Friday

10th Apr 2020

Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit

  • Malta's embassy in Brussels - 200 metres from the summit - plastered with pictures of PM Joseph Muscat captioned 'murderers' (Photo: EUobserver)

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat's presence at the EU summit in Brussels is sharpening demands that other leaders discuss the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Several close aides to Muscat have been implicated in the crime, which saw the campaigning anti-corruption journalist blown up by car bomb in October 2017. Muscat has promised to resign in January, but oversee the investigation first.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I hope that he [Muscat] puts the issue on the table himself - the news we get from Malta is dramatic," Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters ahead of the gathering on Thursday (12 December).

"If he doesn't put the issue on the table, I will ask it to him myself," he warned, noting that heads of state and government from across the Union are present.

Similar comments were made by German Green MEP Sven Giegold, who said the EU summit should not remain silent about the rule of law in Malta.

"European governments must not turn a blind eye to the culture of impunity for corruption and financial crime in Malta," he said, in a statement.

Giegold along with a handful of other MEPs had last week gone on a fact-finding mission to Malta, where "they found serious shortcomings and threats to the rule of law."

However, an EU source told EUobserver that "It [Malta] is not on the agenda."

A letter from the European Parliament's civil liberties committee earlier in the day had also criticised Muscat for delaying his resignation until mid-January.

"We fear this constitutes a serious risk, real or perceived the murder investigation and connected investigations will be compromised," it notes.

Sent to the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, the letter demands EU summit leaders take a stand.

The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, had sent the letter on behalf of the committee.

But when asked if Muscat should step down, he said no.

"There is a judiciary that is doing its job and drawing its conclusions," Sassoli told EUobserver, citing the respect for procedures and institutional responsibilities.

Rival parties from the socialist president took a different and more aggressive position.

"We think the prime minister should immediately resign," said Manfred Weber, the leader of the centre-right European People's Party.

"For us, it is a huge scandal that the prime minister is still in office," he added, highlighting the political links between Galizia's murder and Muscat's inner circle.

Weber said he fully supported the protesters that had gathered in front of Malta's embassy to the European Union.

Some had plastered incriminating posters of Muscat, describing him as a murderer, on the embassy walls. The embassy is around 200 metres from the EU summit building.

Opinion

Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?

The Maltese Labour Party is a curious creature. No minister, MEP, MP, president, or former president has yet criticised Joseph Muscat publicly and outright over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Agenda

EU values under scrutiny This WEEK

Rule of law, environmental protection, and minority rights will feature high on the agenda in Brussels and Strasbourg as 2019 comes to a close.

Opinion

Maltese murder - the next rule-of-law crisis in EU?

While Poland's government is escalating its rule of law crisis by introducing even more drastic measures against the country's judges, another problem is looming over the EU's commitment to upholding the rule of law: Malta.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us