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‘Ashamed To Speak Maltese?’ Blowback After Government Hires Spanish Lawyers In Repubblika ECJ Case

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The Maltese government is facing criticism for hiring Spanish lawyers who argued the Maltese government’s case in English in the European Courts of Justice today… even though everyone else spoke in Maltese.

A 15-judge panel at the ECJ was presented with arguments from Maltese NGO Repubblika against the government in regards questions over their appointments to the judiciary in 2019 and whether they were in line with the Treaty of European Union.

However, the fact that the Maltese government hired foreign lawyers who spoke in a foreign language to argue their case raised criticism.

“Is the government ashamed to speak in Maltese?” former MEP candidate Peter Agius asked.

“During the Repubblika case at the European Courts, Repubblika put its case forward in Maltese. The court called the case in Maltese. The European Commission spoke in Maltese, and the Maltese government… spoke in English.”

“Why aren’t we appreciating our mother tongue?”

And it wasn’t just him, with Repubblika itself also noting the choice of language.

“Repubblika was today represented in court in Luxembourg by lawyer Jason Azzopardi who made his arguments in the Maltese language. However, the Maltese government appointed Spanish lawyers to speak on its behalf. The case for Malta’s government was argued in English,” they said.

“The court had some questions to lawyers for the Maltese government about Malta’s constitution which lawyers for Malta were unable to answer.”

Speaking to Lovin Malta, Agius said he was surprised that Maltese lawyers weren’t employed by the Maltese government to argue their case when they had been in previous high stake cases in the same court.

“We produce over 100 lawyers from the University of Malta every year, but when it gets serious, we don’t trust the Maltese,” he lamented.

“To me, there are two levels of insult: not making an effort to hire Maltese lawyers and the language question. It’s a kick in the teeth to Maltese language – the use of Maltese will not prosper unless we are proud of it,” he said.

“If this were the Spanish or the Italians there would be resignations over this,” he ended

Do you think the Maltese government should employ Maltese lawyers to argue its case in the ECJ?

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