Today, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen received the new Prime Minister of Malta Robert Abela in Brussels. Meanwhile, the cases of nepotism in Malta continue. On Monday, the Maltese government had nominated Konrad Mizzi as head of Malta’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Mizzi resigned as Minister for Tourism only on 26 November 2019. Mizzi is accused of corruption and involvement in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Following protests by the opposition, the Maltese government withdrew Mizzi’s nomination on Tuesday. On top, the new tourism minister terminated an advisory contract with Mizzi, which had been concluded in December 2019 for three years and granted him an annual salary of more than 80,000 euros.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The European Commission must get serious and start a dialogue with Malta on the rule of law under Article 7 and initiate a number of specific infringement proceedings. It is not enough for President von der Leyen to simply encourage Malta’s Prime Minister to continue reforms. We deeply regret that the European Commission doesn’t follow the recommendations by the European Parliament expressed in its latest Resolution on Malta. Democracy and the rule of law are not empty words, but non-negotiable European values. Greens will hold the European Commission to account in the European Parliament.
Nepotism continues unabashed in Malta. It is inconceivable that an ex-minister under investigation in a murder case should be given a new post. The chances of a real new start in Malta under Prime Minister Abela have already diminished. While some particularly dubious individuals have lost their posts in recent weeks, Abela is providing Mizzi, the owner of mailbox companies, with a new job. But firing suspicious persons and finding new jobs for them does not solve Malta’s problems. If Malta is to overcome clientelism and conflicts of interest, the Maltese judiciary must consistently conduct investigations into all allegations of corruption. Replacing a few heads does not create justice. The Maltese government should implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission swiftly and in full.”
Read-out of the meeting of President von der Leyen with Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta, on 28 January 2020:
European Parliament Resolution of 18 December 2019 on the rule of law in Malta:
Recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to Malta: