29 JANUARY 2003

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Toon this week: Sant’s STUKA vision

The daunting task ahead of us

Eddie Fenech Adami has suggested that European owned companies in Malta could relocate if we do not take up the offer of EU membership. A group of Maltese businesspeople visiting Brussels recently returned with the same impression.
The truth is that companies may leave even if Malta joins.
According to the Malta Development Corporation Exports by foreign controlled companies during 2001 are estimated to have been in the region of Lm 700 million, of which something like 93 or 94% would have been generated by European companies.
It has also been calculated that the number of persons employed by foreign-owned or controlled firms in manufacturing is in the region of 13,000 - European firms account for some 11,000 jobs.
Whether Malta joins the EU or not, many companies, but especially ones from EU states, are looking to Eastern Europe as possible new homes.
It makes good business sense. Countries like the Czech republic, Poland and Hungary offer an educated workforce at relatively low wages, large domestic markets and are near enough to the large European Cities to make them attractive as business centres.
If we choose not to join the EU family the Malta based foreign companies face an even more daunting future as they will not – at least for several years – be operating within the Mediterranean Free Trade Zone.

Alfred Sant’s hysterics

Eddie Fenech Adami was once compared to a village lawyer and only history will tell us which of Malta’s politicians will be remembered as great statesmen.
Alfred Sant’s ridiculous jibe at Guenter Verheugen on Sunday put Sant in the village idiot status.
Sant is reported to have said of Veheugen’s statistics about financial aid that: "He can produce as many illustrations as he wants. We can always show him pictures of the bombs dropped on Malta during the Second World War."
The remark was uncalled for, besides being out of point. The world has changed tremendously since 1945 and Sant’s intention to offend the EU Commissioner by picking on historical events related to his country was a hit way below the belt. Remarks of that sort will not earn Alfred Sant a place in the statesman’s hall of fame.
Malta expects its leaders to make us proud, but Sant’s statement can only make us hang our head in shame.
It would be interesting to know what other leading Labour politicians think of Sant’s attitude.
His stupidity in this case beggars belief. If Alfred Sant is elected Prime Minister one day he will probably have to deal with Verheugen, and their relationship cannot be said to have developed into one that could be a basis for good co-operation.
The partnership option is not one to be dismissed offhand, as some political commentators do, but Sant may turn out to be his own worst enemy, if he continues with his U-turns and insults.


Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
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