Two years ago, on 16 October 2017, a car bomb killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Until just before her death, the Maltese woman had reported on corruption, tax evasion and money laundering in Malta, tolerating and involving members of the government. Since then, three men have been tried for murder, while the real masterminds behind the attack are still unknown. It was only on 20 September this year that the Maltese Government ordered a public inquiry by a new commission. A result should be available within nine months. The attack on Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 was the first journalist murder in Europe in a long time. In 2018, even more journalists were killed in Slovakia and Bulgaria.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“Daphne Caruana Galizia stands for all courageous journalists whose work defends our democracy. Democracy needs strong and independent media. The murders of journalists in Malta, Slovakia and Bulgaria were attacks on freedom of the press and speech in Europe. We must not and will not forget Daphne. The ordering of an independent and public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is a long overdue step, but unfortunately the composition of the commission is not sufficiently independent.
The European Leadership Awards honoured Daphne’s work in investigative journalism. The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, must pave the way for a Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize to investigative journalists, which the European Parliament, on the initiative of the Greens/EFA Group, called for after her death. Those who make public what governments want to sweep under the carpet deserve applause and recognition.
The police and judiciary in Malta must clarify the allegations of corruption put forward by Daphne and her network of journalists. Daphne must not have died in vain. Minister Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, the Prime Minister’s office manager, are still in office, although strong evidence of corruption has been officially established and published. The judicial investigations have so far had no effect. The Social Democratic government under Muscat repeatedly cites its current majority in polls and elections in Malta in the face of allegations of corruption. But the majority is no substitute for truth. The Maltese government continues to ignore rampant corruption, money laundering and tax avoidance. It is high time to turn the money laundering paradise of Malta into a functioning state based on the rule of law.
We cannot accept national governments undermining the European principles of the rule of law, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. The Commissioner-designate for Justice, Didier Reynders, must consistently enforce the principle of the rule of law and sanction Member States that violate fundamental European values. We Greens will not Rundfunk est until the murder and the corruption allegations have been cleared up.”
European Parliament resolution of 28 March 2019 on the situation regarding the rule of law and the fight against corruption in the EU, in particular in Malta and Slovakia: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0328_EN.html