Thursday

21st Mar 2019

Letter

Malta responds to Venice Commission criticism

  • The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, made it very clear that he positively welcomed the findings of the Venice Commission report (Photo: PES Communications)

Following the publication on 18 December of an report by Andrew Rettman on the Venice Commission's report on Malta, Muscat's one-man rule poses problems for EU, EUobserver received this letter from the office of the prime minister of Malta, which we publish here in full as a right of reply:

Letter to the editor, EUobserver

In a press conference soon after the publication of the Venice Commission's report on 17 December 2018, the prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, made it very clear that he positively welcomed their findings.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

And the government of Malta will be passing on all the proposals to the constitutional committee, which was formed a few weeks ago and is headed by Malta's president, with representation by opposition and government members.

It is important to point out, the current system is a legacy which dates back to 1964 when the current constitution was established.

In the current circumstance, the government urges all involved to put party politics aside and seek to improve on the reforms which started five years ago when the current government took office, to modernise our constitution and laws.

Malta's government is a reformist one. The reforms already underway support this.

These include the following:

- The financing of the political parties' law;

- The Whistleblowers' Act;

- A law which abolished the prescription on corruption offences committed by politicians;

- Reform which changed the method of appointment and discipline of Judiciary members;

- A law which created a power of scrutiny by parliament on chairpersons of principal regulatory authorities, and non-career ambassadors and high commissioners;

- A law lessening the powers of the attorney general in drug and other cases;

- And laws which introduced the right to a lawyer during arrest, the right of disclosure, and other reforms brought into force which improved this sector.

The prime minister also made it clear in his statement that he believes the opinion of the Venice Commission to be a valuable contribution to the process of legal and constitutional reform in Malta, because it builds strongly on what the government has been implementing since 2013, after so many years without change.

It is also an important point of reference for strengthening Malta's rule of law.

The Venice Commission's recommendations included amendments to the role of the attorney general, by separating prosecutorial powers from the advisory role.

The current attorney general was appointed in 2010, under an established practice since colonial times, that the most senior member in the AG's office is appointed attorney general.

The role of the attorney general is that of a legal counsel to the government on matters of state.

Three arrests have been made and the three individuals have been arraigned in court over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The investigations are still ongoing.

Sarah-Louise Galea, head of international media relations, office of the prime minister of Malta

Muscat's one-man rule poses challenge for EU

Malta's PM already enjoys the kind of one-man rule Hungary and Poland are trying to build, but can the EU afford another political confrontation in sensitive times?

Former Malta opposition leader fears for his life

Simon Busuttil spent 10 years as an MEP before returning to Malta to lead the opposition. He now fears for his life amid probes into high-level corruption in Malta's government.

Malta's PM cleared of Panama Papers wrongdoing

Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat says a year long probe has dispelled allegations he, his wife and political associates were involved in money laundering or fraud.

Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Jan Zahradil, EU Commission president Spitzenkandidat for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, responds to Emmaneul Macron's European vision ahead of the May elections.

A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension

At this week's summit, EU leaders should extend Article 50 until the May European elections. But they should postpone the effective date of the UK's withdrawal from EU rights, rules, and regulations for another year - to May 2020.

Italy should capitalise on Brexit

Now that the UK is leaving, Italy can, and should, step up. It is the third largest country and economy in the EU. Spain and Poland follow, but they are significantly smaller economically and population-wise.

The Magnitsky Act - and its name

It is disappointing that so many MEPs in the Socialist and Green group caved in to Russian interests, in fear of challenging a plutocratic regime, by saying 'no' to naming the Magnitsky legislation by its rightful name: Magnitsky.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  2. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength
  3. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  4. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  5. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  6. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  7. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  8. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us