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MT 27 March 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2016 26 Letters INFRINGEMENT procedures against Malta over the transposition of European hunting laws will feature on the agenda for an April meeting between government and the European Commission. Discussions are expected to focus over possible infringement procedures with re- spect to Malta's transposition of the Birds Directive. Bird protection organisations in Belgium told MaltaToday they were expecting a negative verdict from the Commission over Malta's report for the derogation from spring hunting for 2004. In its latest brief to the European Com- mission, BirdLife International stressed that Malta had not yet transposed Article 9 of the Birds Directive, which allows a member state to derogate from the ban on spring hunting. BirdLife called upon the Commission to take legal action against Malta. Konstantin Kreiser, BirdLife's policy officer in Brussels, said a country could not apply for a dero- gation without first transposing it into its national legislation. Malta still allows turtle dove and quail to be hunted in spring, which is forbidden by the Birds Directive. BirdLife also told the Commission that Maltese law allows 12 species of water birds to be hunted at sea until the end of Febru- ary, leading to "an impermissible" overlap with spring migration. Malta is expected to amend its hunting laws to have the trapping season, which at present runs from 1 October to 10 April, close on 31 January. Hunting at sea, which usually runs to the last day of February, will also have to stop by 31 January. But draft regulations published in Sep- tember 2005 to amend the hunting and trapping seasons were still being discussed a week before the trapping season would have been closed, had EU law been trans- posed. BirdLife International is urging the Com- mission to reject any attempt made by Mal- ta to use derogations under Article 9 of the Birds Directive, and to treat spring hunting as an infringement. "According to the conditions of Article 9, spring hunting cannot be allowed through such a derogation as this only possible if there are no alternatives. In this case, hunt- ing in the autumn is clearly an alternative solution. A detailed report from BirdLife submitted to the Commission in January 2006 shows that this and other conditions of Article 9 are not met," BirdLife said. The organisation also said Malta was ig- noring community law and enforcing in- adequately its own hunting laws. BirdLife it was clear that the European Commission must now take legal action. Malta still allows hunting in spring. The government claims it clinched an agree- ment with the EU during its accession ne- gotiations to apply the derogation from the ban on spring hunting. But the commissioner for the environ- ment, Stavros Dimas, has told the Europe- an Parliament that Spring hunting in Malta for turtle dove and quail was never negoti- ated between the Maltese government and the EU. Dimas said the September 2002 agree- ment allowing Malta to apply for a dero- gation from the Birds Directive, "does not contradict what the Commission replied on 31 August 2005 … that the possible hunt- ing in spring in Malta for Turtle Doves and Quails has not been negotiated between the Government and EU." The 2002 agreement specified that Malta would be allowed to apply for a derogation, although this would have to be justified in a report providing data supporting Malta's claim that the two bird species are only present in significant numbers during their Spring migration, and this was the only op- portunity to hunt those species. During the same negotiations, the EU had pointed out that certain species could only be hunted because of their high population level, geographical distribution and repro- ductive rate in the community as a whole, "to the extent that the limits set by the Di- rective are respected and the population of these species is maintained at satisfactory level." Malta presented its report justifying its derogation back in November in a meeting between Dimas and Environment Minister George Pullicino, in which the Commis- sioner "made it clear" that Malta had to get its legislation on Spring hunting in line with EU law. Malta's infringements on hunting on Commission agenda Send your letters to: The Editor, MaltaToday, MediaToday Ltd. Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 9016 | Fax: (356) 21 385075 E-mail: Letters to the Editor should be concise. No pen names are accepted. Multiculturalism as a benefit In the wake of the tragic attacks in Brussels this week, many have succumbed to a familiar knee- jerk reaction, accusing anyone and everyone of the Muslim faith of being somehow connected or even at fault for these horrific events. Multiculturalism, they say, is what brought this plight upon us. I would not like to delve into the role of Islam in the modern world, however I would like to take the opportunity to defend multiculturalism. The Maltese seem to forget how murky and muddled their own heritage is, with regard to race. Thanks to its central location and geopoliti- cal importance, the island drew to it people of many creeds and colour. Similarly today, Malta's stable economy and desirable standard of living has brought droves of foreigners over to work, live and contribute to Maltese society. Both specialised and unspecial- ised jobs are being filled by peo- ple from all over, bringing with them new and diverse perspec- tives, ideas and ambitions. It would be hard to imagine what Malta's economic landscape would look like if all foreigners decided to up and leave. Creating an increasingly hostile environ- ment for anyone who is not local risks this very thing happening. Multiculturalism is an asset, not a burden. The sooner we realise this, the more peaceful our soci- ety will become. Albert Grech Rabat News - 27 March, 2006 Swieqi livestock farm The atonement myth Reporting on the new project proposal we shall be submit- ting (MaltaToday, 16 March 2016, "Developer abandons plans for Swieqi tourist vil- lage"), the item says that we "are now committed not to propose any building beyond the footprint already occu- pied by the present aban- doned livestock farm". For the sake of precision, what we wrote to you when you asked for our views was that "we shall not be propos- ing any building beyond the square meterage already committed, and which has been committed for dec- ades". In other words, we have absolutely no intention to increase the size of the built- up area beyond what exists today. Because of the nature of the project we might need to reshape it. But we will not be proposing to increase the existing total built up area. Rodrick Fenech Mensija Real Estate "What are we to make of the thought that Jesus died for our sins?" asks Elizabeth Anderson in her article If God is Dead, is everything permitted? "This core religious teaching of Christianity takes Jesus to be a scapegoat for hu- manity. The practice of scapegoat- ing contradicts the whole moral principle of personal responsibility. "If God is merciful and loving, why doesn't He forgive human- ity for its sins straightaway rather than demanding His 150 pounds of flesh, in the form of His own son?" The doctrine of the Atonement was made up by Paul of Tarsus, as Will Durant explains: "Recall- ing Jewish and pagan customs of sacrificing a 'scapegoat' for the sins of the people, Paul created a theol- ogy of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ: namely, that every man born of woman inherits the guilt of Adam, and can be saved from eter- nal damnation only by the atoning death of the son of God." The idea that God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children is contrary not only to the moral principle of personal responsibility but also to every principle of moral justice. In one of his treatises, Kant asked: "How did evil in human nature begin? Not through 'original sin'. Surely of all the explanations of the spread and propagation of evil through all the members and generations of our race, the most inept is that which describes it as descending to us as an inheritance from our first parents." So, it comes as no surprise that the philosophers of 18th century France "laughed at original sin, and at the God who had to send himself down to earth as his son, to be scourged and crucified to ap- pease the anger of himself as Father piqued by a woman's desire for ap- ples or knowledge." (Will Durant, The Age of Voltaire) John Guillaumier St Julian's

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