“Till recently, the efforts of the (European) Union were concentrated on the creation of monetary and economic union… But today we need a broader perspective if Europe is not to decay into a mere market, sodden by globalisation. For Europe is much more than a market. It stands for a model of society that has grown historically” – Lionel Jospin, Prime Minister 1997 – 2002.

Today, many politicians and intellectuals recognise the fact that the European project needs to go beyond the economic and monetary union. Without casting any doubts on the benefits of the single market, many recognise that this sort of Union will never capture the imagination of the citizens across the Union.

Conflicts such as the war in Iraq have shown that, despite the fact that the European Union is an economic giant capable of taking other global economic power houses head on, politically it is a nonentity, a midget. The lack of a common foreign policy coupled with the lack of a common defence policy exacerbates this. In fact, for defence purposes, Europe relies rather heavily on Nato.

It is for this and for other reasons that my colleagues in the European Green Party and in Alternattiva Demokratika were so ardently in favour of a European Constitution. Yes, Europe does need a Constitution in order to solve the problems associated with an ever wider union stretching from Finland to Malta and from the United Kingdom to Cyprus, and also to galvanise the support of the citizens towards the European project, especially in view of the fact that euroscepticism is currently on the rise across the block.

We believe that the Lisbon Treaty is a step in the right direction and as Greens we are strongly in favour of it.

Firstly, the treaty clarifies what the Union stands for; its aims include among others the social market economy and full employment, and makes the Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding. However, with disappointment we note that all mention of the EU flag, the EU motto and the EU anthem has been removed from the Lisbon Treaty. Personally, I think that this hinders the citizens’ emotional attachment to the Union.

Allowing certain member States to opt out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights defeats the scope of the Union, and in our view this is perhaps the most serious shortcoming of the treaty. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is what makes Europe what it is, the continent, which, following the French Revolution, gave birth to the concept of liberty and freedom. This should have been an unrenouncable part of the treaty.

The European Parliament, which represents the citizens of the Union (despite Gonzi’s claim that the MEPs are there to serve the interests of the government), has been granted additional powers thanks to the Treaty. These powers include the direct election of the President of the Commission, greater powers in the decision-making process and greater powers in the ratification of international treaties by the EU. This is being done without neglecting the power of the national Parliaments, which will be much more involved in the decision making process once the Treaty is in force.

As a Green, I note with pleasure that EU citizens can, on their own initiative, ask for an EU-wide referendum on certain issues if one million signatures are collected from across the 27 member States. This greatly strengthens the role of civil society and provides ample room for its participation in the democratic process.

In this context, the notion of the primacy of EU law over national laws seems to have disappeared from the treaty; this is an essential instrument to ensure that all member states achieve the goals of the Union.

Despite all its positive aspects, the treaty lacks something, which is essential if the EU citizens are to feel a certain sense of ownership – it lacks democratic legitimacy. The ratification of something of the sort, which will have an impact all over the EU, cannot be left in the hands of national Parliaments; neither should we rely on the referenda of individual member states, because the process of European integration cannot be stopped just because it is outvoted by 50 per cent+1 of the citizens in any single member state. The governments of the 27 member states should have enough courage to ask for a ratification of the treaty through an EU-wide referendum using the double majority criterion; the treaty should be approved by the majority of the EU citizens in the majority of the member states (at least 14), otherwise Europe would have to go back to the drawing board…

http://www.alternattiva2009.eu

  “ Contrary to perceptions, an increase in the maternity leave period together with measures to help SMEs will increase and encourage women to take up employment ”

A recurring theme in AD’s electoral campaign is the drive for increasing the minimum maternity leave period, to an acceptable level that compares with our European counterparts and EU reccomendations. The Maltese government, has expressed reservations and resistance to these proposals, and we are calling on the government to give weight to its talk about family values, buy putting its money where its mouth is and moving from words to action.

On May 6, the conservative EPP-ED group (supported by ALDE) in the European Parliament successfully postponed a vote on the Estrela report, which relates to maternity and paternity leave, as well as improved protection against workplace discrimination for working mothers. The report was previously adopted by Parliament’s women’s rights and gender equality committee. Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament apparently don’t think it is a priority to support mothers and fathers and address their difficulties in reconciling work and family responsibilities.

Given that Conservatives in particular like to preach family values, they did not want to vote on the Estrela report on health and safety measures for pregnant workers and for working mothers who have recently given birth. Perhaps their voting position would simply be too embarrassing in the spotlight of the current European election campaign. For Alternattiva Demokratika the harmonisation of a respectable minimum maternity leave period throughout the EU and for Maltese and Gozitan mothers in line with recommendations by the ILO and WHO is a very important issue. It is a practical way to put rhetoric into practice.

The Estrela report recommends 24 weeks of maternity leave. Maternity leave in Malta is 14 weeks, one of the lowest periods in the EU. Contrary to perceptions, an increase in the maternity leave period together with measures to help SMEs will increase and encourage women to take up employment. Our government, once again, is one of the countries in the EU opposing such a positive proposal. I hope that voters will be aware of where the political groups truly stand on family issues when they go to the polls next month.

An AD MEP will promote policies against insecure job contracts, precarious work and exploitation which are affecting various categories of workers, including young, ageing, female workers and workers with family responsibilities. We mean what we say and will promote policies for more female participation in employment. This requires social policies which promote the work-life balance, where men and women actively participate in both employment as well as in family life and caring roles.

http://www.alternattiva2009.eu

Green politics are inspired by the notion of nature and ecology themselves: nature, intrinsically balanced and harmonious, is affected by a single change in the ecological chain, and likewise, we live interrelated, like links in a chain, each depending on one another. No man is or can ever be an island. As Greens, we therefore do not accept the principle where the winners takes it all and leaves the rest with scraps.
That is why, as an AD candidate, I believe that we must strive towards a society which is always more inclusive and characterised by equality. AD will strive towards working in the EP in order to create more and better job opportunities and conditions. The European Greens are proposing the Green New Deal – an economic and ecological pact that will create millions of jobs in sectors such as alternative energy, transport, agriculture and waste management. The United Nations, Trade Unions and Employer Associations, in Malta and in the EU, have endorsed the call for the creation of so-called ‘green jobs’. If you agree with this proposal, you can visit this link- http://europeangreens.eu/petition – in order to sign our petition for a better quality of life, and you can also take a look at this interesting video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl4lUSCec2s )
In the European Parliament, AD will unite with progressive and forward-looking political groups. Political groups that are not in the multinational’s pockets. I believe that we must promote policies against precarious employment and the exploitation suffered by many categories of workers, including youths, women and older workers.
Something that has characterised my electoral platform is policies for helping women enter the labour force. Not for the sake of the market, but because women should have the right to choose for themselves and thus the market must change to accommodate the realties of families, men and women, and not the opposite. This demands a social policy that promotes work-life balance, where women and men are active both at the workplace and in their families, with enough time to engage themselves in other activities, including, why not, also politics, voluntary work, and civil society.
An AD MEP will support the European Commission’s current initiative to increase minimum maternity leave to 18 months and even more. This increase in maternity leave, which is still less than that in other developed countries, means that we will move away from rhetoric and show that we can walk the talk. Talk about values is cheap, when the only value followed the law of the market. The government’s rhetoric is well known: a government that preaches values, but then resists the increase in maternity leave on a European level,
An AD MEP together with the Green Group and other progressive political forces will insists on a progressive social policy that betters working conditions for all workers and employees in the European Union.
We all depend upon one another. And for society’s good, we must strive to maintain the social links that keep us together.

L-esperjenza tgħallimna li l-bilanċ bejn is-sessi (gender balance)  jiġġenera l-progress u l-progress joħloq id-domanda. Madankollu, minkejja dan is-suppost bilanċ, xorta waħda naraw li għadhom ftit in-nisa li jieħdu sehem fil-ħajja politika, sew dik lokali sew dik Ewropea. Anki studju tal-Eurobarometer jikkonferma li l-politika fl-Ewropa għadha ddominata sew u wisq mill-irġiel.

 
Hemm min jgħidlek li mhux sew li jkun hemm diskriminazzjoni pożittiva sabiex intellgħu ammont ta’ nisa għan-numru. Imma ta’ min jgħid li l-ftit nisa li hemm fil-politika xorta jġibu s-suċċessi. U biż-żmien, il-qagħda dejjem titjieb. Fl-1970, 16% tal-Parlamentari Ewropej kienu nisa, filwaqt lil llum jgħoddu 33%. L-istess f’parlamenti nazzjonali bħal dak Taljan u Spanjol. F’Malta għadna bi 11%, li mbagħad bħala numru jidhru tassew ftit wisq. Minkejja li l-poplu jtella’ min jixtieq hu, wieħed irid ukoll jifhem l-iżvantaġġ storiku li dejjem ħabbtet wiċċha miegħu l-mara, u l-fatt li jkun hemm inċentivi biex in-nisa jiġu promossi fil-ħajja politika huwa neċessarju sabiex ikun hemm rappreżentanza realistika u vera tal-popolazzjoni tan-nisa.
 
In-nisa huma differenti mill-irġiel, iħarsu lejn il-ħajja b’mod differenti, u għalhekk jaħdmu mod ieħor fil-politika. Irridu naħdmu biex inwelldu mentalita’ ġdid fil-qasam tal-kooperazzjoni politika bejn in-nisa u l-irġiel. Taf tkun ħaġa trawmatika, iżda hemm bżonn issir. Ninsab ukoll, f’dan ir-rigward, kburija li l-Alternattiva ddeċidiet li twettaq dak li temmen fih billi ħarġet b’kandidatura bbilanċjata bejn is-sessi. Vera li qegħdin tnejn biss, iżda huwa bidu simboliku u eżempju għall-ġejjieni.
 
Studji u stħarriġiet varji juru li n-nies huma mixtieqin għas-sehem akbar tan-nisa min-nies fil-qasam politiku.  Iżda biex dan iseħħ hemm ukoll bżonn li n-nisa jinħelsu minn ċertu xkiel biex ikunu pari passu mal-irġiel. Fost l-oħrajn, hemm bżonn opportunitajiet dejjem aktar ndaqs f’dak li għandu x’jaqsam mal-pagi u l-aċċess għall-impjiegi. L-istess fil-qasam tat-trobbija u l-aċċess għall-faċilitajiet tal-indukrar tat-tfal.
Tajjeb li infakkru li l-Kunsill u l-Istati Membri kienu waslu għal ftehim fil-Kunsill Ewropew ta’ Barċellona tal-2002li jintroduċu, sas-sena 2010, 90% taċ-childcare ghat-tfal bejn 3 snin, u l-eta’ obbligatorja għad-dħul fi skejjel primarji ghal mill-inqas 33% ta’ tfal taht it-3 snin.  Importanti li dawn jiġu implimentati, bħal ma hija  importanti wkoll il-proposta tat-3 ta’ Ottubru 2008 magħmula mill-Kummisjoni tal-Ewropa biex il-maternity leave jiġi imtawwal għal-18-il ġimgħa. Dawn huma kwistjonijiet għal qalb l-Alternattiva, u se jkunu prioritajiet jekk nitilgħu fil-Parlament Ewropew

Hemm bżonn li nagħmlu aktar enfażi fuq il-qasam soċjali. Dan huwa dak li qed jitlob il-poplu,  Il-bilanċ bejn id-dinja tax-xogħol u l-ħajja huwa tema fattwali u essenzjali. Hija l-ħajja tagħna ta’ kuljum.  Hija responsabilita’ tal-gvern li joħloq aktar childcare facilities biex verament ikun hemm aktar bilanċ bejn il-hajja familjari u diktax-xogħol kif ukoll opportunitajiet indaqs. Għalxejn nitkellmu u ninsistu dwar ugwaljanza jekk mbagħad mara li qed trabbi ma jkollihex fejn thalli lil uliedha biex toħroġ taħdem.

Aħna ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika flimkien ma’ sħabna l-Greens se nisħqu fuq Ewropa soċjali fejn il-miri soċjali jingħataw importanza kbira. Ix-xogħol tieghi għallimni l-valuri tal-inkluzjoni u l-inklussivita’ – valuri li nixtieq nestendihom ghall-politika u d-demokrazija Maltija, fejn kulhadd jista’ jwettaq il-potenzjal tiegħu jew tagħha, minkejja d-differenzi huma liema huma ta’ bejnietna.

Nixtieq li f’dawn l-aħħar ġimgħat għall-elezzjoni almenu l-Alternattiva tibqa’ żżomm l-attitudni pożittiva tagħha u l-impenn biex tipproponi argumenti kostruttivi u l-mod kif hi tara li Malta għandha timxi ’l quddiem fl-Ewropa.
Dan qed ngħidu għaliex, bħas-soltu, lejn l-aħħar tal-kampanja, xi partiti jbiddlu l-gear u jidħlu għal tattika kumplessa li għandha mit-tmaqdir distruttiv, it-tfigħ tat-tajn u s-sempliċi opportuniżmu politiku.
F’din it-tiġrija bejnietna l-kritika hija l-ingredjent ewlieni u l-konfront tal-ideat iseħħ meta nħabbtu rasna ma’ xulxin u min jispjega l-aħjar u jagħti l-aktar viżjoni konvinċenti jitla’ u fl-aħħar jirbaħ.
Madankollu, bħalma ġara qabel, ninduna li l-Alternattiva tispiċċa wkoll il-mira ta’ ċerti attentati biex tiġi inġustament skreditata u minn xi ġimgħat ’il hawn bdejna nisimgħu l-ewwel diwi mbiegħed dwar x’kieku jagħmel MEP tal-Alternattiva u ma’ min jitħabbeb fil-Parlament Ewropew. Rajna wkoll l-bidu ta’ ġlidiet bejn il-kandidati li jispiċċaw jaqgħu fil-personali u jitkellmu fuq kollox lil hinn mill-politika. Jew inkella, il-makni tal-partiti li jaqbdu ma’ tentufiet żgħar li minnhom jibnu argumenti fittizji sħaħ li, b’xorti ħażina, għandhom mit-tajn, għax jafu jeħlu.
F’din l-elezzjoni din ħaġa faċli biex tagħmilha għaliex, ngħidu x’ngħidu, l-Ewropa spiss hi mbiegħda minna, u mhux lakemm tifhimha kif ġieb u laħaq. Meta nisma’ l-akkużi dwar kif ivvota wieħed u l-ieħor inħoss li kemm-il darba nkunu qed nidħku bin-nies għaliex il-proċess tant kumpless tat-tfassil u l-proposti tal-liġijiet ma jistax jiġi ridott għal inċidenti żgħar li jseħħu tul dan il-proċess.
Jekk, pereżempju, nieħdu l-każ tal-priġunieri ta’ Guantanamo, hemm min qabad u daħħal lill-Ħodor fil-Kredu u tidħak tisma’ min jaqbad u jiddeċiedi x’kieku nagħmlu aħna tal-Alternattiva meta nkunu fil-Parlament Ewropew. Allaħares aħna ngħidu kull darba li l-EPP jew il-PES ivvutaw kontra l-interessi l-kbar taċ-ċittadini Maltin, jew inkella meta ssieħbu ma’ ħbieb li ma tantx tista’ tafdahom.
L-istess għad-Direttiva dwar il-Ħin tax-Xogħol. Bħal ma l-MEPs Maltin kollha vvutaw kontriha għax tmur kontra l-interessi tal-ħaddiema Maltin, u bħalma l-MEPs Laburisti marru kontra l-partit Ewropew tagħhom stess, l-istess konna nagħmlu aħna, minkejja li l-Ħodor ma kinux ta’ din il-fehma.
Li tkun fil-Parlament Ewropew għandu jkun eżerċizzju ta’ realiżmu li jmur lil hinn mill-ideoloġija, speċjalment għal pajjiż żgħir bħal tagħna bil-ħtiġijiet partikolari tiegħu. Niftakar fl-aħħar slogan tal-Alternattiva għall-kampanja Ewropea li għaddiet – Għall-pajjiż, mhux għall-partit- u nintebaħ kemm din hija l-idea fundamentali li dejjem mexxiet il-parteċipazzjoni tagħna fil-politika Ewropea.

Naħseb din hija aħbar tajba għal kull min se jivvota, u l-aktar għal kull min għadu ma jafx fejn se jixħet il-polza. L-Alternattiva bid-dikjarar iżżomm l-ewwel ma’ pajjiżha u mbagħad, ħafna iktar tard, mal-familja politika tagħha. L-aktar għaliex konxja mill-partikolaritajiet ta’ Malta, fl-oqsma kollha, mir-realtà ekonomika sar-realtà ta’ għadd ta’ prinċipji u valuri li tħaddan il-maġġoranza tal-poplu.

Il-fenomenu tal-immigrazzjoni rridu narawh b’mod razzjonali, mingħajr il-biża’ tal-injoranza u tal-estremiżmi tal-Lemin. L-immigrazzjoni hija problema għax titfa’ piż fuq ir-riżorsi limitati tagħna u toħloq il-biża’ għaliex iġġegħilna nħbattu wiċċna ma’ realtajiet li ilna ma mmissuhom b’idejna: il-ġuħ u l-faqar, it-turufnament bilfors, nies ta’ razza u kultura differenti li mhux bilfors niftiehmu magħhom kif ġieb u laħaq.

Smajt id-dibattitu Parlamentari kollu kemm hu dwar is-suġġett u fraħt lil l-politiċi (ħlief il-waħdiet li waqgħu għan-nassa tal-estremiżmu) qiegħdin għalenija lesti jaħdmu lejn soluzzjoni waħda. Wieħed ma jistax ma jistenniex differenzi, imma tant huma żgħar li faċli jingħelbu. Il-proposti li saru f’dan id-dibattitu u d-diksussjonijiet li segwew, jittantaw isibu bilanċ bejn li Malta żżomm mal-obbligi internazzjonali tagħha u fl-istess ħin tibqa’ tipprattika l-aġir Nisrani tagħha.
Hemm bżonn xogħol fuq kull aspett ta’ din il-problema b’bosta uċuħ. Hemm bżonn li l-immigranti jgħixu b’mod mill-aktar xieraq sakemm ikunu hawn, imma hemm bżonn li l-forzi tas-sigurtà u kull qaddej ieħor jieħdu dak li ħaqqhom għax-xogħol diffiċli mmens li qed jagħmlu. Hemm bżonn li b’xi mod naddattaw iċ-ċentri għad-drawwiet tal-immigranti, imma hemm bżonn ukoll li sakemm ikunu hawn, ikun hemm xi forma ta’ edukazzjoni lejn l-integrazzjoni, fejn kulħadd jagħraf ir-regoli u l-obbligi li joħorġu mill-kuntatt kulturali li dan il-fenomenu jġib miegħu.

Jien u nisma’ d-dibattitu, b’nofs ċajta għidt lili nnifsi li seta’ kien hemm l-Alternattiva qed titkellem fil-Parlament għaliex l-attitudni kawta għal din il-problema hija fil-biċċa l-kbira identika għal bosta mill-pożizzjonijiet tal-partit dwar is-suġġett.

Fl-istess ħin ukoll, l-AD hija fehma waħda mal-partiti l-oħra dwar il-ħtieġa li nsemmgħu leħinnha aktar mal-Ewropa biex nieħu dak li hemm bżonn biex nintrifdu daqsxejn oħra.

L-Ewropa trid iddaħħal idha fil-but u twettaq dak li twiegħed fuq il-karta: trid tagħraf il-problema li qed niffaċċjaw, trid issolvi l-kwistjoni tal-Frontex, il-wegħda tal-qsim tal-piż u r-responsabbiltà bejn il-pajjiżi, il-problema tat-traffikar tal-bnedmin li ġej mix-xtut Afrikani iżda li jaf ikoll wkoll il-kooperazzjoni min-nies li lanqas ma nistennew li jkunu nvoluti.

Jekk nista’ nagħti parir lil Joe Muscat: għadda ż-żmien li ndaħħlu lil Mintoff u lil Helsinki fil-Kredu. Dak kien żmien ieħor u dinja oħra u d-destin ta’ Malta llum huma fl-Unjoni Ewropea fejn nikkollaboraw ma’ xulxin, anki jekk xi kultant hemm bżonn nuru snienna, biex naslu għal soluzzjonijiet komuni.

Imma ma nistgħux nuru snienna billi niżolaw irwieħna, u naħdmu bit-tpattija u bit-tfixkil. Nitkellmu ċar, nitkellmu b’fehmiet sodi, u nirbħu dak li għandna nirbħu bid-diplomazija u billi nispjegaw b’konvinċiment il-verità tal-fatti. Problemi ġodda jeħtieġu soluzzjonijiet ġodda.

Ninsab għalhekk fiduċjuża li l-preżenza ta’ Membru Parlamentari Ewropew tal-Alternattiva Demokratika tista’ tkun il-feles meħtieġ biex naslu għal soluzzjonijiet realistiċi u konkreti dwar din il-problema.

Bl-esperjenza tagħna fil-politika Ewropea u bl-enerġija li dejjem ikkaratterizzatna, żgur nistgħu naslu. L-aktar għaliex, bħal dejjem, se mmorru lil hinn mill-bnadar tal-partiti u l-firdiet li jafu jġibu magħhom, u naħdmu, dejjem l-ewwel u qabel kollox, fl-interess tal-pajjiż.

yvonnebejer@hotmail.com

Let’s stop beating around the bush. The discussion on divorce will continue in merry-go-round fashion unless concrete political action is taken. With the Nationalist Party being adamantly against divorce and the majority of Labour Party MPs who would “vote freely” against should a Divorce Bill be presented in Parliament, the outlook is grim for a substantial majority of Maltese and Gozitan citizens who are in favour of this civil right. One must also take into account the fact that the introduction of divorce is no longer a divisive issue for society as it may have been in the past and consensus about this right can be witnessed across the board.

In fact, many people, even those who may not view divorce as something they will need to resort to or who might find it irreconcilable with their faith, accept that the possibility to set up a new family, after a marriage irremediably breaks down, is an important right for all in today’s society. The right to divorce in Malta is another instance of treating people as grown-ups, giving them the right to choose the best way how as to run their lives without interfering politically, as some conservatives may do, in one’s private matters.

The lack of real political commitment on this matter that one can regularly witness strengthens my resolve to put civil rights at the forefront of my political platform. A recent article by a Nationalist MEP skirted the whole issue by hiding behind the vaguest smokescreen regarding yet another pledge to regulate cohabitation.

The article was also filtered through the most selective of sieves, excluding any possibility of considering same-sex couples or other forms of non-married couples.

In addition, a pledge “to give couples a chance to live a better life” was tantamount to legalising coupledom out of wedlock. That also seems to be the latest trend: the institutionalisation of “gray relationships”, hovering between separation and cohabitation, or the legalisation of a “marriage” not called by its real name because neither this roundabout way of divorcing is called as it should be.

The PN’s schizophrenic attitude to the marriage legislation issue is evident when its exponents bend themselves backwards to propose anything but divorce and never mention it by name. They would rather perpetuate the prevailing social chaos and mount a rickety defence of the right to cohabit while not addressing the real issue of the right to remarry. This situation continues to reproduce the anomaly of having the right to remarry by resorting to a civil annulment or by getting a divorce in another EU country (which is then recognised in Malta but not permitted by our law).

It is extremely unfair that, due to the other parties’ electoral interests, persons facing these situations are continually left in the dark.

I sincerely believe that the only way forward is AD’s consistent stand on the issue and an AD MEP will certainly work on it through the European Parliament. To be clear, the EU cannot impose on Malta to legislate on divorce. However, an AD MEP will use all the possibilities offered by the EU to speed up the recognition of civil partnerships and the social, legal, pension rights of all non-married couples as well as the introduction of divorce in Malta. This can be done through consistent activity from day one of the MEP’s election, including parliamentary questions, interventions in the European Parliament and organising a hearing on this issue in the European Parliament. An AD MEP will present a resolution in the European Parliament urging the Maltese government not to discriminate between Maltese residents abroad and those residing in Malta and to give the possibility to those couples whose marriage has irremediably failed to start a new life, whatever it may be.

On the other hand, one must stress that the introduction of divorce should be accompanied by the strengthening of the family. We propose the introduction of lay marriage preparation courses and counselling by the state, services that can then be offered to do as much as possible to avert the dissolution of marriage in case of potential breakdowns.

It is also through divorce that one can move on to resolving other anomalies regarding the regulation of the rights and obligations of other forms of cohabiting couples. The solidarity and commitment of persons towards each other cannot be ignored by society and it is unacceptable that persons who have spent a substantial part of their lives living together and for each other are left in the lurch and without any rights whatsoever. The granting of divorce will be the first step to regulate the ensuing social chaos of children being born out of wedlock.

The introduction of divorce legislation will not cure all society’s ills but it will definitely put an end to the discriminatory state of affairs where only divorce obtained in another country is recognised. This will also allow those who want to show their commitment to the formation of a new family to exercise their civil right to do so. Together with the introduction of other measures to strengthen the family unit, divorce legislation will put an end to the prevailing chaos.

The author is an MEP election candidate on behalf of Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party.

yvonneebejer@hotmail.com

ILLUM  | 15 ta’ Marzu 2009 Nr 124

Nixtieq li f’dawn l-aħħar ġimgħat għall-elezzjoni almenu l-Alternattiva tibqa’ żżomm l-attitudni pożittiva tagħha u l-impenn biex tipproponi argumenti kostruttivi u l-mod kif hi tara li Malta għandha timxi ’l quddiem fl-Ewropa.
Dan qed ngħidu għaliex, bħas-soltu, lejn l-aħħar tal-kampanja, xi partiti jbiddlu l-gear u jidħlu għal tattika kumplessa li għandha mit-tmaqdir distruttiv, it-tfigħ tat-tajn u s-sempliċi opportuniżmu politiku.
F’din it-tiġrija bejnietna l-kritika hija l-ingredjent ewlieni u l-konfront tal-ideat iseħħ meta nħabbtu rasna ma’ xulxin u min jispjega l-aħjar u jagħti l-aktar viżjoni konvinċenti jitla’ u fl-aħħar jirbaħ.
Madankollu, bħalma ġara qabel, ninduna li l-Alternattiva tispiċċa wkoll il-mira ta’ ċerti attentati biex tiġi inġustament skreditata u minn xi ġimgħat ’il hawn bdejna nisimgħu l-ewwel diwi mbiegħed dwar x’kieku jagħmel MEP tal-Alternattiva u ma’ min jitħabbeb fil-Parlament Ewropew. Rajna wkoll l-bidu ta’ ġlidiet bejn il-kandidati li jispiċċaw jaqgħu fil-personali u jitkellmu fuq kollox lil hinn mill-politika. Jew inkella, il-makni tal-partiti li jaqbdu ma’ tentufiet żgħar li minnhom jibnu argumenti fittizji sħaħ li, b’xorti ħażina, għandhom mit-tajn, għax jafu jeħlu.
F’din l-elezzjoni din ħaġa faċli biex tagħmilha għaliex, ngħidu x’ngħidu, l-Ewropa spiss hi mbiegħda minna, u mhux lakemm tifhimha kif ġieb u laħaq. Meta nisma’ l-akkużi dwar kif ivvota wieħed u l-ieħor inħoss li kemm-il darba nkunu qed nidħku bin-nies għaliex il-proċess tant kumpless tat-tfassil u l-proposti tal-liġijiet ma jistax jiġi ridott għal inċidenti żgħar li jseħħu tul dan il-proċess.
Jekk, pereżempju, nieħdu l-każ tal-priġunieri ta’ Guantanamo, hemm min qabad u daħħal lill-Ħodor fil-Kredu u tidħak tisma’ min jaqbad u jiddeċiedi x’kieku nagħmlu aħna tal-Alternattiva meta nkunu fil-Parlament Ewropew. Allaħares aħna ngħidu kull darba li l-EPP jew il-PES ivvutaw kontra l-interessi l-kbar taċ-ċittadini Maltin, jew inkella meta ssieħbu ma’ ħbieb li ma tantx tista’ tafdahom.
L-istess għad-Direttiva dwar il-Ħin tax-Xogħol. Bħal ma l-MEPs Maltin kollha vvutaw kontriha għax tmur kontra l-interessi tal-ħaddiema Maltin, u bħalma l-MEPs Laburisti marru kontra l-partit Ewropew tagħhom stess, l-istess konna nagħmlu aħna, minkejja li l-Ħodor ma kinux ta’ din il-fehma.
Li tkun fil-Parlament Ewropew għandu jkun eżerċizzju ta’ realiżmu li jmur lil hinn mill-ideoloġija, speċjalment għal pajjiż żgħir bħal tagħna bil-ħtiġijiet partikolari tiegħu. Niftakar fl-aħħar slogan tal-Alternattiva għall-kampanja Ewropea li għaddiet – Għall-pajjiż, mhux għall-partit- u nintebaħ kemm din hija l-idea fundamentali li dejjem mexxiet il-parteċipazzjoni tagħna fil-politika Ewropea.
Naħseb din hija aħbar tajba għal kull min se jivvota, u l-aktar għal kull min għadu ma jafx fejn se jixħet il-polza. L-Alternattiva bid-dikjarar iżżomm l-ewwel ma’ pajjiżha u mbagħad, ħafna iktar tard, mal-familja politika tagħha. L-aktar għaliex konxja mill-partikolaritajiet ta’ Malta, fl-oqsma kollha, mir-realtà ekonomika sar-realtà ta’ għadd ta’ prinċipji u valuri li tħaddan il-maġġoranza tal-poplu.

http://www.alternattiva2009.eu

w10When I am asked if we still need a Women’s Day, I smile saying that I wish we didn’t. Since the Treaty of Rome, women, equality, gender balance and women’s rights have made several improvements, and one example of this is that in 1970 only 16 per cent of MEPs were women and now we have 30 per cent. This is positive but we still have a long way to go. Women in certain countries (and I am ashamed to say, even in the EU) are still paid less than their male counterparts, and unfortunately women’s rights are still being violated all over the world.

Many women can still not decide for their future or simply buy their own property. In the EU alone,  there were 500,000 cases of genital mutilation . Violence against women is one of the most common forms of all violence. It produces more casualties than in wars, terrorist attacks or natural disasters. Violence is said to effect 1 in 3 women at some point in their lives and it is estimated that one in five women worldwide will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

So yes we do need Women’s day. It is sad to think that the same hand you hold could be the same hand that batters you. Violence against women whether in the home, workplace, or elsewhere is a human rights violation and must be eradicated. Women are exposed to abuse all over the world, but not much is done about it because they silently suffer .We have to empower victims to speak out and look for help.

MEPs have until 12 March to sign a written declaration which calls for a “European Year on Zero Tolerance of Violence against Women”.  A Parliamentary written declaration comes into effect if a majority of MEPs sign it. If a majority of MEPs sign this declaration, it will be sent to the President who will announce it in plenary and forward it to the Commission and Council. I urge our 5 male meps to do so.

Believe and you will achieve – Happy Women’s Day

Just a little note in order to update my campaign blog. Time is really of the essence: the campaign trail is gruelling and tiring, but definitely rewarding, and here I am now with some (precious) time to exchange my thoughts with you.

My campaign is doing fine. I am constantly round and about with Arnold and meeting people daily. It entitles a lot of hard work but I try to do my best to give quality time to my children, my voluntary work, my full time job and my campaign. 
 

At the moment,  I am quite busy with the ‘female’ aspect of the campaign, as we are soon going to celebrate Women’s Day (with a seminar on the 7th March), and some two weeks later, the National Council of Women  is holding a conference with women’s organisations from European countries.

It is very healthy that all parties have strived to present female candidates, and even though we must be judged on our own merits, I firmly believe that a form of gender balance is essential to present the electorate with a wide choice of individuals from society’s different realities.

I am however disappointed when I see female candidates pitched against each other in cat-fights disguised as political debate. I sincerely hope that I will be beyond this, and I will continue striving to be a politician who represents the common people’s interests.

As I said many times before, I am first an individual, and then a politician, and my political identity is formed by my life experiences and the views I derived from them. I believe that country and community should come first, and party much later, and I hope that I am setting the example in this case.

I wish you peace and positivity.