Updated | Dalli: Metsola against sending MEPs on ‘rule of law’ mission to Hungary

Labour MEP says Nationalists voted against sending MEPs on mission investigating rule of law in Orban’s Hungary earlier this week • Metsola says speech on Hungary resolution speaks for itself

Roberta Metsola (left) and Miriam Dalli at the counting hall following the 2014 European Parliament elections. Photo: Ray Attard
Roberta Metsola (left) and Miriam Dalli at the counting hall following the 2014 European Parliament elections. Photo: Ray Attard

Labour MEPs have hit out at the Nationalist Party, accusing it not supporting a European Parliament delegation mission to investigate therule of law in Hungary.

After an initial statement by Labour MEP Alfred Sant citing the European People’s Party lack of support for missions investigating breaches of law in Poland and Hungary, Miriam Dalli has accused Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola of voting against sending an MEPs’ mission to Hungary.

The Maltese government on Tuesday will face a resolution by all European Parliament groupings calling for an investigation into the Panama Papers, and demand reforms in the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The socialist grouping is not backing the resolution, but proposing an alternative version.

Now Labour MEP Miriam Dalli has accused the PN of only this week having voted against sending a mission to investigate the rule of law and other failings in Hungary, which have been reported about several times.

“The vote was taken this week, at the same time that the PN MEPs are working tirelessly against Malta,” Dalli said.

The MEP said that in the 6 November vote, the PN’s MEP in the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE), Roberta Metsola, voted not to send a delegation to Hungary the investigate the situation.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party is a member of the European People’s Party, the PN’s political family.

Dalli, also a LIBE member, voted in favour of sending the delegation to Hungary. “Likewise, I am in favour of a delegation coming to Malta so that MEPs can see that the rule of law in Malta is strong.”

But Dalli said that Metsola’s vote had “obliterated any doubts as to whether the campaign of Adrian Delia’s PN was working against Malta or not.”

“The vote to send a delegation to Hungary was taken after the European Parliament agreed to a resolution accusing Hungary of going against the rule of law, the rights of civil society rights, civil liberties including LGBTIQ, irregular migrants’ rights, pluralism in Universities and education, amongst others.

“While the PN is supporting Hungary against sending a delegation of the European Parliament to investigate grievous accusations, it is supporting a resolution against Malta. This resolution is replete with points that have nothing to do with the debate on the rule of law, and instead includes issues which certain political groups and MEPs always used to attack the economic services Malta has to offer.”

Dalli, also echoing Sant’s previous accusations, said the PN was simply working against Malta for its partisan matters. “The Nationalist Party and its representatives in the European Parliament are defending other countries, but not Malta.”

In a previous statement, the PN MEPs said Malta’s reputation was being damaged systematically. “The only people damaging Malta’s reputation are the criminals in Castille. If Sant had any backbone he would ensure his S&D colleagues support the resolution on Wednesday and stand with the Maltese people and not the criminals in government.”

Metsola reaction

MEP Roberta Metsola said in a reaction that Dalli was resorting to "half-truths and obfuscation" after Alfred Sant's statements earlier in the day.

A spokesperson for the MEP said that the entire PN delegation stood for the respect for the rule of law everywhere "and will always say so. As regards Dalli’s pathetic attempt to compare Dr Metsola’s position on Hungary and Malta, here is a speech Dr Metsola gave to Hungarian Prime Minister Orban. It speaks for itself," posting a Facebook video of the speech.

There was no denial on the vote taken in the LIBE committee. "The reason there was a decision to not send a mission to Hungary is because it is abundantly clear what the situation with the rule of law is there," a spokesperson told MaltaToday. "The real question is why Labour is going through so much trouble to deflect attention. They sound desperate."


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