The Maltese government has largely ignored the European Commission’s recommendations for improving the rule of law in the country, a new report by humanitarian NGO Aditus Foundation has found.
The report was sent to the European Commission last week as part of Aditus’ suggestions for additional recommendations. The suggestions are accepted yearly by the Commission in preparation for the following report.
When the 2023 recommendations were published in a report last July, the European Commission had noted little to no progress in many of the issues covered.
Of six main areas of recommendations, Malta had registered ‘some progress’ in three and ‘no progress’ in the rest.
As part of the report, the Commission made seven additional recommendations, five of which were evaluated by Aditus and found not to have been implemented.
Analysis by The Shift shows that the two remaining additional recommendations, which called for improvements in the media sector, were also not implemented.
In its report, Aditus found that the Commission’s calls for improvements to the justice system were largely ignored despite government assertions.
Similarly, recommendations related to institutional checks and balances were not achieved.
The Commission’s suggestions included calls for the involvement of the judiciary in the appointment of the chief justice. Aditus noted how “for the third year running, there have been no developments,” with the introduction of slight amendments falling “short of the Venice Commission and the [European] Commission recommendations.”
Calls for increased efficiency of justice and a shortening of legal proceedings have similarly been left unaddressed. Aditus noted how, despite the government’s launch of a consultation process, its results remained unseen while its process was opaque.
The Commission’s report noted that while “perceived judicial independence remains high,” its recommendations had been ignored.
Recently, The Shift reported how Prime Minister Robert Abela, alongside disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, have now aligned to sow doubt in Malta’s judicial processes.
As part of its recommendations for improving Malta’s institutional checks and balances, the Commission had called for the inclusion of the public in the country’s legislative process. No such formal legal process has been introduced since the recommendation was issued.
Additionally, the government has also failed to establish a National Human Rights Institution which complies with the United Nations Paris Principles, another recommendation called for by the Commission, among other anti-discriminatory bodies.
Despite last year’s damning report and the Maltese government’s continued failure and lethargy towards the adoption of the recommendations, government representatives have attempted to smooth things over in EU parliamentary discussions.
The full report by the humanitarian NGO Aditus Foundation, engaged in work to promote access to human rights, can be found here.