27 June – 3 July 2001

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Will the Church speak up on the EU?

There will be little or no respite from the European Union debate.

However, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities in which to bring the real arguments about Europe forward .

But as the debate rages on we must avoid missing the wood for the trees.

This country must understand that Europe is the alpha and omega to our future. We strongly believe this but, in doing so, we should not erroneously believe that Europe will solve our bad services, our bad management and our potential to make a mess of things.
It will not solve these problems. It may provide us with the tools and tell us how to use them, but it will neither change our bad politics nor give birth to good, capable politicians.
With Europe, our horizons will be assured but we must carry out the road building and orientation ourselves.

This is not an exaggeration - it is a reality confirmed by the younger states forming part of the EU15.

The objections raised to membership are based on several factors: namely isolationist policies, and appealing to nationalistic and populist trends together with a cocktail of party politics.

The sad thing is, and we have said this before, that we believe that in time the Labour party will change its mind and eventually become more of a Europhile party than the Nationalist party itself.

The value of membership in terms of investment potentials, growth, diversification, cultural renewal and opportunities are values that can only thrust us in the right direction.

Which brings us to the role of several decision-makers in influencing public opinion. In the business sector, we have the Chamber and the Federation, two bodies which offer positive advice for European integration. Less enthusiastic, but still rather pro European, we find the GRTU.

On the political level, the PN and AD are for and the MLP is against.

The other influential body, the Church, could be an semi-influential broker if it wanted to – but it has two serious problems.

Firstly, it lacks a strong leader with the charisma and intellect to take the Church through such a decision. Secondly, is the baggage it carries with regard to the discriminatory and very wrong attitude it had upheld in the early sixties towards Labourites.

We believe times have changed and we expect the Church to take a stand and speak it’s mind.

The effect of losing one’s currency

With the changeover of the guilder, the French and Belgian franc and the DM to the euro, one expects to see a deluge of black money leaving the continent. Europeans, of course, can also be tax evaders.

It is quite interesting to see that a recent study uncovered millions in cash that are stored away … from the tax man.

The study also postulates that many small investors will be taking their money out of the continent and investing in property away from their native countries, instead of changing this undeclared money to euros.

The real exodus should start some time now and if property owners had any sense, they would relocating some of their advertising and marketing efforts to the continent from their usually fertile UK market.

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