Sant’s parting shot to MEPs: ‘Parliament gave in to facile stigmatisation of Malta’

Labour MEP Alfred Sant abstains on resolution dealing with MEPs’ right of inquiry over way Malta was ‘stigmatised’ by European Parliament

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

The Labour MEP Alfred Sant has accused the European Parlimanet of giving in to “facile stigmatisation” of countries like Malta, in his last intervention before Parliament’s recess.

The former prime minister abstained on the vote on the resolution ‘Negotiations with Council and Commission on European Parliament’s right of inquiry’ during the last session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg before its recess.

Malta has been the subject of inquiries by special committees of MEPs who investigated the state of rule of law in the EU member state after the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2016.

The MEP, who will run for the last time in 2019, said the European Parliament had made increasing use of its investigative rights with special and inquiry committees on major scandals such as LuxLeaks and the diesel emissions from cars scandal, which showed MEPs’ to contribute significantly to the European public debate.

“Exercises have been carried to understand how and why such maladministration and breaches of EU law have been happening and subsequent policy options to tackle them have been proposed. The first TAXE Committee set out ideas for transparent taxation across the EU and called for a legislative proposal on country-by-country reporting of companies' profits, tax and subsidies, about which the Commission announced its plans a few months later.

“One would have expected this Parliament, especially with regard to the recent TAXE 3 committee, to deploy the best available methodologies and proceedings in its evaluation of taxation policies and financial services. Rather, it has given in to facile stigmatization of certain countries, notably my country Malta, business sectors and professions.”

Sant said the limits of the European Parliament’s investigative rights were quickly reached as soon as tax populism and generalized statements replaced objective proceedings.

“Unfortunately this deeply questions the credibility and effectiveness of the Parliament's right of inquiry,” he said.

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