Updated at 5.10pm with Giegold reaction

The Nationalist Party has condemned a call by Greens MEP Sven Giegold for the European Union to invoke an Article 7 procedure against Malta.

Mr Goldberg made the call on Sunday after the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption watchdog said that Malta’s criminal justice system is at risk of paralysis.

The Article 7 procedure means a member state may be denied certain rights, such as voting rights. 

The PN said it was against such a procedure because the people should not suffer the consequences of the government's wrongs. 

"It would be better if Mr Giegold and his European Greens were to focus their energies, like the Nationalist Party on pressuring the government and the people around it who are undermining Malta's reputation," the PN said.

Read: Giegold urges HSBC to quit Malta

It insisted that the government should implement all of the Venice Commission's recommendations through constitutional amendments.

The government, it said, should also heed international reports which repeatedly complained that nothing was being done to tackle corruption. Every day of government inaction was detrimental to the country, the party said. 

PL: Too late for anyone to believe the PN

In a reaction, the Labour Party said the PN could not be credible in its remarks about Mr Giegold when its own MEPs had, for the past five years encouraged such people to undermine Malta, particularly in the financial services sector.  

The people knew who had really defended Malta's interests while the PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa rubbed shoulders with Mr Giegold on delegation visits to Malta.

It was too late for anyone to believe that they had meant no harm to Malta.  

'Political cowardice' - Giegold

The MEP said he was nonplussed by the PL's criticism - "I did not expect applause", he said - but felt that the PN was being cowardly. 

"It is political cowardice that the PN has been complaining about corruption and impunity for years but takes such a strong position against the opening of an Article 7 procedure," he said in a statement. 

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