4th Dec 2023

Caruana Galizia family urges EU not to fund 'corrupt' gas pipeline

  • Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in October 2017 (Photo:
Listen to article

The family of the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has urged the EU to deny funding to a major gas pipeline project linked to a power station co-owned by the businessman who is on trial for her murder.

EU energy ministers are pushing to allow two major gas pipelines in Cyprus and Malta to be eligible for public funds, and fast-tracked permits - an exemption from updated rules currently being negotiated.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

This concession would ensure the completion of the €400m Melita pipeline, designed to transport gas from Libya to Malta and Italy, using EU funds.

However, the family of Caruana Galizia has warned that the owners of Electrogas power station, located in Delimara, could also benefit from EU funds – including a man accused of commissioning the assassination of the journalist.

Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb close to her home in October 2017, at the time when she was investigating an Electrogas energy deal.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that public funds are used for such project, which is not only going to be environmentally damaging … but it is also going to reward people who are accused of murder and serious high-level corruption that led to the murder of a journalist," Matthew Caruana Galizia said during a press briefing on Wednesday (8 December).

"This goes completely against any principles of morality and justice," he added.

The family has called on the Maltese government to rescind all agreements with Electrogas and hold its shareholders accountable.

They argued that, according to the terms of Malta's deal with Electrogas, the construction of the Melita pipeline will trigger a payout of over €100m to the shareholders, possibly including the person charged with murder.

Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who was caught trying to flee the country on a yacht in 2019, is accused of masterminding Daphne's assassination. He is currently awaiting trial.

"Sending a message that corruption is rewarded will make our situation many times worse than it already is, and for no public benefit whatsoever — not that any would justify rewarding someone accused of murder, as well as rewarding the corporations that benefited from murder and corruption," they wrote in a letter sent to the Slovenian presidency on 3 December.

'Real public scandal'

A new round of negotiations on the revision of the so-called TEN-E regulation, which governs funding for energy infrastructure, will take place next week – possibly putting an end to long and intensive discussions.

"This is for me, first and foremost, a question of moral credibility of the EU and EU institutions," said liberal MEP Claudia Gamon, who is leading the negotiations over this file.

"It would not make any difference if they were building a wind power plant. It shouldn't be funded with EU money if it is directly related to a corruption scandal and the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia," she added, arguing that this is a "real public scandal".

Gamon also pointed out that she had received a letter from Maltese energy minister and former MEP Miriam Dalli, praising the projects but ignoring corruption allegations.

"I find it particularly offensive that there was no word on the allegations made on what are transparent connections between the murder allegations and this pipeline project," Gamon also said.

The Maltese government has argued that EU funds will enable the so-called "hydrogen-ready" pipeline to be constructed by 2028, when the contract with Electrogas would have terminated.

For her part, Green MEP Marie Toussaint, who is also leading negotiations over the TEN-E regulation, said on Wednesday that "without democracy there is no successful fight against climate change".

"We are really living in a moment of truth for the EU, the European Commission and the European Council," she added.

The EU Commission said that it had not had any contact with Electrogas, and that they are not the project promoter of the Melita pipeline.


Caruana Galizia one year on: momentum is key

EU institutions must continue to seek justice for the killers of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruna Galizia in order to protect press freedom in Europe.


How Wilders' Dutch extremism goes way beyond Islamophobia

Without losing sight of his pervasive Islamophobia, it is essential to note Geert Wilders' far-right extremism extends to other issues that could drastically alter the nature of Dutch politics — and end its often constructive role in advancing EU policies.

Latest News

  1. EU-China summit and migration files in focus This WEEK
  2. COP28 debates climate finance amid inflated accounting 'mess'
  3. Why EU's €18m for Israel undermines peace
  4. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  5. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  6. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  7. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions
  8. Israel recalls ambassador to Spain in new diplomatic spat

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us