The Malta Independent 26 September 2020, Saturday

Abela must initiate political restart in Malta – MEP Giegold

Tuesday, 14 January 2020, 08:57 Last update: about 10 months ago

New Prime Minister Robert Abela faces the great challenge of initiating a political restart in Malta, Greens MEP Sven Giegold said.

“A restart is only possible if he clearly distances himself from the old system of corruption and clientelism. Abela deserves a chance, but scepticism is appropriate,” the MEP said in a statement. Giegold was a part of MEP rule of law missions to Malta.

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“He [Abela] was a legal advisor to former Prime Minister Muscat and thus part of the old system. Malta must finally comply with European rules when it comes to anti-money laundering, the independence of the judiciary and banking supervision. Corruption and clientelism in public procurement and in planning procedures in the construction industry must be consistently prosecuted,” the MEP said.

“The new government must tackle all the problems that led to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. To this end, the Maltese Government must fully implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. The European Commission should immediately start the dialogue with the new Maltese leadership in the context of the rule of law procedure. Europe can no longer ignore the culture of impunity for money laundering and corruption.”

Giegold insisted that, if no progress is made by the Maltese government, the EU Commission must initiate an Article 7 procedure.

Article 7 of the EU Treaty sets out censures and sanctions that can be imposed on an EU country if there exists “a clear risk of a serious breach of the values referred to in Article 2”.

It envisages two steps that can be imposed by the European Council. A country could be censured or formally put on notice and then given a chance to take corrective measures.

If the country fails to improve its lapses on fundamental values, the European Council then moves to imposing sanctions that could include the loss of voting rights in the Council.

 

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