The European Union has been urged to put the "desperate" situation in Malta on the agenda of a forthcoming meeting of EU leaders and to tell Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to step down immediately.

The summit, usually attended by the prime minister, will be held on Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

European Council summits bring together leaders of each EU member state. Top items on the agenda of this month's meeting include climate change, the EU's long-term budget and Brexit negotiations.  

Civil Society group Occupy Justice said it had written to the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, pointing out that Malta is in a state of constitutional crisis "because the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, has been linked not only to corruption and money laundering but also to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia."

The group also pointed out how former chief of staff Keith Schembri is being implicated in the plotting of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia "in a bid to stop her from uncovering the web of corruption in the Prime Minister’s Office."

"Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, is, as a minimum, politically responsible for this state-sponsored assassination, and yet he hangs on to power, with the clear intentions of obstructing justice," Occupy Justice said. 

It observed that the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee fact-finding mission in Malta in preliminary conclusions expressed the need for prime minister to step down with urgency.

European Commissioner Vera Jourova had also expressed her serious concern about the situation in Malta and indicated that there may be grounds for triggering sanctions.

We therefore, fail to understand how you, as the President of the European Council, can host a Prime Minister whose hands are tainted with blood

"We therefore, fail to understand how you, as the President of the European Council, can host a Prime Minister whose hands are tainted with blood," Occupy Justice said. 

The European Union, it said, should live up to its own values, including democracy, justice and the rule of law.

The EU was therefore urged to put the situation in Malta on the agenda of the European Council summit and to take a position about it. 

The council was also urged to call for the immediate resignation of Joseph Muscat as prime minister of Malta.

"If the European Union does not reach out to help its own when democracy is being threatened, then we truly will start questioning what is the point of the European Union if it does not practice what it preaches," the group said. 

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