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Nationalist MEP accuses EP President of ‘insulting Maltese and Europeans’

David Casa hits out at Martin Schulz after latter insists that Malta is well-placed to push through EU anti-money laundering laws despite high-profile names in Panama Papers revelations

miriam
Miriam Dalli
8 December 2016, 5:13pm
David Casa: 'This detachment from reality, particularly in the twilight of his European Parliamentary career, is unbecoming of President Schulz'
David Casa: 'This detachment from reality, particularly in the twilight of his European Parliamentary career, is unbecoming of President Schulz'
Nationalist MEP David Casa has hit out at European Parliament President Martin Schulz, after the latter said Malta’s ability to push through anti-money laundering legislation was not compromised by the inclusion of a minister and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff in the Panama Papers revelations.

During a press conference today in Malta, Schulz rubbished off questions that the Panama Papers revelations surrounding OPM chief of staff Keith Schambri and Minister Konrad Mizzi would impact Malta’s ability as chair to push through anti-money laundering legislation.

On his part, the Prime Minister said Malta would be welcoming the representatives of the EP's Panama Papers committee to the country, arguing that the government has “nothing to hide”.   

Schulz, president of the EP since 2012, will be returning to German politics, seeking a seat in the federal Parliament from North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany. The decision has fuelled speculation that he might challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel, who plans to seek a fourth term in elections next year.

“President Schulz represents the European Parliament in its entirety – and should therefore exercise caution when making his personal opinions public in the process of performing his official duties,” Casa, whose party falls under the EPP umbrella group in parliament, said.

“Members of the Maltese Prime Minister’s inner circle were caught setting up classic money laundering structures and had committed to transferring a million dollars annually into these structures – all while on a ministerial salary of €70,000.”

Casa said the facts were uncontested: “To suggest that these people can be trusted to drive anti-money laundering legislation is an insult to the Maltese and European people.

“It is also an insult to the many businesses around Europe that invest heavily every year to be able to comply with burdensome anti-money laundering legislation. While established politicians tend to make a habit of protecting their own rather than the interests of EU citizens, this detachment from reality, particularly in the twilight of his European Parliamentary career, is unbecoming of President Schulz.”

The negotiations on the anti-money laundering directive are expected to be finalised under Maltese Presidency of the EU Council. Casa said that this was an important topic for the European Parliament, as it will close many loopholes. Many hope that the EU reaches an agreement by June 2017 when the Maltese Presidency comes to an end. 

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...