Civil Liberties MEPs urge the Maltese Government to solve the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and to address corruption cases and gaps in the rule of law.
Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL), Head of the committee’s delegation to Malta, said: “Given the confidentiality, we have not been able to verify what progress was made in the investigation and if the authorities are still looking into all the different hypothesis about who ordered the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Resolving the crime is crucial, not only for the family of the victim, but for democracy as a whole.
We would like to see the libel cases against Ms Caruana Galizia, which are now being faced by her family, withdrawn. We have also asked the minister of justice Owen Bonnici to find a solution for the makeshift memorial for Daphne, allowing people to mourn or make a statement, and to unambiguously condemn the hate campaigns against her and her family”.
Ms In ‘t Veld noted the unavailability of minister for tourism Konrad Mizzi to meet with the delegation.
“We have several concerns about numerous scandals, such as the alleged sale of humanitarian visas to Libyan nationals, money laundering through Maltese banks or the alleged involvement of people in government circles in corruption cases. The mechanism of “citizenship for investment” though not illegal in itself, could provide a back door to the EU to undesired elements, putting pressure on passport free travel within the Schengen area. The Member States are closely connected, so in order to preserve credibility and trust, it is crucial to uphold the same standards across the EU.
We find particularly worrying the passiveness of the institutions in triggering investigations even in the face of incriminating evidence. Everybody is pointing at someone else, so it is unclear who will initiate an investigation into suspicious activities: the police, the magistrates, or just a citizens complaint. We therefore propose to invite the Venice Commission to Malta to assess the systems in place as well as the application in practice. And more broadly, we propose to put a rule of law mechanism in place to analyse the situation of the rule of law in all Member States on an ongoing basis, as per the legislative proposal of the European Parliament.
Finally, we call on the government and on the political opposition to act as a unifying and reconciling force to help the Maltese society overcome its divisions and animosity”, she concluded.
Meetings with Government, judiciary, police forces and NGOs
In Valletta, MEPs met the deputy Prime Minister Christopher Fearne and the ministers for justice, Owen Bonnici, and finance, Edward Scicluna. They quizzed the Attorney General, the Chief of Justice, police authorities and the heads of the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit. They also exchanged views with journalists and representatives of the Daphne Project and assessed the situation with NGOs involved in the field of rule of law and the fight against corruption.
MEPs discussed the progress of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia with some of her relatives, including her widower, Peter Caruana Galizia.
MEPs participating in the delegation will now draft a report, summarising their conclusions. The report will be presented to the Civil Liberties Committee in a public session and subsequently sent to the EP Conference of Presidents for information. MEPs also plan to draft a resolution, to be put to a vote in plenary.