The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

GRECO report direct result of irresponsible Opposition actions in Europe – Joseph Muscat

Albert Galea Monday, 15 April 2019, 18:05 Last update: about 4 months ago

The recently published report on Malta by the Group of States against Corruption within the Council of Europe (GRECO) is a direct result of the “irresponsible” way that “part of the Opposition” has acted in European fora in these past years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Monday.

Speaking in Parliament during a discussion on GRECO’s report, which was published at the beginning of this month, Muscat said that part of the Opposition had painted Malta to be a dysfunctional democracy where nobody could say what they wanted and where the government ignores the decisions of the courts.

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He said that this description had been fed by these Opposition “exponents” to an MEP from the European Green’s Party – Muscat here referring to the German MEP Sven Giegold – who called for Article 7 to be invoked against Malta.

If Article 7 were to go through, it would mean the suspension of Malta’s voting rights along with the denial of EU funds.

Muscat said that he was surprised when the Nationalist Party spoke out against the invoking of this article, saying that in doing so they are recognising that the exponents out of their own party are inventing these accusations.

He said that the facts showed that Malta was anything but undemocratic and that not only was everybody free to speak their minds, but the government had legislatively strengthened the media.

Muscat said that the government would be taking the GRECO report in a constructive manner and admitted that there were still areas where improvement was needed; “legislation is always a work in progress”, Muscat said. 

“We are definitely not a government which attacks or tries to minimise those credible institutions who draw up such reports”, the Prime Minister said.

Muscat said that, objectively speaking, there was the need to recognise that what is said in civil society is being taken as being more important than what the government says – this is a European phenomenon and a situation which “we must learn to live with”.

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