3 – 9 January 2001

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Democracy in peril

In a democracy it is natural and expected for a debate to take place on issues.
The leader of opposition did not miss his opportunity when talking to his former adversary, Prof. Guido Demarco, to outline the importance of this year.
But his statement should be taken cautiously, for Dr Sant does not hope to promote a discussion that will lead to a better deal for Malta on the EU level.
The MLP leader hopes to derail the accession process and take Malta back to what he believes to be a Swiss model in the Mediterranean. That model is as clear as is his attachment to old Labour tactics.
Dr Sant will have a bumper of a time in the coming months, pointing out the down side of the negotiations.
That should not be a very difficult task for him, more so if the negotiation position takes up the more Catholic than Pope trend.
If for one minute we imagine what it will take to renounce our application, it should send shivers down everyone’s backs.
The implication on political and economic credibility would be disastrous, and to bring that back would take years.
The structural and legislative changes that have taken place will need to be clipped and we will go back to an island way of doing things.
We should not forget that, for the sake of it, Dr Sant opposed tax measures in the form of Value Added Tax to gain political mileage. In doing so, he disrupted a tax regime and the government coffers.
Dr Sant has made a number of miscalculations, namely that if he had to jump on a moderate European Union ticket with a constructive approach to accession, he would win support.
One says this with a reasonable amount of certainty, because what the Maltese want and welcome is someone strong, stubborn and determined to take us into today’s Europe.

The stock market

This year has not been a good year for the stock market unless you happened to have chosen the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Otherwise, the stock markets in Europe and the US have had their worst showings since 1994.
In Malta too, matters have not been too rosy. The stock exchange has had more players but some options took a plunge and left some investors worried.
The Maltese stock market is no island and very much depends on the international scene.
With the crash in the dot.com scene and the tech chips, there was no way that Maltacom the largest player could have taken an upward trend, even though profits far surpassed predictions.
This gives us more reason to caution investors when seeking in the stock market the potential for a quick buck. But it should not stop us from looking at the investment opportunities the MSE and other stock markets can offer.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt