“How can we afford a government in moral ruin?” EP discusses Malta

The plenary session of the European Parliament is meeting on Tuesday to discuss the findings on the special commission sent to Malta a few days ago. The Commission, composed of members across the political spectrum, was led by Sophie In t’ Veld and discussed the situation with a wide representation of society.

11:33 The Debate has closed and the vote on the motion will be taken on Wednesday.
Sylvana Debono
11:26 Didier Reynders: Commissioner Reynders said that Justice needs to be done and a clear message has been sent to the government of Malta with phone calls and letters of the highest level. Journalists must be supported and justice reforms must be implemented.

The Commission will propose amendments on rule of law in Malta. We need to see if legislation is needed and also, possibly, infringement proceedings on the way the passport scheme is being handled. The Commission will set up a new mechanism on the handling of rule of law. A similar debate must also be made on European values.
Sylvana Debono
11:19 Catch the Eye: Furlas, an investigative journalist express solidarity with Maltese Journalists. Ward slammed the regular demolition of the Daphne memorial particularly by Valletta 2018 calling it unacceptable Censorship.

Shordova said that the length of the murder investigations is paralleled by what is happening in Slovakia.

Heischel said that the murder of a journalist is bad news for democracy.

Gruppini said that the root causes for the murder of Daphne were the lack of structures to prevent money laundering and corruption.
Sylvana Debono
11:17 Francois-Xavier Bellamy (PPE): S&D cannot preach when they have not been able to tell Muscat to go immediately.
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11:16 Ralf Seekatz (PPE): We are al long way from getting to the rule of law in Malta and Muscat must leave so that there is no tampering of evidence. S&D should distance itself from Muscat.
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11:13 BLUE CARD FOR HIDVEGHI: Agius Saliba said that f there is an anomaly it is an MP whose country is seeking to amend EU law to suit its needs, unlike Malta. Hidveghi said that the simple matter is Muscat should leave and the hypocrisy of the left is great on this matter.
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11:12 Balazs Hidveghi (PPE): The S&D are being hypocritical in their position since what is happening in Malta and Hungary and Poland is not comparable. The S&D even tried to remove this item from the agenda this week.
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11:10 Peter Pollak (PPE): The EU institutions have proved to be weak in the face of organised crime. Problems with corruption exist in many countries and all EU institutions must speed up the process in Malta so that the results of the investigations are speedily finalised. To this effect, Muscat must go , now.
Sylvana Debono
11:08 Angelika Niebler (PPE): This contracted murder has strong ministerial links and two have resigned but, what is Muscat waiting for? Only if he stands down dan the investigations continue properly. The Eu stands for the Rule of law and this in itself needs to be protected.
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11:06 Moritz Korner (Renew): The murder of Daphne attacks journalism everywhere. The question is why does Muscat not resign now?
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11:04 Alfred Sant (S&D): The situation in Malta is now one of transition. The criminal investigation has made sensational revelations but objective criteria need to be followed. Malta has made great progress and this is not being considered, and this is not fair. Commitment has been made to implement the Venice Commission recommendation.
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11:01 Paolo Rangel (PPE): I am ashamed that the European Commission is too shy and the European Commission too Silent on the murder. You do not have the courage to say that this is against the rule of law and if Joseph Muscat is so democratic, why does he does not just leave? S&D should be asking of that"
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10:59 Radka Maxova (Renew): Journalists defend democracy and transparency should be a given in any country. Journalists should not lose their lives and their death must not be shrouded in silence.
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10:56 Katrina Barley (S&D): Many journalists have been killed for trampling on the toes of people in power and we are obliged to act so that her sacrifice will not be in vain. Truth must out. Journalists must be free and supported.
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10:55 Karoline EDTStadler (PPE): Murder is a crime and Daphne has been silenced forever with the involvement of people close to the Prime Minister S&D should not be supporting him but urging him to leave immediately.
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10:53 Caroline Voaden (Renew): Corruption and crime flourish in darkness. The political groupings in the parliament need to apply the same standards against all and any country which permits corruption.
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10:51 Elena Yoncheva (S&D): We need to realise that many journalists are intimidated and threatened by people in power. "We need to stop playing political games and do something," said the speaker.
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10:50 Elissavet Vozemberg – Vrionidi (PPE): Why does Muscat not leave? What is he afraid of? In Malta the situation is getting worse and we need to listen to the people of Malta
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10:48 Hilde Vautmans (Renew): EU has a right to politicians of integrity and an independent judiciary and a dialogue with Malta is urgently imperative.
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10:47 Josianne Cutajar (S&D): We should strengthen European values and not take a position based on sides. We have made these breakthroughs because of the investigations by the Europol and the Malta police. hasty measures will not benefit the Maltese.
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10:45 Jeroen Lenaers (PPE): Impunity must end in MAlta but how can justice be done if the Prime Minister and those who have been demolishing the Daphne Memorial are still in power. "How naive do we have to be?" asked the speaker.
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10:43 Daniel Freund (Greens/ALE): The longer the crisis in Malta lingers, the more the government and the small corrupt elite will be able to keep up their operations.
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10:42 Anthony Hook (Renew): Rule of law is vital for all and threats to democracy affect all. The mission of the EU has taken up the mantel but it should not be the only time this is done.
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10:41 Todor Ciuhodaru (S&D): same mechanisms should apply for all states and the benefit of doubt should be given to all.
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10:39 Anderzej Halicki (PPE): People in power who commit a political crime cannot be accepted in this chamber and need to go immediately. We have to vote with the Maltese people as freedom and democracy need to be protected.
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10:37 BLUE CARD FOR BARRENA ARZA: You have never condemned the murder of journalists by ETA (in Spain) so can you please redeem yourself? He replied that any murder including the media is unjustifiable and wrong.
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10:36 Pernando Barrena Arza (GUE/NGL): If the EU does not give due support to the Maltese citizens, the level of trust in EU institutions will decline.
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10:35 Ruza Tomasic (ECR): Said that we are indebted to all those who gave their lives to stop crime and Daphne paid the highest price there is to the public service of MAlta
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10:33 Molly Scott Cato (Greens/ALE): EU Parliament needs to support Malta as corruption undermines the best institutions.
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10:31 Fabienne Keller (Renew): Maltese are still in the streets calling for justice. Muscat is deemed to be complicit in the murder. Will the EU council be involved in this debate?
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10:28 Evin Incir (S&D): We need a situation where countries cannot act like Malta without facing consequences. The investigation on the murder of Daphne needs to be concluded so that the EU then takes the necessary measures to restore public trust. The Venice Commission has made recommendations.
Sylvana Debono
10:26 David Casa (PPE): Allow me to start off by apologising. Apologising for the Maltese government’s failings over the past years, and its insistence on continuing to do this to this day. I never thought I would be this ashamed of the Maltese government. Ashamed that a criminal cabal hijacked this government. Ashamed that our institutions did not do their duty. Ashamed that Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered because of these failings. Ashamed that Joseph Muscat continues to grasp onto power even now.

But, colleagues, this is not the real Malta. These few criminals are not the real Malta. The real Malta is on the streets protesting every day. The real Malta is standing to be counted. It is this resilience, this courage, that is Maltese.

And while Malta’s government has brought us shame its people brought us great pride. Pride that we are standing for what is right. Pride that we are taking action to bring our country back from the brink. Pride that we count Europe’s bravest journalist as one of our own. Now we demand EU action.

We are not interested in vague expressions of concern or promises of monitoring. Now we demand that the Council and the Commission do their duty, and we demand that they stand up for the Maltese people. We demand no less. We deserve no less. I stand proud of the Maltese people. I stand proud with this European family, which has so far always been there to defend our people.
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10:25 Anne-Sophie Pelletier (GUE/NGL): Daphne said things which we have all agreed with. The collective shrugging of shoulders has led to the current situation and freedom of the press needs to be protected.
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10:23 Peter Lundgren (ECR): THe murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has shown both links right up to the office of the Prime Minister ut also that the EU is a paper tiger.
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10:22 Jordan Bardella (ID): The EU needs to look closely at all countries which have dubious activities and journalists must be protected.
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10:20 Alice Kuhnke (Greens/ALE): defending journalist's ability to scrutinise politicians should be in our DNA. Addressing the Socialist group, she said that in not calling for the immediate resignation of Joseph Muscat, the S&D shows it has lost its moral compass.
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10:18 Anna Julia Donath (Renew): Daphne had to die because she had to reveal the extent of the corruption in Malta. Called on Commission to fight for the rights of the European Citizens.
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10:16 BLUE CARD FOR AGIUS SALIBA: Lefteris Christoforu (EPP) asked how the speaker can be proud of the chief aid of the prime minister is involved and the prime minister is still in office. Agius Saliba said that he is proud of Malta and expressed concern that the EU has shown zeal on Malta but not on Hungary.
Sylvana Debono
10:14 Alex Agius Saliba (S&D): I cannot accept that because of the actions of a few, Malta is branded as a Criminal state. Today we have the alleged killers and the mastermind and the courts are being allowed to do their job. "Our institutions are functioning well," said the speaker.
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10:12 Vladimir Bilcik (PPE): Pushing for political change in Malta will ensure that justice is carried out elsewhere like in Slovakia. "Muscat said he will resign, well then he should go now," said the speaker
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10:10 Miguel Urban Crespo (GUE/NGL): Daphne's involvement in anti-corruption investigations and corporate sleaze have not really been followed up. Justice can only be done if the whistle-blowers are protected.
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10:08 Dace Milbards (ECR): Legal frameworks and support to journalists need to be improved so that they are protected from physical attacks, online harassment and unjust law suits.
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10:05 Isabella Tovaglieri (ID): The corruption in Malta is on the watch of a socialist not a conservative government as is usually the case. The protests in Malta are not partisan and the people are asking for a change in politics and the EU needs to speak out in support. Lots of the crimes highlighted by Daphne involved cross border crime and this should be looked into.
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10:03 Tineke Strik (Greens/ALE): The case of Daphne is not just a matter for the police but one which underlines the need to support the values which bind the Eu together.
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10:01 Ramona Strugariu (Renew): It has been too long and too much since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. "Every minute which Muscat stays in his office is defiance to the Maltese people and no one in the EU Council should have shaken his stained hands," said the speaker
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09:58 BLUE CARD FOR LOPEZ AGUILAR: Asked by Manfred Weber (PPE) why the S&D are not supporting the immediate departure of Muscat, he replied that this is up to the people of Malta and all member states must be compliant on rule of law. Political responsibility has been dealt with.
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09:55 Juan Fernando Lopes Aguilar (S&D): We committed ourselves to the sons of Daphne Caruana Galizia and this must be carried out. We also need to stop the sale of passports which permit Mafiosi to travel and move with impunity. We support the missions to Malta but we need to make sure that Malta meets the requirements of the rule of law.
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09:53 Antonio Tajani (PPE): Muscat should resign as soon as this parliament votes as this will be a vote of no-confidence in him and his government. Malta is a country which needs its dignity back and this can only be done if Muscat leaves immediately, said Tajani. "I remember people defending Muscat in this house," said Tajani. The murderers are hiding with the complicity of government said Tajan.
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09:51 Ignazio Corrao (NI): spoke of the mafia methods which had been used to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia. The cause of all this was corruption and money laundering at the very highest levels of government. Rule of law must return to Malta.
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09:49 Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL): When Daphne was murdered, part of the rule of law died with her. If journalists cannot be protected, then rule of law is threatened. The presence of government in the investigations on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia impeded the investigations.
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09:48 Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (ECR): said that corrupt politicians stole the states from the people.
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09:46 Jerome Riviere (ID): We do not hear the socialists in this chamber condemning the labour party in Malta "Instead we hear radio silence" and the Muscat government is a corrupt one "We should see all the government resign".
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09:42 Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Greens/ALE): Welcoming oligarchs and money laundering should not be part of any Eu Country's activity. The rule of law needs to become a priority for the EU, not simply budgetary matters. The Council and Commission need to be as brave as investigative journalists.
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09:41 Michal Simecka (Renew): The Eu cannot survive without upholding the values which keep it together.
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09:39 BLUE CARD for Miriam Dalli, asking if it is true that protesters were threatened: Dalli said that the protests are ongoing and "I am not comfortable condemning peaceful protests"
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09:36 Miriam Dalli (S&D): Daphne's murder was an act of terror and the reforms must be carried out in a structured manner. The Venice Commission recommendations are being implemented and we will try to speed up the process. "No one is above the law and time barring for corruption will ensure that they will be investigated," said the speaker. My country listens and responds said Dalli.
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09:33 Roberta Metsloa (PPE): We should not be out on the streets with a Prime Minister who refuses to leave and funds a state-bullying army of trolls. We are close to justice but not there yet. "Muscat must leave immediately if my country is to move on". We need accountability and a massive program of Reforms and then we will move on, said the speaker.
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09:32 John Tennant (NI): Muscat needs to leave now but history teaches us that when the EU interferes, it makes things worse.
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09:29 Stelios Kouloglou (Gue/Ngl): Prime Minister of Malta needs to leave now even if Malta is not the only place which is a fiscal paradise and where crime is committed. I hope that the same strength of character is displayed when the discussion is on Hungary and other countries. "Malta is the symptom not the cause," said the speaker
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09:26 Assita Kenko (ECR): In the continent of enlightenment we have accepted corruption and the murder of a journalist. "If Europe is to speak with authority and trust on governance it must keep itself to the highest standards". Because Daphne did her job as a journalist, she will not be going home to her family this Christmas.
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09:22 Marco Dreosto (ID): Daphne was reporting on the shady passport scheme and on money laundering. Malta has amnesia where immigration is concerned since Malta has refrained from helping in immigration.
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09:19 Sven Giegold (Greens/ALE): There is an alarming stagnation in investigations on money laundering and corruption. In the investigations of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia show the high-level corruption which is in place in Malta. "Why can you not follow up on the golden passports and the planning policies and initiate infringement proceedings?" asked Giegold.
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09:15 Sophie In t'Veld (Renew): We visited Malta and we are deeply concerned at what we saw. "We are dealing with hard nosed criminals who are ready to kill and they will not be impressed by bureaucracy, criminals who go right up to the office of the Prime Minister. The presumption of innocence should never become the pretence of innocence" said In t' Veld. Muscat's presence in the office is of great concern. The EU Council should be ashamed for not discussing this at the summit.
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09:12 Birgit Sippel (S&D): Venice Commission was very clear in the need for the overhaul of aspects of the rule of law. The involvement of Europol is very helpful. At the moment Malta is a symbol of corruption and this needs to be changed.
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09:09 Esteban Gonzales Pons (EPP): Daphne Caruana Galizia fought for what she believed was right. She was silenced but the thousands now cannot be silenced. "How can we afford a government in moral ruin. Every day Muscat is in power is a slap on the face of those who want democracy. Truth will be revealed. Justice will be done" said the speaker
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09:06 Jurova (Cont): Judicial appointments and prosecution services must be independent and while Maltese Authorities seem to be inclined to carry out the reforms, there seems to be little progress. "The EU expects full implementation of the recommendations of the Venice Commission," said Jurova, adding that the EU is based on trust. A new rule of law mechanism to be put in place soon, said Jurova.
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09:00 Vera Jurova: The Commissioner said that it is essential for all institutions to contribute to rule of law and the current debate is part of that contribution. "Daphne's murder was a great attack on media freedom" asserted Jurova. She said that the EU expects a thorough investigation and said that she had made this clear to the Maltese government. "We stand with the family of Caruana Galizia who wants justice to be done," said Jurova.
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08:57 Good Morning: We are live from Strassbourg and soon to be following the Plenary. Stay tuned…
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