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Europe has not failed us, Muscat did

Those pushing the idea that speaking against abuse in your country is tantamount to treachery have no idea of what it means to be both Maltese and European.

Joseph Muscat

MEPs who lambasted Malta’s track record on the rule of law, its taxation system and the sale of passports were not attacking the Maltese people but a government which has failed its duty to uphold the rule of law.

Most MEPs who addressed today’s session have backed a strong cross party motion calling on the Maltese Police Commissioner to commence investigations on Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, among other things.

These hailed from different political groups ranging from the radical left to the conservative right.  A vote on the resolution will be taken tomorrow.

The resolution also notes that “developments in Malta in recent years have led to serious concerns about the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, including freedom of the media and the independence of the police and the judiciary.”

The Maltese government can only ignore this resolution at its own peril.  Joseph Muscat is increasingly affirming himself as a pariah on the international stage, someone who does not give a toss about fundamental values.

In fact while the European Parliament was discussing the rule of law in Malta, Muscat was busy attending the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Hong Kong organised by Henley & Partners, which he will also address.

For the second consecutive time Muscat’s response to scathing international criticism was to renew his contractual obligation towards the company in charge of the passport sales. It was a move noted in the EP debate.

Liberal MEP Pagazaurtundua Ruiz was spot on when she called on EU commissioner Jean Claude Juncker to suspend his friendship with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat until the state of the rule of law was clarified in Malta.  His failure last year to reprimand Muscat for keeping Konrad Mizzi in his Cabinet spoke volumes on the European Commission’s inertia after Mizzi’s name appeared in the Panama Papers.

Labour MEP Alfred Sant’s invocation of the strong electoral mandate of the Maltese government was in bad taste. So was the crass invocation of progress on LGBTIQ rights made by Labour MEP Miriam Dalli. Does progress on one particular issue absolve the Maltese government from any responsibilities on all other issues?

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi showed her priorities were skewed when she accused other MEPs of damaging the Maltese economy.   It is the Maltese government that is damaging the country’s reputation through its lack of action in the past years.

It is also mind-numbingly wrong that Maltese Labour MPs attempt to belittle the resolution as one drafted by the Nationalist Party. It is an insult to the workings of the European Parliament. This is disproved by the fact that the resolution was backed by groups with no connection to the PN. These include the Greens, the liberals, the conservatives and the radical left.

Malta is part of the European Union and shares its sovereignty with the other member states.  What happens in other member states is our business.  In the same way what happens in our country is also the business of other member states.  Moreover we elect our MPs not to defend the national interest at all cost but to uphold principles like democracy and the rule of law everywhere in   the European Union.

Those pushing the idea that speaking against abuse in your country is tantamount to treachery, have no idea of what it means to be both Maltese and European.  We do not want to live in a rogue state.  We want our country to be respected for the integrity of those who govern it.  We have nobody else to thank but Muscat for the bad publicity given to our country.

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