The sunny side of Sven

It must be the sun that has im­bued this per­sis­tent ob­ses­sion with things Mal­tese into the Ger­man MEP Sven Giel­gold’s psy­che.

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

For a Ger­man born in sun-drenched Las Pal­mas in the Ca­naries, there can only be this pseudo-psy­cho­log­i­cal elu­ci­da­tion. How else could one try to fig­ure out his most re­cent tirade,in a UK news­pa­per, in which he con­found­ingly an­nounced he would be em­bark­ing ona cam­paign for HSBC to leave Malta on the fast-fad­ing pre­text of “a lack of ac­tion” again­st­money laun­der­ing?

Not only has the EU Com­mis­sioner for Jus­tice, the now con­firmed dou­ble-faced Vera Jourova, been reg­u­larly up­dated with the mea­sures that have been taken in Malta over the past few years to com­bat this global predica­ment,but the Is­land, its govern­ment and in­sti­tu­tions have con­tin­ued to show an ob­vi­ous will­ing­nessto fur­ther bol­sterthe anti-laun­der­ing sys­tem.They have tight­ened up their act, though it should be said that, con­trary to other mem­ber states be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, Malta has not bro­ken any EU laws on the is­sue.

More telling for Giel­go­ld­was the fact that there was an over­whelm­ing neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to his com­ments from across the whole Mal­tese po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, Govern­ment and Op­po­si­tion, as well as Malta’s own Green Party, Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika, whose chair­per­son quickly, and rightly, washed his hands of the in­tended dirt at­tached to the fel­low Green Ger­man MEP’s usual melo­drama.

Iron­i­cally, Giel­gold’s lat­est the­atrics for The Tele­graph, as part of hisquixotic­cru­sade so in­ex­pli­ca­bly hos­tile to the EU’s small­est mem­ber state, took place against the back­ground of un­abashed Ger­man op­po­si­tion to a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pro­posal for greater Euro­pean Bank­ing Author­ity scru­tiny of money laun­der­ing al­le­ga­tions! Only France, Den­mark, Spain (which of course in­cludes the Ca­naries) and, you’ve guessed it, Malta, agreed the pro­posal could come into im­me­di­ate ef­fect. The rest, in­clud­ing Giel­gold’s Ger­many, have pre­ferred to drag their feet by ask­ing for more anal­y­sis of the pro­posal.

Of course no one ex­pect­sthat Giel­gold will now be about to launch a cam­paign for HSBC to leave Ger­many; or is that an easy tac­tic to use only against the small fry of Europe? There’s the head of­fice at Dus­sel­dorf and there are branches in Baden-Baden, Ber­lin, Cologne, Dort­mund, Frank­furt, Ham­burg, Han­nover, Mannheim, Mu­nich, Nurem­berg and Stutt­gart. They all must have been shaken to their foun­da­tions af­ter this goos­es­tepdis­play of re­luc­tance on the part of Europe’s eco­nomic gi­ant to fight money laun­der­ing.

One also can­not help but no­tice how the Las Pal­mas-born Ger­man per­sists in ig­nor­ing the mam­moth scan­dals in­volv­ing the Danske, which holds a third of all Dan­ish peo­ple’s sav­ings, the Dutch Ing bank and sev­eral Latvia and Es­to­nia cases. It must be said that while the So­cial­ists and Democrats Group have cho­sen to in­vite the Danske whistle­blower to ap­pear at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, there was ab­so­lutely no sign of Sven Giel­gold fea­tur­ing in the call for such an im­por­tant move.

While the sniper in Giel­gold con­cen­trates on an ever-co­op­er­a­tive Malta, the Ger­man MEP­con­tin­ues to pur­posely over­look the huge money-laun­der­ing scan­dal in­volv­ing Deutsche Bank, and the fact that, de­spite so many pledges to act, Lon­don is still de­clared a haven for Rus­sian money. Healso con­tin­ues to re­main undis­turbed by the Dan­ish bank scan­dal, with its Es­to­nian branch hav­ing han­dled €200 bil­lion of hot money, cal­cu­lated to be nine times the GDP of Es­to­nia, and even larger than the Por­tuguese GDP and the whole EU bud­get!

There has to be a rea­son for his im­plau­si­ble at­ti­tude;or is it the Ca­narian dash in the blood that makes him opt solely for the sunny side of the money world?

Sor­ry­seems to be the hard­est word

The word “sorry” that Bernie Taupin put so ef­fec­tively into his lyrics for El­ton John’s 1976 great hit,“Sorry Seems to be the Hard­est Word”, is also very hard to come by in Mal­tese pol­i­tics. And fun­nily enough, when it comes, it is al­ways seems to be from only one side of the po­lit­i­cal fence.

There have been in­stances when lead­ing Labour ex­po­nents, in­clud­ing the present Prime Min­is­ter, pub­licly ex­pressed re­gret for the ex­cesses of the past, such as the vi­o­lence and the med­dling in state broad­cast­ing dur­ing the Eight­ies, in which they were not even in­volved.But have you ever heard, for ex­am­ple, a whim­per of re­morse from the for­mer Na­tion­al­ist Prime Min­is­ter who was re­vealed in Court to have liedlive on tele­vi­sion on the very eve of a gen­eral elec­tion? Or when he and ex-col­leagues of his were caught with an arms cache at party head­quar­ters? Or for the eth­nic cleans­ing, that oc­curred at paras­tatal en­ti­ties like TeleMalta, PBS, Ene­Malta, the dock­yard and so on? Or for prop­erly cel­e­brat­ing only one of two con­tro­ver­sial na­tional hol­i­days, a di­vi­sive pol­icy that was dropped dur­ing the Al­fred Sant years (1996-98), and then hap­pily dis­carded again im­me­di­ately af­ter the 2013 change of govern­ment?

It should also be ac­knowl­edged that dur­ing his ten­ure as leader of the Mal­tese Church, Arch­bishop Pawlu Cre­mona had no qualms about apol­o­gis­ing for the Church’s mis­deeds of the Six­ties when mor­tal sin was used as a pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal weapon, but those who ex­ploited it to the max­i­mum, of course never did.

Now that we have come to know how costly the Egrant mag­is­te­rial in­quiry has been – to the tune of €1.2 mil­lion – there is again a down­right re­fusal to say sorry on the part of those who milked the al­le­ga­tions that have now been proved to have been lies that formed part of a trumpedup story.

One would have thought the new Leader of the Op­po­si­tion would not hes­i­tate atre­sort­ing to his “new way” of do­ing things to at least say sorry for, in par­tic­u­lar, the vi­cious cam­paign that his pre­de­ces­sor and his me­dia stooges had staged based on those al­le­ga­tions, most of them in­ten­tion­ally aimed at the Prime Min­is­ter and his fam­ily. But no, his rep­re­sen­ta­tive dur­ing aTV de­bate the other day said that his new leader, with his new way, had noth­ing to apol­o­gise for.

How sad for peo­ple who still gen­uinely be­lieve in the need for more sen­si­ble, clearer ways of do­ing pol­i­tics on this blob of land.

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