The European Parliament has just passed a resolution criticising the situation around the rule of law in Malta and Slovakia.
Sven Giegold Greens/EFA MEP, member of the European Parliament´s rule of law monitoring group and financial affairs spokesperson, comments:
"The social democrat government of Joseph Muscat is more concerned with clearing away the memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia and suing her grieving sons for libel, than they are in leaving 'no stone unturned' in the search for justice. We demand an independent international investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“While the government has made steps to implement some of the reforms of the Venice Commission, this report reads as a damning indictment of the state of corruption, money laundering and the breakdown of the rule of law in Malta. It’s petty and pernicious of the Maltese government to spend their time persecuting the family of an assassinated journalist, instead of dealing with rampant corruption.
"It's incredible that the Commission Vice President Timmermans has yet to produce a comprehensive EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and was not even present for the Parliamentary debate on this very report the other day. The S&D group is severely undermining European values by failing to deal with brazen violations of the rule of law in countries where it they are in power."
Benedek Jávor Greens/EFA MEP and transparency and democracy spokesperson, comments:
"While there has been progress in the case against the killers of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia, threats against journalists and the lack of transparency around media ownership is seriously worrying. Media freedom in Slovakia is under attack from many angles, with Slovakia having the harshest criminal penalties for defamation in the entire EU and the reform of the Press Act that gives more powers to politicians to interfere with the work of journalists.
"Slovakia has the highest irregularity and fraud detection rates of all EU Member States, and there are serious concerns about corruption, conflicts of interest, impunity and revolving doors in Slovakia’s circles of power. The problems of VAT fraud and the prevalence of organised crime, which Ján Kuciak was working on when he was assassinated, have yet to be dealt with. The EU urgently needs a permanent and regular tool to check on the situation of the rule of law, democracy and media freedom in all Member States.“