We got on the wrong horse – Noel Grima

Malta should not be affected by the invasion of Ukraine, which anyway is far away, we think.

But if we but try and look ahead we might wipe the smirk off our face. What happens in Ukraine will affect us to a greater or smaller degree.

We will not be affected militarily. Our soldiers will not be sent to Kyiv, unlike other soldiers who are mustering over the border. Nor can we offer weapons, which anyway we do not have.

But we, like the rest of the world, will be negatively impacted by the fighting on an economic level.

The sanctions on Russia and its oligarchs, which are only now beginning to bite, have the potential to strangle Russia. It’s inevitable that Russia will react, just like its action on the field – clumsily, massively and brutally.

The first sectors which will be impacted seem to be those in the energy field, oil and gas.

We might think we are out of range of any Russian reaction but we may have forgotten that thanks to this government’s 2013 decision we are linked to SOCAR, a State company of Azerbaijan, which is a Russian satellite state.

After the decidedly pro-Western governments of the 1990s, succeeding Labour administrations turned their eyes to the East, though not in the same mode as the Dom Mintoff times.

Before that, there were investments from the West, such as Lufthansa Technic, but economic development came more in the tourism and the related construction industry.

As for the mainstays of economies elsewhere – agriculture and manufacturing – one is so small in Malta as to have unfortunately become negligible and manufacturing has actually decreased as people crowded to get a job with the government.

Now, this double whammy of Covid and war will most definitely impact the whole world, including us. What used to be our turbocharged engines of growth will falter and miss beats.

And we have nothing to counter this, whereas other countries have developed alternatives.

We got on the wrong horse. We chose the East when we should have persisted with the West.

At least we are in the EU and the Eurozone. But by themselves, the EU and the Eurozone will not pull us out of the hole we’re in.

Thanks to our flirtation with the East and its skimping on rules, regulations and governance we have been greylisted.

It will take time, effort and huge struggles to get back in the right direction.

I’m not saying it’s an impossible task but we, and those who come after us, face a hard slog.


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2 years ago

And the Russian Oligarchs with Maltese EU passports with their hands in right pocket to squeeze and get served.

G Mizzi
G Mizzi
2 years ago

The Maltese economy is heading into a perfect storm. Sky-high energy prices, the likely suspension of the cash-for-citizenship scheme, and a tourist sector severely hit by the pandemic. To top it all, we have been grey-listed. Sadly, we have no industry to make up for all these whammies.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
2 years ago

Common knowledge some of us have been ruminating for quite some time, now. Perhaps not too many of us – but worth bringing to the fore once again.

2 years ago

I love Malta…
– Oligarch

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