Chamber welcomes efforts to implement Venice Commission recommendations

OPM Kastillja

The Malta Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the letter sent to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, in a statement on Thursday.

The government has outlined the government’s efforts to implement the recommendations made by the Venice Commission to Malta in December 2018.

In the letter sent by the Justice Ministry, the government outlined its intention on the appointment of members of the Judiciary, powers vested to the Prime Minister and persons of trust.

The Chamber of Commerce referred to a document it published earlier this year which it had described as a blueprint to guide the authorities to implement the necessary reforms.

The Chamber’s president Perit David Xuereb described the move as a step “in the right direction” noting that some of the Chamber’s suggestions were included in the final document.

“The Malta Chamber has always taken good governance matters with much resolve, and late last year appointed a high-level multidisciplinary team that worked incessantly to assist The Malta Chamber of Commerce present a manifesto on the subject to the new Prime Minister Robert Abela days after he was sworn in” said Perit David Xuereb.

“We continue to take the matter very seriously because it is only with good governance can the Economic Vision we published in February become a reality.”

The Malta Chamber welcomed the reform of the Permanent Commission Against Corruption (PCAC) which was not considered sufficiently independent of the executive and has limited powers in practice.

Another measure is related to reducing certain powers of appointment from the Prime Minister to cabinet ministers and increasing the powers currently vested to the President of the Republic.

On the appointment of persons of trust, the Chamber of Commerce argued that such appointments within private secretariats need to be drastically reduced and that minimum qualifications were needed to be included in the appointment regulations. It noted that the proposal was partially adopted by the government, insisting that minimum qualifications for these roles are established.

The Chamber of Commerce said that it believed that the road to restoring reputation and democratic credentials is still long and many more measures need to be recommended and implemented but it also acknowledges that in these difficult circumstances, the Government is still pushing to reform its Governance structures to restore our country’s good name.

A webinar on good governance is being organised by the Chamber of Commerce on 27 May.