The Malta Independent 25 April 2017, Tuesday

Simon Busuttil takes EU College of Commissioners to task on Panama Papers Scandal

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 16:56 Last update: about 4 months ago

The EU Commission’s inability to properly tackle corruption has left a sour taste among Maltese citizens, Leader of the Opposition Simon Busutill told the College of Commissioners during their meeting in the House of Representatives today.

Dr Busuttil said that “Brussels should find it unacceptable for an EU minister to have an account in Panama”, pointing towards Minister without Portfolio Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri’s involvement in the scandal.

It was also unacceptable, that a Vice-President of the Commission would hold a press conference with the minister in question.

He went on to say that it is this inability to act that has led to euro-skepticism and indirectly Brexit.

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Commission President Junker said that he “could not disagree more” with Dr Busuttil’s statements. He said that the commission has “been asked for decades to focus on real European issues, we are not responsible or possess the competency for the legal and parliamentary system of individual member states.”

The Vice-President of Energy Maroš Šefčovič, who was at the press conference with Mr Mizzi, said that he “went there because we want to talk about the things which are important for the people. Cleaner, more efficient energy which fights against climate change and reduces the use of heavy fuel oil is something to be proud of”.

Mr Šefčovič went on to say that the interconnector is a fine example of what European nations can achieve when working together.

In the same meeting, Opposition MPs Claudio Grech and Paula Mifsud Bonnici, who form part of the Social Affairs Committee, said that it was the Maltese government’s intention that the EU Presidency will provide a platform to discuss poverty and social exclusion, in light of the 2020 targets. Mr Grech went on to say that it is important to promote the exchange between national parliaments and look to implement the best practices of other member states to act as a catalyst for other areas.

President Junker praised Malta’s commitment to champion social affairs during the Presidency.

Government whip Government Farrugia, who was representing the committee for economic and financial affairs said that the EU should look to focus on economic coordination, stability, sustainable growth and employment.

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