Ulrich Fuchs, a European Capital Of Culture veteran and member of the Monitoring and Advisory Panel, has denounced Valletta 2018 and any related event after hearing of the comments and behaviour by some of the top organisers of the event.
“I personally took a decision and I hope that many of my fellow panellists will follow. I will certainly not attend any event held by the Valletta 2018 as long as people who are representing the project destroy European values,” Mr Fuchs said to the Malta Independent.
His comments come after Valletta 2018 Chairman Jason Micallef was put under international scrutiny after he, among other things, co-opted murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s final words into a public Facebook post on St. Patrick’s Day in an attack on government critics.
His regular attacks on Maltese artists and, more recently, protestors, has made many feel that Mr Micallef is not fit to lead the biggest cultural event to happen to Malta in years.
Mr Fuchs’ comments come alongside a petition demanding Mr Micallef to be removed from his position. The petition, which was started by a group of Maltese artists, is addressed to the Minister for Culture Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary for Valletta 2018 Deo Debattista.
“The irresponsible and embarrassing actions of Mr Micallef are causing irreparable damage to the reputation, programme and leadership of Valletta 2018. This is a legacy that the Maltese cultural sector does not need or want. We, the undersigned reiterate the call for Mr Micallef’s immediate resignation,” demands the petition.
His partisan leaning and use of his office to denounce Labour critics has also been noticed and come under fire.
“His ongoing derogatory public comments about the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia do not reflect the European objectives and principles of the Capital of Culture initiative. The role of a chairman of a European Capital of Culture cannot be partisan in attitude and purposely divisive in action.”
On his part, Mr Fuchs said that once his committee had selected Valletta to be the European Capital of Culture, he had minimal influence. However, he said would appreciate a reaction from the European Commission on Jason Micallef’s ongoing position as Valletta 2018 Chairman.