MEPs on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee will be visiting Malta between 23 – 25 May to “take stock of the latest developments” since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The visit, which was organised “upon the recommendation of the Monitoring Group on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights,” is the second trip to Malta made by a European Parliament delegation since the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October, 2017.
In a brief press statement announcing the visit, the European Parliament’s delegation stated that it will be assessing Malta’s efforts to enact judicial and anti-corruption reforms and ensure the safety of journalists, along with an assessment of Malta’s reluctance to let go of its golden passports scheme.
In its brief visit next week, the committee will be meeting with the Maltese government’s top brass, including president George Vella, Prime Minister Robert Abela and members of his Cabinet, Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg, and parliamentary representatives.
“They will also hold discussions with commissioners and senior civil servants, representatives of Europol (the EU’s police agency) and regulatory bodies, as well as NGOs, civil society, journalists and representatives of the Daphne Project, and the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” the press statement adds.
The Civil Liberties Committee set up a Rule of Law Monitoring Group in June 2018, which was then replaced by the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group which “monitors and reports on relevant issues across all member states”.
The MEPs which make up the delegation that will be visiting this year are Vladimír Bilčík, Franco Roberti, Sophie In’t Veld (delegation chair), Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Nicolaus Fest and Konstantinos Arvantis.
The delegates will also be hosting a press conference on 25 May at 12.30pm at the European Parliament’s office in Valletta.
During the press conference held after the last delegation’s visit, members of that delegation expressed serious concern over the reluctance shown by authorities around the issue of prosecution of high-profile money laundering and corruption cases.
Their concerns that authorities kept passing the buck onto each other without any clarity as to who was supposed to be doing what were more recently echoed by Laura Codruţa Kövesi, the head of the EU’s financial crime watchdog.
Following a brief visit to Malta in April, Kövesi said that she had not managed to establish which authority is supposedly responsible for the detection of crime.