EU Council ignores EU Parliament on Daphne

A person holds a hand on a picture of Daphne Caruana Galizia during a demonstration to demand justice over the murder of the journalist, outside the Courts of Justice in Valletta, Malta, December 1, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

EU Council president Charles Michel told a  Guardian that the members of the European Council did not discuss the assasination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during their summit on Thursday and Friday.

Michel was addressing a press conference together with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

EU Parliament sent report

On Thursday EU Parliament President Charles Maria Sassoli sent to Charles Michel the President of the European Council a letter with a report asking for action about Malta.  The report was written by Juan Aguilar and Sophie In ‘t Velt following the mission of the EU Parliament to Malta.

In a second letter, the European Parliament calls on EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to initiate investigations into Malta in the context of proceedings under the rule of law. On Tuesday next week, the European Parliament in Strasbourg will debate a resolution on the situation in Malta. The resolution will be voted on Wednesday next week.

Several MEPs had also appealed to the Council to take a position.

Serious attack on press freedom

The journalist of The Guardian reminded Mr Michel of his contacts with the family of Caruana Galizia and whether the Council discussed the issue.

The President of the Council said that he did not want any political interference in what was still an active case as at the moment inquiries are ongoing.

“They must be based on the rule of law and it is very logical that we didn’t speak about this topic. I do not want to have any interference in this inquiry,” he said. 

Michel described the murder not only as a human drama for the family but also as “a serious attack” on the freedom of the press. He said that he would keep contact with the family of Caruana Galizai and would be ready to meet the family when he visits Malta.

Pressure piles up on EU Summit

Scratch my back, I scratch yours

Dutch MEP Sophie In ‘t Velt who headed the mission of the EU Parliament to Malta during an exclusive interview with Newsbook.com.mt before the meeting of the Council agreed that the attitude at the European Council manifests a “You scratch my back, I scratch yours,” attitude.

Newsbook asked the Dutch MEP about her op-ed in Politico where she lambasted the passive attitude the EU Council takes when confronted by actions of the member states that do not respect the rule of law.

She insisted that the Council has the responsibility to guard the EU values.

Sven Giegold, spokesman for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament, said that “The EU summit must not remain silent about the problems of the rule of law in Malta. European governments must not turn a blind eye to the culture of impunity for corruption and financial crime in Malta.

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