A decade to learn from

A decade to learn from

The past decade has been an eventful one in world history. These last 10 years have offered no shortage of news, as we experienced many events that brought the world to a standstill in more than one instant.

The new decade and, indeed, the new millennium began amidst uncertainty concerning the Y2K issue but, luckily, we were well provided for and the worst fears turned into nothing.

Without any doubt, the events of 9/11 have changed the political and economic situation of the world in a drastic way. The once-impregnable United States was wounded on home ground, leaving disaster and catastrophe behind and sending a warning to the whole world of the real threat of terrorism.

We had just come out of a century marred by two great wars, the rise and fall of communism and other dictatorships, only to face another maybe more evil threat that operated in cells and networks throughout the world.

Closer to our shores, we also saw and experienced first handedly the expansion of the European Union, with Malta forming part of this enlargement and becoming member of one of the soundest economic blocs in the world. It was indeed a milestone for our country, which, in 40 years, transformed itself from a colony to a sovereign and independent nation that could sit and take decisions with countries far larger than itself.

One cannot comment about this decade without mentioning the death of one of the most influential Popes the Catholic Church ever had. The Pontiff changed the way the Vatican looked at the world and travelled incessantly to promote goodwill. On the same subject one cannot leave out his visit to our island and the subsequent Sanctification of Dun Ġorġ Preca, making him Malta's first and, in the opinion of many, long overdue saint.

As I said before, this decade was loaded with events and Malta's event calendar was filled to the brim. I am glad to say that, in a way, I was involved directly in these events, particularly the referendum in 2003 where the Maltese voted in favour of Malta joining the EU. We also had two general elections in which the Maltese, once again, gave the mandate to a Nationalist Administration.

Without any doubt, though, the most important events for me this decade were the two elections of the European Parliament. It has been a wonderful experience throughout and, besides being able to work in such a prestigious institution, it also gave me the opportunity to look at politics from a different angle, to seek dialogue instead of confrontation and to give space to the opinion of others to make decisions based on consensus whenever possible.

Perhaps one of the phrases most commonly used during these last years was climate change. Much has been done to address this issue but I feel it is still not enough. We need to show more commitment; we need more action and fewer words. World leaders and economic giants should lead by example and not let time pass by and pretend nothing is going to happen until it happens and it's too late. We have to understand that this world will be the home of many generations to come and it is our duty to make it a better place for all.

Many of us make New Year resolutions and many of us will break them but it is important to have the will to improve on the past decade, to try not to make the mistakes we did before. As a nation we have been divided on petty things for too long and I think that L-Istrina, held on Boxing Day, showed all that if we all pull in the same direction we can achieve more than if we go it alone.

Mr Casa is a Nationalist member of the European Parliament.

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