Members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee have commenced their mission to Slovakia and Malta to assess the rule of law, corruption and the safety of journalists in the two countries.
Starting their visit in Slovakia on Monday, MEPs will meet journalists, NGOs and representatives of the families of murdered journalists Ján Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia.
However, while the MEPs will be meeting Slovakia’s leaders, including President Andrej Kiska and the interior and justice ministers, no Maltese government members have confirmed a meeting with the MEPs.
While Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be unavailable given his commitments in Brussels where EU leaders will hold a summit, tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, who according to the Sunday Times of Malta informed MEPs that he is “unavailable.”
In August 2017, Socialist MEP Ana Gomes, who headed a separate delegation investigating the Panama Papers revelations and the rule of law in Malta lambasted Muscat for refusing to meet MEPs.
Gomes had said that Muscat’s government was embarrassing all Socialist MEPs after revealing that Muscat and his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, had again turned down an invitation to appear before her committee.
The delegation which includes Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, chairperson Sophia in ’t Veld, Josef Weidenholzer, Monica Macovei and Sven Giegold will be in Malta on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 September.
This delegation will follow up previous missions to both countries after the assassinations of Kuciak and Caruana Galizia.
MEPs will also exchange views with journalists and representatives of the Daphne Project and discuss the situation with NGOs concerned with the rule of law and fighting corruption in Malta.
Other meetings are scheduled with the Attorney General, the Chief of Justice, police authorities and the heads of the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the concessionaires of Malta’s controversial cash for passport scheme Henley and Partners.