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Moscovici: Not Commission’s remit to reproach Mizzi over Panama Papers

Commissioner Pierre Moscovici today told Nationalist MEP David Casa during a hearing of the Panama Papers committee, that the European Commission “would not get involved in member states’ governance.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
7 December 2016, 4:53pm
European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici
European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici
The European Commissioner for financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, has ruled out any sort of action taken by Brussels with regards to Konrad Mizzi, the Maltese minister revealed by the Panama Papers as having set up an offshore company and trust through Mossack Fonseca.

Mizzi was ‘demoted’ from energy minister to a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister although he retains de facto responsibility for energy affairs, on behalf of Joseph Muscat.

Moscovici today told Nationalist MEP David Casa (EPP), during a hearing of the Panama Papers committee, that the European Commission “would not get involved in member states’ governance.”

Casa was pointing out that the EU presidency had passed on to a member state whose minister had been tarnished by the Panama Papers revelations.

An external audit by a Big Four audit firm into Mizzi’s offshore holdings is still ongoing, since it was appointed back in April in a bid by PM Joseph Muscat to dispel claims that Mizzi had stashed away sums of money.

The offshore structure was meant to host his family’s wealth and future earnings, Mizzi had said.

“No, we won’t get involved in member states’ governance,” Moscovici told Casa.

“Very often it’s the very same people who reproach us for it, even though they are asking us [to reproach ministers],” the Commissioner continued. “We are not here to deal with individual cases. You can do it in a committee of inquiry, but that would not be in our remit.”

Last month, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents declined the PANA committee’s its request to send a delegation to visit Malta as part of its work programme, saying that missions to the Presidency countries are now systematically rejected, unless linked to “High Level Conference”.

PANA chairman Werner Langen told committee coordinators that the PANA visit to Malta would focus on the country’s compliance with EU legislation on money laundering and taxation.

The delegation’s visit is expected to still take place.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.