The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

‘Scicluna should spare Malta embarrassment of EP hearing - it won’t end well’, David Casa warns

Sunday, 21 July 2019, 09:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

MEP David Casa yesterday called on Finance Minister Edward Scicluna to rule out a bid for him to be nominated as Malta’s next European Commissioner because, “it will not end well.”

The Malta Independent reported last week that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be nominating both European Affairs and Equality Minister Helena Dalli and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna for European Commissioner after European Commission President-designate Ursula von der Leyen asked all EU heads of state to nominate two candidates each – a man and a woman.

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On the prospect of Scicluna being nominated, and with nominations needing to be confirmed by the European Parliament, Casa said: “Scicluna should spare Malta the embarrassment of an EP hearing.

“Not only has a court declared an investigation should be launched over Scicluna’s role in the Vitals Global Healthcare [state hospitals] deal, but he was also responsible for the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Malta Financial Services Authority while a bank that appears to have been set up to facilitate international corruption and money laundering was licensed in Malta to the detriment of our financial sector.”

It was under Scicluna’s watch, Casa pointed out, “that our supervisory authorities were politically captured so as to ensure impunity for his cabinet colleagues.”

“The minister,” Casa warned, “should avoid appearing before the EP - it won’t end well.”

Finance Minister Scicluna, according to this newspaper’s sources, is not interested in contesting another general election on account of his age, but is eager to give the EU job a go. While Scicluna has been praised in some quarters for Malta’s record economic growth, he is certain to face tough grilling by MEPs about issues such as the Panama Papers, Malta’s money laundering failures and Pilatus Bank.

European Affairs and Equality Minister Helena Dalli has also reportedly demanded that Muscat nominate her for the post. Sources say she expects Muscat to back her this time round, after he supported Scicluna, rather than her, in the Labour Party deputy leadership race. Dalli also expects the prime minister’s support in light of her track record in the civil liberties field, which has placed Malta among the highest-ranked countries in the world in terms of LGBTIQ rights.

But while Dalli is not directly politically responsible for scandals that have shamed Malta abroad, she will also likely still be grilled about such matters by MEPs, who are expected to pull no punches when it comes to Malta’s nominees, whoever they might be.

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