The S&D Group will later today back a resolution calling on Maltese authorities to bring those responsible for the tragic death of Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, to justice.
The Group also acknowledges the ongoing investigations, where seven people are currently facing legal proceedings, and the significant reforms introduced by the Maltese government to improve the judicial system. These reforms have been welcomed by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, and were backed by last week’s ruling of the European Court of Justice.
For the S&D Group, wherever there is a breach of the law, we share a common responsibility to ensure people trust in democracy and rule of law. MEPs have a duty to protect and uphold democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law everywhere in Europe. But we also have to recognise constructive cooperation, as we have experienced with the Maltese government, and acknowledge when these consultations result in positive reforms.
Katarina Barley, S&D member of the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group, said:
“There must be justice for the shocking murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and all perpetrators and their accomplices must be held accountable. It is a lasting pain to know that journalists are assassinated in the European Union for carrying out their job. We have created the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize in the European Parliament to honour her life and work, and today’s vote is in line with our commitment. We support the ongoing independent investigation and we must allow the Maltese authorities to carry out their work to ensure the truth comes out. At the invitation of the Maltese government, the involvement of Europol and the FBI have helped strengthen the investigations even more.
“The European Parliament is an ardent champion of the rule of law in Europe and we have a responsibility to speak out wherever there have been failings in the EU’s core values. It is also an integral part of our rule of law monitoring exercise to acknowledge where progress has been made, and we should welcome reforms that bolster the rule of law, especially when they are a direct result of our calls for action in this House.
“Last year, in the first annual rule of law report, the European Commission recognised the “significant reforms” to the checks and balances in Malta’s justice system, while the Venice Commission warmly welcomed reforms as “an important step in the right direction”. As recently as last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that Malta’s judicial reforms strengthened judicial independence and are therefore in line with EU law.
No member of the Parliament’s Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group can deny the cooperative approach we have experienced first-hand in working with the new Maltese government. The Government has taken part in a number of lengthy and detailed question and answer sessions with MEPs, including with the Prime Minister. Anyone present when another PM recently disconnected from the video link after only a few minutes and answering no questions, will agree that we do not always enjoy the levels of scrutiny and willingness to cooperate that the Maltese government has provided.”