The ‘Rule of Law’ resolution regarding Malta has just passed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. With 466 votes in favour, just 49 against, and 160 abstentions, this resolution will now head to the the other EU organs, such as the Commission and the Council, as well as the governments of other Member States and Malta.
The debate about Rule of Law and corruption within the Maltese government and its institutions has initiated following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, with Maltese MEPs split along party lines over the vote.
The European People’s Party, which the Nationalist party is affiliated with, voted in favour of the resolution, asserting that the rule of law in Malta hadn’t collapsed following Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death, but had been lost long before and her death was a symptom of this.
“To remain silent is to be complicit. The time for inaction is over,” they said, with PN MEPs David Casa, Roberta Metsola, and Francis Zammit Dimech saying to the Parliament that the rule of law in Malta depends on the EU defending it.
“This house is the last bastion of hope for the people we represent. We hoped that this house would guarantee that no politicians with delusions of grandeur will trample our rights without our European partners intervening,” they said during the vote.
“To remain silent is to be complicit. The time for inaction is over”
European People’s Party
The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, which the Labour party is a part of, opposed the resolution, refuting that Malta’s institutions were corrupt. Maltese MEPs Miriam Dalli, Marlene Mizzi and Alfred Sant asserted that the Parliamant was too quick to jump to conclusions without knowing the full facts and said that a focus on progressive issues such as gay rights proved that the Maltese government had other priorities.
The now-passed resolution demands that all politically-exposed people (PEPs) mentioned in the leaked reports of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) must be investigated. It also demands that the Police Commissioner fully investigates the Panama Papers revelations, and that Pilatus Bank is investigated by the Maltese supervisory and judiciary authorities.
Malta must also show that it is compliant with EU anti-money laundering laws. A ‘Rule of Law’ dialogue between the European Commission and the Maltese government will now be undertaken, as well as an independent, international investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
This resolution follows a 90-minute grilling yesterday during a debate on the rule of law in Malta where the Maltese government was criticised for the IIP Citizenship program, attractive tax system, and accused of not taking enough action in the Panama Papers case.