The appointment of former opposition leader Simon Busuttil as secretary general of the European People’s Party (EPP) is “a testament to his abilities and qualities, and the respect that he and the Nationalist Party enjoys in the European Union,” Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said.
Busuttil’s new post was announced this evening, meaning that he will be stepping down as a member of Maltese parliament and returning to Brussels, taking on the prestigious senior role within the EPP, the largest political group in European Parliament. Busuttil will be taking over the position from Martin Kamp, after Kamp’s 13-year tenure and standing alongside EPP leader Manfred Weber.
Congratulations to our @SimonBusuttil who has just been appointed Secretary General of @EPPGroup. His new position and responsibility in the heart of Europe is a testament to his abilities & qualities & the respect that he and @PNmalta enjoys in the EU. pic.twitter.com/O5LPNdRkZO
— Adrian Delia (@adriandeliapn) January 14, 2020
European Parliament Quaestor David Casa echoed Delia’s sentiment, pointing out that Busuttil was “respected and admired across the board”. In a comment on Facebook, Casa said that Busuttil truly deserved his new position and that he would make the Maltese proud. “He will work for all of Europe to move forward…this is a historic moment for the Maltese and Gozitans. I am so proud that Simon got such a prestigious position”.
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola was also one of the first to express her pride at the news of welcoming Busuttil back into the EU political group.
Busuttil is no stranger to the European Union. In 2003, he headed the Malta-EU Information Centre before Malta joined the EU and was also a member of Malta’s Core Negotiating Group. Busuttil was the first candidate to be elected in the first European Parliament elections in Malta and became a member of the European People’s Party (EPP). He sat on various committees including the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control and its Committee on Budgets. Within the EPP he led the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and covered issues such as the common European immigration and asylum policy.
In 2013, Busuttil contested, and won, the post of the leader of the Nationalist Party – a role he stepped down from after a devastating loss for him and the party at the 2017 elections.
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) January 14, 2020
Busuttil was then replaced as party leader by Adrian Delia and kept his position as a member of parliament, remaining active against government corruption and campaigning to strengthen the rule of law and obtain justice for murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, today acknowledged Busuttil’s battle in a tweet this evening, saying “(Busuttil) fought the cabal that murdered my mum. His life was made hell because he went after them too, so I’m happy he’s now been turned into a positive example. A Europe that rejects the violence and corruption of Muscat and instead accepts his opposite is what we all want.”
He fought the cabal that murdered my mum. His life was made hell because he went after them too, so I'm happy he's now been turned into a positive example. A Europe that rejects the violence and corruption of Muscat and instead accepts his opposite is what we all want. https://t.co/hG9sKkVnjI
— Matthew Caruana Galizia (@mcaruanagalizia) January 14, 2020
Former prime minister Joseph Muscat was known to have been eyeing a top post in Brussels but these dreams went out of the window. Later, a series of revelations in the investigations on Caruana Galizia’s assassination were linked to those closest to him.
This irony was highlighted by a few Nationalist politicians including MP Jason Azzopardi who said on Twitter: “whilst Joseph Muscat ran, chased & begged for a top EU job to no avail, Simon Busuttil had a top EU job running & chasing him.”