Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said he hopes to be able to continue to make use of Richard Cachia Caruana’s expertise on the EU.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has not ruled out making use of the services of his former permanent representative to the EU, Richard Cachia Caruana, since his resignation after a successful Opposition motion of no-confidence.
A long-standing member of the Nationalist Party strategy group, Cachia Caruana was invited to attend Cabinet meetings as EU liaison, for which he was paid the highest salary in the civil service at €148,000.
Since moving out of his Brussels post, Cachia Caruana is now receiving a terminal benefit that should amount to six months' pay, or €74,000.
"The Prime Minister hopes to be able to continue to make use of Mr Richard Cachia Caruana's expertise on the European Union in the national interest," a spokesperson for the prime minister told MaltaToday.
"Cachia Caruana has, however, not formed part of Cabinet since his resignation as Malta's first Permanent Representative to the European Union came into effect. There is no longer a contractual relationship between the government and Mr Cachia Caruana."
Cachia Caruana served as personal assistant to prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami and chief negotiator for EU accession, before becoming ambassador to the EU in 2004. He remains one of the PN's key strategists.
His resignation in June 2012 came after Labour filed a motion calling for his resignation, on the grounds that he had used his office to reactivate Malta's participation in Nato's Partnership for Peace programme, without having to seek the approval of the House of Representatives - based on cables sent by United States ambassadors that were leaked by Wikileaks.
The motion was supported by former Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.
Cachia Caruana served as adviser to the Prime Minister on EU affairs during his time in Brussels, ensuring that the PM was always appropriately briefed on key strategic issues concerning the EU and that of overseeing the preparation of all position papers, including any analysis required and the recommendations detailing the best course of action to be followed.
He participated regularly in Cabinet meetings in order to update Cabinet on all EU-related developments on a weekly basis, provide information and advice on any items raised in Cabinet that may have an EU dimension. As the PM's adviser, Cachia Caruana also chaired the inter-ministerial committee for EU affairs and oversaw the functions of the EU secretariat.
Career diplomat Marlene Bonnici succeeded Cachia Caruana as permanent representative.