Press Release

Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the Group as a whole

Civil society must be protected

, 08.02.2018 - 09:49
Paper Men

The role played by members of civil society is crucial in a democracy. Civil society organisations must be allowed to work freely and we will always stand up to ensure that their rights are guaranteed. The EU has an essential role in strengthening the work done by civil society in Malta and in all European states. MEP Roberta Metsola and MEP Francis Zammit Dimech addressed the European Parliament Plenary Session debate on the role of civil society.

The European People's Party Coordinator on the issue, Roberta Metsola, who led the debate in Parliament, said: “Civil society has always been a a catalyst for change in our European Union. In Malta the role so many organisations are playing as they push the need for protection of media freedom, environmental responsibility and the quest for justice, characterises a spirit in my country today.

Yes, they are sometimes thorns in a politician’s side but that is why they exist and why a healthy civil society is so desperately needed. They are there to hold those in authority to account, to speak truth to power and to demand better. Without them democracy is weaker. So when they find themselves under threat, unable to access funding or unable to operate as freely as they should, then we should all be concerned and we will not ignore the issue."

MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said: “It is unacceptable that some Member States, including Malta, appeals made by civil society - including those on good governance - are ignored; that questions raised are also ignored, and in some instances, members of civil society are systematically discredited by politicians through deceptive tactics and campaigns. Civil society should have a right of opinion, right to express itself and participate, right to be informed of what is happening in the country and the freedom to associate itself and take a stand on various political issues. The fundamental rights of civil society should be protected.”

Zammit Dimech, who late last year moderated the EPP-Group Public Hearing on Models of Civil Society, added: "It is crucial that organizations that form part of civil society receive funding to be active at national and European level. We also must ensure that the EU assists in the financing of offspring projects without much paperwork to really help these organizations to play an active role in shaping national and European policies." Zammit Dimech thanked civil society in Malta and Europe for their determination. He also commended the work of the Civil Society Network in Malta and thanked them for their feedback ahead of the debate.

Note to Editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States

MEP Contacts

BRU - Phone: +32 (0)2 2845686 Fax: +32 (0)2 2849686
BRU - Phone: +32 (0)2 2845835 Fax: +32 (0)2 2849835

Press Contacts

Matthew Bonett
Press Officer for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and Maltese Media
Phone: +32 476 890 558


Tighter EU rules on single-use plastics
11.10.2018 - 10:00

Tighter EU rules on single-use plastics

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has approved legislation aimed at reducing waste from single-use plastic products polluting...
Secure LAN
10.10.2018 - 12:15

No more excuses from Facebook: data breaches must stop

The time for excuses for data breaches is now over. This must stop at once. European citizens should have their minds put to rest that their personal...
MEPs seek to boost railway passengers’ rights
10.10.2018 - 11:45

MEPs seek to boost railway passengers’ rights

The European Parliament’s Transport Committee has approved a Parliament Report on European Commission proposals to boost the rights of railway...
10.10.2018 - 11:29

Major step forward in reducing plastic waste

EPP Group in favour of new rules to reduce plastic pollution in Europe "Plastic litter is eating up our seas and beaches. If we do not act...

Highlights of the week

15.10.2018 - 19.10.2018
Press freedom

Fight for the truth: free and independent journalism

In the past year, our continent has been shocked with the murders of a number of journalists, which is a clear threat to freedom of speech and...
Computer crime

Improving security through information sharing

With Monday’s vote, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee will close the gaps in data sharing essential for tracking...
traffic on german autobahn,european cars and trucks

First step towards capping CO2 emissions from trucks

The Environment Committee will vote on Thursday on what could be considered a first step towards capping CO2 emissions for new heavy vehicles such as...


17.10.2018 - 15:00

New Erasmus+ Programme (2021-2027)

18.10.2018 - 09:00

XXI Annual EPP Group intercultural dialogue with churches and religious institutions

The XXI Annual EPP Group Intercultural Dialogue with Churches and Religious Institutions will be held in an...
18.10.2018 - 09:30

Hearing on Independent Journalism

Photo of Herman Van Rompuy, his grandchildren and European Heads of State