The gath­er­ing storm clouds

It is not just the me­te­o­rol­ogy and the dark au­tumn clouds. The long hot sum­mer is over even, and es­pe­cially, on the po­lit­i­cal scene, not just in Malta but also and es­pe­cially on the in­ter­na­tional scene. Lost in our mi­cro­cosm, we may not have been pay­ing a

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Near­est to us, on the in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal scene, is the UK and Brexit. 29th March is fast ap­proach­ing and there is no guar­an­tee things will work out well at the end. Last month’s sum­mit in Salzburg turned out to be an ut­ter hu­mil­i­a­tion for Theresa May and dashed her hopes that the rest of the EU would ac­cept her Che­quers plan.

There will be a sec­ond Brexit sum­mit later this month with a pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther one in De­cem­ber. Juncker and the other Com­mis­sion lead­ers were ex­press­ing op­ti­mism even up un­til yes­ter­day but the situa- tion, as seen in Bri­tain is far from rosy. The pa­pers are busy spec­u­lat­ing who will take May’s place af­ter she is forced to re­sign, maybe by a Com­mons re­volt on the Brexit terms. Opin­ion polls show there is now a ma­jor­ity for rev­ers­ing Brexit.

The Bri­tish econ­omy is now demon­stra­bly weaker and banks and even fac­to­ries are re­lo­cat­ing to the Con­ti­nent.

For all May’s guar­an­tees to EU cit­i­zens that they will be still wel­come in the UK af­ter Brexit, the very next day af­ter her Salzburg ‘hu­mil­i­a­tion’ she an­nounced a new leg­isla­tive pack­age that will wel­come EU cit­i­zens with skills but not so much the un­skilled.

This, I am told, is cre­at­ing un­due ten­sion among many of the Mal­tese liv­ing in the UK since many of them are un­skilled and many do not even have res­i­dent per­mits.

On the other hand, Malta will have to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sions taken by the EU with re­gard to UK cit­i­zens and these may al­ter the present wel­com­ing at­mos­phere where the Brits have al­ways been wel­comed in Malta.

The EU is hav­ing many in­ter­nal prob­lems es­pe­cially in Ger­many, its big­gest mem­ber state. An­gela Merkel, ev­ery­body un­der­stands, is in the twi­light years of her long po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and her coali­tion is at a point where it may not be enough to form a govern­ment.

There is a state elec­tion in Bavaria to­day and Merkel’s ally, the CSU may be head­ing to a de­feat. There will be elec­tions in other states soon and these may con­firm the trend that may be ev­i­dent as from to­day.

How­ever, there is no real al­ter­na­tive to the present Great Coali­tion and the best one can fore­see is a sta­sis like the one we had for many months af­ter the elec­tion last year – a pe­riod where no real de­ci­sions can be taken. The mo­tor of the EU may grind to a halt.

At the other end of the con­ti­nent, in Italy, there is a clash com­ing up be­tween the coali­tion govern­ment and the Com­mis­sion re­gard­ing the Bud­get for next year with the gov­ern­ing coali­tion fore­cast­ing a deficit that will be at least three times the deficit promised by the pre­ced­ing PD govern­ment.

Here in Malta, as was an­nounced this week, the Com­mis­sion will soon an­nounce

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