A delegation of MEPs will land in Malta tomorrow to investigate the state of the rule of law in the island in the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
However, citing a slew of online threats against Nationalist MEPs, the European People’s Party (the PN’s political family in the European Parliament) has now written to European Parliament president Antonio Tajani to demand adequate security for MEPs in the upcoming Malta delegation.
Emanuel Navarro, 66, is currently facing a court case after writing on Facebook that PN MEP Roberta Metsola should be burned alive.
Sources close to the delegation told Lovin Malta the MEPs’ concerns go beyond that specific case and also extend to threats made against Partit Demokratiku MPs Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia and the reaction by the people making the threats which was: “If you can’t stand the heat, don’t become a chef”.
They are also concerned at the government’s lack of condemnation at such online comments.
PN MEP Roberta Metsola
“A number of MEPs have recently been threatened with their lives for speaking out in defence of the rule of law in Malta, which this delegation’s’ work will be focusing on,” EPP chairman Manfred Weber wrote in his letter. “The serious threats made against European politicians in Malta is not something that this Parliament should take lightly. MEPs and national politicians have reported in court that the threats they are receiving for doing their duty are becoming increasingly frequent and are grave enough to cause these politicians worry about their personal safety and that of their families.”
“The violent assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by a car bomb last month has shocked Europe and exposed how sensitive the situation in the country is at the moment.”
“The delegation to Malta will be carrying out work that is politically sensitive in an environment where members have been threatened. In light of these facts, I underline the need for suitable protection for the MEPs’ delegation to Malta and would urge you to also remind the Maltese authorities of their duty to protect MEPs anad allow them to carry out their duty without fear.”
A government spokesperson said Malta has offered all logistical support requested by the European Parliament delegation.
“Mr Weber should also remember that Malta hosted three major summits – including two EU Summits – hosting hundreds of delegations in the past three years, without any problem,” he said. “We also hosted hundreds of meetings during the EU Presidency which Malta successfully concluded in the first half of this year. This is not to mention that there was another EP mission to Malta this same year and everything proceeded smoothly. “
“So Mr Weber can rest assured that as in previous occasions Malta will offer maximum hospitality to the MEP delegation which was, after all, welcomed by the Prime Minister when it was announced.”
The MEPs plan to speak to several stakeholders during their trip – including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, police commissioner Laurence Cutajar, Attorney General Peter Grech, representatives from the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, rule of law activists, Matthew Caruana Galizia and other journalists, as well as Jonathan Ferris – the former police inspector and FIAU official who has claimed the FIAU had sacked him because it didn’t want him to investigate reports the Prime Minister’s wife owns an offshore company.
The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and audit firm Nexia BT have been invited to address the delegation of MEPs, but have yet to confirm their attendance.