Directly after the murder of Daphne three years ago Eva Joly and myself demanded the creation of a “European prize for investigative journalism” in the name of Daphne Caruana Galizia and modelled on the Sakharov Prize. Only one month later in November 2017 the plenary of the European Parliament supported the idea with a large majority. Now the time has come and the bureau of the parliament has agreed on the rules of the prize. The rules will be announced this Monday after the brave work in particular of Heidi Hautala, Green vice-president of the Parliament and several of her colleagues across party lines.
Equally, the European Parliament had listed in several plenary resolutions the shortcomings with regard to the rule of law in Malta and called on the EU Commission to act. The Juncker Commission had consistently resisted any real action towards Malta under the government of former premier Muscat. Now, the European Commission has published a damning country report about the poor state of the rule of law in Malta in particular concerning the impunity when it comes to corruption.
Sven Giegold, economic and financial spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and participant of all Malta missions of the house since the Panama Papers:
“I am delighted that our tenacity has paid off. Better late than never! The Daphne Caruana Galizia prize will strengthen investigative and courageous journalism and press freedom. Finally, the European Parliament will announce the rules for the Prize. The proposal had been delayed and blocked by Parliament’s Bureau for over two years. The importance of investigative journalism has been demonstrated by Daphne and many other revelations of tax scandals in recent years. There are problems with freedom of the press not only in Malta but also in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Daphne Caruana Galizia is the best namesake because she was the only journalist in Malta to report so persistently and consistently on corruption and money laundering in Malta.
The Commission’s Rule of Law report on Malta finally demonstrates how right Daphne was. The culture of impunity when it comes to corruption is scandalous and has not changed since the murder. Even if the murder case of Daphne Caruana Galizia makes progress the lack of corruption charges against other officials and politicians in other cases continues. The analysis of the Commission is a big step forward. The EU Commission must now initiate infringement proceedings against Member States breaking the rule of law systematically including Malta. Unfortunately, the Commission has limited itself to analyse the rule of law in Malta as in all other member states. An analysis of the state of democracy and fundamental rights has not been put forward although the Parliament demanded just this. Therefore, an analysis of the EU when it comes to the functioning of the party system and fair and free elections in Malta is still outstanding.”
Report on the Rule of Law in Malta:
Press release of Eva Joly and myself with the demand for the creation of the prize: