The Maltese government is coming under increasing pressure. After Chief of Staff Keith Schembri resigned on Tuesday morning, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi resigned this afternoon, and Economics Minister Chris Cardona suspended himself from duty until the ongoing investigations are concluded. Schembri and Mizzi are involved in the Panama Papers and corruption allegations reported by Daphne Caruana Galizia. The journalist was killed by a car bomb two years ago and the masterminds behind the murder are still not apprehended. The Council of Europe sent special rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt, who in his final report accused the Maltese judiciary of being dependent on the government. After the resignations of three members of the government, calls for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to step down are growing in Malta.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The resignations of three cabinet members give hope that impunity in Malta will come to an end. Justice must finally be reinstalled in Malta. The murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the criminal doings of Maltese government members that she had revealed must be investigated. The European Parliament must immediately send a special mission to Malta. The EU Commission must end its inactive silence on the situation in Malta. Also the German government’s years of looking the other way does not do justice to the importance of Europe’s fundamental values.
The Special Rapporteur of the Council of Europe gave a crushing testimony to the Maltese rule of law. The anger of the Maltese population about the corrupt behaviour of the political and financial elite in Malta is understandable. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should also resign in order to give Malta a fresh start. Citizens’ demands for resignation are absolutely justified. For years, Muscat has covered for three key members of the government, even though strong accusations of corrupt behaviour have been made against them. The police interrogations of Schembri, Mizzi and Cardona prove that Muscat was wrong to hold his protective hand over them. Muscat must now take responsibility for this.”