Joseph Muscat will create ‘institutional clash’ if he forces through Brincat nomination

Simon Busuttil: “Joseph Muscat has united all of Europe against him”

Simon Busuttil
Simon Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has said the rejection of Leo Brincat’s nomination to the European Court of Auditors had nothing to do with a lack of support from the PN and that “the real damage was done by those who insisted on sending someone associated with the Panama Papers scandal, because Leo Brincat voted in favour of Konrad Mizzi.”

Speaking from the Palumbo shipyards where he toured the facilities, Busuttil said that Tuesday’s vote in the European Parliament “did a lot of damage the country’s reputation” and appealed to the government “not to make any further moves that would damage its reputation even further”.

He also offered his availability to be consulted on choosing a new candidate that is worthy of the country. “I assure the Prime Minister that I will use all of my influence within the EU to get this candidate approved.”

Dr Simon Busuttil and Dr Ann Fenech during this morning's visit to Palumbo shipyard
Dr Simon Busuttil and Dr Ann Fenech during this morning's visit to Palumbo shipyard

Busuttil stressed that the vote against Brincat – 351 votes – was so big that is it was clearly not only the EPP that voted against Brincat, but it was also the socialists, the communists, the greens and many others.

“In short, Joseph Muscat, through the Panama Papers scandal, has managed to unite everyone in Europe against him.”

Busuttil went on to say that his appeal was honest and genuine, and ultimately in the interest of the nation.

“If the Prime Minster keeps insisting on taking this issue to the council of ministers he will be creating a huge institutional clash within the EU, between the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.”

He insisted that doing so would place the country “between a rock and a hard place” and that the country should not enter the EU presidency with Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri as a noose round his neck and around the country’s neck.  

Busuttil’s visit to the Palumbo shipyards – formerly a national corporation that provided the bedrock of Labour’s unionised vote – was a very emotional one for him, since it was the first time that a PN leader had visited the shipyards. He expressed his satisfaction at the success achieved since its privatisation, congratulating Mr Palumbo on the investment he has made to turn the shipyards “from an enterprise that was a burden on the tax payer to one which pays taxes.”

‘Busuttil part of a political elite’ – Labour

The Labour Party in a statement claimed that Busuttil forms part of a “political elite” and that he is “systematically working against the interests of residents of the South”.

“During his visit to the shipyards, he didn’t even comment on the inconveniences that Cottonera residents face due to Palumbo’s operations, such as the noise and pollution caused by their grit blasting operations,” the PL said. “To rub salt into the wounds, he also praised Palumbo’s environmental standards, this despite the fact that Cottonera residents have taken it to court due to the inconveniences that it has caused them.”

More in Europe