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European Parliament ‘appalled’ at Abela downplaying corruption, calls for Commission action
The European Parliament in Strasbourg delivered a blistering indictment of the Maltese Government’s failure to address the climate of impunity that enabled the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia on the 6 year anniversary since her brutal murder.
It addressed the latest scandals which the Parliament said “make it evident that serious governance issues in Malta persist and that this affects people’s lives in Malta.”
In the adopted resolution voted on today, MEPs stated they were “appalled by the Prime Minister’s downplaying of corruption allegations” that stakeholders in Malta referred to as “an invitation to anarchy”.
MEPs further declared that such statements “continue to entrench the culture of impunity for public officials allegedly embroiled in scandals”.
The resolution takes note of recent scandals in Malta in particular the vote-buying scandal through the corrupt social benefits scheme as well as driving licence racket.
Among the conclusions, MEPs once again expressed continued concern at the impunity afforded to former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, as well as former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and former Minister Konrad Mizzi. They further “underlined that journalists will continue to be at risk as long as there is continued impunity for corruption”.
MEPs also condemned the recent interrogation of the NGO Repubblika following their protest at the public broadcaster and stated that “police action against activists constitutes intimidation that has a chilling effect on public participation and contributes to the silencing of civil society, especially in the context of ongoing impunity for crimes”.
The Parliament called upon the Commission “to take seriously the culture of impunity in Malta and push for a prompt return to respect for democracy and the rule of law” and to use “all the relevant tools at its disposal to ensure that the law is applied equally for all”.
MEPs from all parties rubbished the claims made by Labour MEPs that there was no impunity for corruption in Malta, despite not a single conviction for corruption being secured on any of the cases Daphne was assassinated for investigating, nor any case since.
In comments following the vote, MEP David Casa said: “The most significant threat to journalists occurs when there is no justice for the wrongdoing they expose, when people close to power continue to be afforded impunity. It is this very culture of impunity that made the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia possible and it is still very much with us today. Our work will continue until we put a stop to it”.
The resolution received widespread support with 437 in favour, 14 against and 66 abstentions.
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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 178 Members from all EU Member States
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