger yesterday. The constant efforts at trying to improve the j’accuse (and other blog) layout led me to a particularly nasty nervous breakdown last night. I promise to be calmer in my approach in the future.
Now to the government. It’s great days ahead for Gonzi’s group as the Local Council elections (which nobody cares about but everybody talks about) approach. The announcement of Malta’s formal application to join Eurozone came with the usual pomp and circumstance. The EU will be examining Malta’s application and whether the country’s performance falls within the convergence criteria. All’s well and good.
And while PM Gonzi was busy hobnobbing with Joaquin Almunia (Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner) his man for Environmental Affairs was busy telling everybody that the EU’s system of enforcement is a bit like the Jesuits discipline at SAC. You can try to get away with ignoring it because sometimes it takes oh such a long time to get going. The problem is that like the jesuit, it will catch up with you one day or another and inflict the most heavy of punishments you ever thought possible!
Today we read that the Commission is not very happy with Malta’s decision to ignore the Directive concerned for the fourth year running. It has reminded all of us that there is a procedure that has been running against Malta since June 2006 and that this latest move with regard to Spring Hunting does not improve Malta’s situation much.
All will depend on the ECJ’s interpretation of the derogation given to Malta. In the end it is all about deciding whether there is an alternative to spring hunting – like autumn hunting. Once that is over and done with it will be time for George to go back to the hunters and birdwatchers and explain that this latest interpretation (whatever it is) is the law. More importantly it will be time for Maltese politicians to explain to the general populace that the EU is not exactly a pick’n’mix establishment. You cannot have the euro, the subsidies and flout EU law at the same time. Nope sir. Ich don’t think so… as Baron Cohen’s latest character would say.
This thinking does not only apply to the hunters and watchers but also to the traders who are infuriated by parallel importation from Sicily, to former monopolies and subsidised operations and most importantly to governments who should wake up, open their eyes and remember that even their legislative activity must conform with EU law.
More than worrying about joining the euro, cabinet, government and all social players should be waking up to the fact that we joined the EU some time ago now… and thankfully there’s no turning back.
Now that’s a refreshing thought.