Emma, making Malta proud

Frank Psaila talks about Emma Muscat, double standards in the European Parliament, cheated consumers, and Italy's political crisis

 

Emma Muscat is a talented Maltese singer and pianist who took Italian television by storm. Thousands of Maltese viewers are glued to Canale 5 Amici, watching her progress, beat stiff competition and making Malta proud
Emma Muscat is a talented Maltese singer and pianist who took Italian television by storm. Thousands of Maltese viewers are glued to Canale 5 Amici, watching her progress, beat stiff competition and making Malta proud

Emma Muscat is a young Maltese singer who took Italian television by storm. Emma is the most followed Maltese singer on social media, her Instagram account is followed and liked by hundreds of thousands, at times surpassing the entire population of the Maltese islands.

She’s talented and beautiful – an accomplished singer and pianist who’ll go places. Emma and hundreds of Maltese hailing from different sectors – doctors; researchers; academics; lawyers; businessmen and women are doing Malta proud, locally and abroad. Their success is what brings us together as a nation. Thank you, Emma. Good luck, whatever the outcome, you already made Malta proud.

Double standards

This week the European Parliament debated, once again, the so called ‘citizenship-by-investment-scheme’, which in simple terms is the sale of the European citizenship to wealthy non-Europeans. The European Parliament had already debated this subject and criticised it vociferously, but was ignored since the scheme was adopted by EU member states including Malta. The Maltese system is not the most lenient, but in the long term it gives nothing to the country for no real investment is made by those who buy the Maltese passport. In a debate in plenary on Wednesday, MEPs from different political groupings reiterated calls to the European Commission to regulate such programmes, with the majority insisting it was no longer acceptable to dismiss the issue as a national one. The Commission, headed by Jean Claude Juncker, prefers to look elsewhere, opening itself to justified accusations of double standards.

Cheated consumers

Consumers are being overcharged by ARMS because the bill issuing system is being badly implemented. The Nationalist Party investigated 100 bills and found that 80% of clients had been overcharged by between Euro 6 and Euro 600 a year. Clients are receiving their bills more frequently and losing out on their allocation of low-priced units. Instead of taking immediate action, and rectifying this situation, government procrastinates and has so far refused to take action. Energy prices have been in the news recently, as latest Eurostat figures report that Malta has had the third highest increase in energy prices in 2017.

Housing affordability in Malta is a social time bomb

A social time-bomb

Data released this week by the European Union’s data bureau, show that 10% of Maltese said they could not keep up with rent, utility payments, mortgage payments as well as payments on hire purchase goods. Average rental prices in Malta have risen by some 47% between 2013 and 2016. Soon, property and rental prices will become so high that there is no way how decent wage earners will be able to afford them. The construction boom was expected to alleviate rising rent rates, but this is clearly not happening. Fair rent regulation is a must. Housing affordability in Malta is a social time bomb ticking away, which cannot be ignored further.

Italy’s political crisis

Although Italy’s political deadlock has been broken, now that a new Prime Minister has been appointed, following inconclusive elections in March, trouble is brewing on the horizon for the future of the EU and the eurozone. Fresh elections are expected to be called soon, with right-wing parties and the 5-Star Movement expected to increase their popular support. They have already questioned Italy’s eurozone membership. Paolo Savona, previously touted for economy minister, then rejected by the Italian president, will be in government as European Affairs minister – a less influential role but one which will still enable him to negotiate with the EU and speak on EU issues – not least the euro about which he had already touched upon by stating that Italy should have a contingency plan to abandon the European currency.

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