The delegation of MEPs investigating the state of the rule of law have decided to return to Malta following a series of revelations by investigative journalists as part of the Daphne Project.
Sources told Times of Malta that the members of the delegation want to address the Maltese Parliament as well as hold other meetings as part of their investigation. The date of the visit was still being finalised, the sources said, pointing out however that the MEPs have already expressed a sense of urgency.
The group of MEPs, made up of members of various groupings, had travelled to Malta in December on a fact-finding mission, meeting with the Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Police Commissioner and representatives from both the FIAU and MFSA as well as activists and journalists. It is not yet clear whether the MEPs would be requesting to meet the same people when they return to Malta.
Reacting to the decision, Nationalist Party MEP David Casa confirmed that “in view of the serious revelations over the past two days”, the members met yesterday morning and decided to come back to Malta.
“The situation in our country is unacceptable and will be met with a strong response from the European Parliament,” Mr Casa wrote in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, German MEP Sven Giegold, who was also part of the delegation, insisted that both Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri have to step down or be dismissed, calling for the immediate suspension of the cash-for-passports scheme.
On Wednesday, the Daphne Project revealed that a total of €1.6 million had been transferred to 17 Black, a Dubai company listed as one of the “target clients” that would pay money in to Mr Schembri’s and Dr Mizzi’s Panama companies.
The MEPs, Mr Giegold said, had also asked for a meeting with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans to discuss the new revelations and the findings of their mission to Malta.
“The situation in Malta is unbearable. The new revelations must lead to drastic changes to counter the general perception of corruption and a weakening of the rule of law,” Mr Giegold said.
Mr Giegold, from the Green party and a highly critical MEP of the Muscat administration, said his group will also be writing to the new head of Europol for a meeting to promote their involvement in the investigations.
They will also call for a meeting with the Conference of Presidents with a view to a debate the situation with the EU Commission and adopt a plenary resolution.