A delegation from the Venice Commission will be holding meetings in Malta from Monday as it looks into the island’s legal and institutional structures, The Sunday Times of Malta has learnt.

The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law.

While details on the visit have been sparse, The Sunday Times of Malta is informed that the representatives will be meeting with various top officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne as well as members of civil society.

Questions sent to the Office of the Prime Minister asking whether Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will also be meeting commission officials remained unanswered by the time of writing.

As from Sunday, Dr Muscat will be in Dubai where he is expected to address a conference by the cash-for-passports concessionaires Henley and Partners. The event is taking place between Sunday and Tuesday. 

Times of Malta reported last month on a request by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Legal Affairs Committee to look into the state of Malta’s structures in light of recent concerns voiced by MEPS. As a result, the Venice Commission will be unveiling its opinion in December.

Following the request by the PACE, the government proceeded to also ask the commission to look at the island’s structures and provide advice. However, the Commission will only be providing a single opinion.

The government has since pledged to implement any reforms that might be recommended by the body.

Sources within the Council of Europe have said that the government will not be able to get away with failing to keep its promise, as opinions by the Venice Commission are closely followed in Brussels and are often used as a point of reference if related issues crop up.

Calls for the advisory body to look into Malta’s structures had also been made by the European Parliament’s Rule of Law Monitoring group following a two-day mission in Malta last month.

In a letter to the government some weeks after the visit, Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld, who headed the group, had called on Mr Fearne, who had met the delegation in Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s place, to consider seeking the opinion of the advisory body. 

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