The Malta Independent 22 March 2019, Friday

European Parliament resoundingly calls for Malta police to investigate Panama Papers revelations

Julian Bonnici from Strasbourg Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 13:23 Last update: about 2 years ago

The European Parliament resolution concerning the rule of law in Malta, which was initiated following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has passed with 466 votes in favour, 49 against, and 160 abstentions.

The resolution calls on Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar to investigate the Panama Papers revelations as well as the politically-exposed people (PEPs) in the leaked reports of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). The proposed resolution also calls on the Maltese supervisory and judiciary authorities to investigate the licensing process of Pilatus Bank.

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The European Commission will also launch an official ‘Rule of Law Dialogue’ with the Maltese government; for an international, independent investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia; the commission will also be told to establish a dialogue with the Maltese government regarding the functioning of the rule of law in Malta and keep EP constantly informed.

They also call on the Commission to monitor such citizenship programmes in Member States, such as Malta, “as the latter must have due regard for EU law when exercising their competence in the area of nationality”.

The resolution will now be forwarded to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe and the President of the Republic of Malta.

During yesterday’s debate, the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats were the chief opponents to the resolution, with Tanja Fajon disagreeing with other MEPs assessment that the rule of law and institutions had collapsed. This was echoed by PL MEPs Alfred Sant, Miriam Dalli, and Marlene Mizzi, with the three all pointing to progressive legislation enacted in the country over the last four years as evidence of this.

The three all claimed at one point that the parliamentarians were quick to condemn the country, without objectively examining the facts, clearly showing the partisanship and double standards of some MEPs.

In reply, Frank Engel from the EPP told parliament, the socialists in particular, that they were not asserting that the rule of law hadn’t collapsed after Caruana Galizia's death, but a long time before and that it was a consequence of the collapse.

This sentiment was echoed by PN MEPs Roberta Metsola, David Casa, and Francis Zammit Dimech with the former telling parliament that the country depended on the EU to guarantee that the rule of law is never undermined. 

“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.”

She went on to criticise the PM for calling those who spoke up against the government as traitors. “The commission cannot remain silent, the situation is desperate, stand with us and do not let us down now when we need you the most.”

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