The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

'Politico' says European socialists 'start to call for Muscat's head'

Julian Bonnici Tuesday, 16 January 2018, 10:50 Last update: about 5 years ago

Influential European publication 'Politico' has picked up on a potential inner conflict within the Party of European Socialists (PES), of which the Labour Party forms part, after MEP Ana Gomes endorsed a message calling for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s resignation.

“It’s hard to know what external political force could topple the government of Malta, long dogged by claims of corruption. The move by some fellow Socialist MEPs to say it’s time for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign won’t be welcomed in Valletta,” a note within the Brussels Playbook reads.

The article was quoting Gomes, who was replying to a tweet published by PN MP Simon Busuttill who said that “the only reason why the Prime Minister will not do the right thing and sack Mizzi and Schembri is that if they go, he must go too. So it's all about self-preservation. He is putting his own personal interest ahead of the national interest.”

“That is also, unfortunately, my own conclusion. Mine/his own political Group, @TheProgressives cannot condone it: [they] cannot act as @EPPGroup has been acting regarding PM Órban, protecting him bcs he is from ‘the family’,” Gomes replied.

The exchange on social media came after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said his government will “take [their] own decision” when he was approached by The Times of Malta following the damning report of the MEP delegation who visited Malta to investigate the state of the rule of law in the country, of which Gomes formed part of.

The report called for the removal and immediate investigation of individuals in public office who were implicated in serious acts of corruption and money laundering, as a result of Panama Papers revelations and FIAU reports, such as Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

“Keeping them in office affects the credibility of the Government, fuels the perception of impunity and may result in further damage to State interests by enabling the continuation of criminal activity,” the report reads.

“I disagree with the analysis [in the report], I still respect it, and I met with the delegation. But I think that most of the things they wrote in the report were basically decided beforehand,”  Muscat said of the report’s recommendations.

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