For many of us, EU membership is important because it offers hope in preventing the country’s two all-powerful political parties from trampling on the rule of law.
Action by the European Parliament has taken to task the European Commission’s failures.
The European Parliament is now expected to approve a strongly worded resolution next Tuesday which calls on the police to commence investigations against the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, Minister Konrad Mizzi, Nexia BT and Pilatus Bank.
This has been adopted by all parliamentary groups, including the Greens, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the European Left and the European Popular Party. The only exception is the Socialist group.
Such investigations – if conducted well – would be in our national interest and not against it. We reject the argument that Maltese MEPs who vote for this resolution are betraying their country. In fact, those MEPs voting against the resolution will be the ones betraying us, because they will be voting against a call for Malta to stand in line with European values.
The insular aversion to any criticism from international organisations, of which we form an integral part, is nothing short of a hangover from the country’s Mintoffian past. Then, criticism by politicians from other countries was branded as ‘foreign interference’.
The narrative has raised its ugly head again under a Labour administration with the same aim – silencing dissent. It betrays an anachronistic mind frame which has outlived the Labour Party’s conversion from its not so distant Eurosceptic past.
Labour MEP and former Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant’s declaration that the PN is “orchestrating a joint effort to attack Malta’s reputation”, is a clear reminder of this outdated mentality. Moreover, Sant is not saying the truth: the resolution is supported by MEPs from European groups that have no connection with the PN.
Labour MEP Miriam Dalli chose to turn the tables on Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola for voting against sending an EU delegation to investigate similar issues in Hungary, where the ruling party are members of the same European political group as the PN. Metsola hit back, saying the situation there did not to warrant a delegation.
Dalli failed to see that she is subject to the same criticism she unleashed on Metsola. Like her Socialist colleagues, she was very vociferous on Hungary but she is not supporting the resolution on Malta. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
It comes as no surprise that, on the eve of this important resolution on Malta, newspaper Illum resurrected old news by publishing an FIAU report which absolves Pilatus Bank from any wrong doing. The report was concluded in September 2016, a month after the resignation of FIAU Director Manfred Galdes, during whose term the original damning reports were written. The news that resurfaced today in Illum as ‘exclusive’ was published in The Times on 12 September.
The change of heart by the FIAU after the resignation of its director confirms the institutional crisis of the past two years which have seen a change in goalposts to accommodate the powers that be.