EC must start “dialogue on functioning of rule of law” with Malta

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Commission must start “dialogue on functioning of rule of law” with MaltaMEPs have said that, “Malta needs to prop up its rule of law and the European Commission must monitor the country closely to ensure unbiased law enforcement.”

Adopted by an overwhelming majority, the resolution asks the Commission to “start a dialogue with the Maltese government on the functioning of the rule of law in Malta.”

The Commission is also tasked with verifying if Malta complies with anti-money laundering rules and bank regulations.

The European Parliament noted that the “independence of Malta’s law enforcement and judiciary may be compromised because the interests of individuals have infiltrated the public decision-making processes to further their own ends.”

Disclosure of the country’s programme of selling Maltese and EU citizenship to non-EU citizens, was also called for by MEPs, as well as an “independent international investigation, with the full involvement of Europol, into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

It was noted that in “numerous reports, from Europol, Reporters Without Borders, and the European Parliament’s temporary committee on the Panama Papers, they concluded that recent developments “raise serious concerns about Malta’s governance, freedoms, and illegal activities, facilitated by the weakness of the systems in place.”

The resolution underlined a “major problem” in “Malta’s poor record in tackling a number of serious allegations of corruption, breach of anti-money laundering laws and banking supervision, because the police do not carry out investigations and the Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit (FIAU) is under political pressure.”

The resolution also noted that those named in the FIAU reports and the Panama Papers continue in Government.

MEPs also urge Malta’s Police Commissioner to open investigations and ask the country’s supervisory and judiciary authorities to investigate Pilatus bank’s licensing process, a bank facing scathing criticisms in recent months.

The work of Nexia BT, a consultancy involved in the citizenship programme and named in the Panama Papers, should also be investigated, they said.

Doubts were also cast in the resolution on the practice of granting citizenship of an EU country against payment and asks the Commission to monitor these programmes.

In the case of Malta, it said that leaked reports pinpoint “possible corruption in the administration and the government is asked to make clear who has purchased Maltese citizenship and how it verifies if these persons have spent a year in Malta prior to the purchase.”

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