Joseph Muscat gets massive thumbs down in European Parliament

With 581 votes in favour, 26 against and 83 abstentions, the European Parliament has criticised Joseph Muscat’s failure to step down in the wake of developments in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to enter into dialogue with Malta over rule of law failings
The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to enter into dialogue with Malta over rule of law failings

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a resolution asking the Brussels executive to enter into dialogue with Malta over rule of law failings and criticising Joseph Muscat’s failure to step down immediately.

The resolution debated yesterday, was approved on Wednesday with 581 votes in favour, 26 against and 83 abstentions.

The resolution delivers another blow to the Prime Minister, who has refused to step down immediately despite the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation leading to claims that Keith Schembri was involved.

READ ALSO: MEPs debate rule of law in Malta, Tajani calls for vote of ‘no confidence’ in Muscat

Schembri, the PM’s former chief of staff, resigned but Muscat has resisted pressure to leave immediately, postponing his departure until the 12 January when the Labour Party is expected to choose a new leader.

MEPs from across all political groupings voted for the resolution that was introduced to Parliament after a recent rule of law mission visited Malta.

The European Commission will now have to enter into dialogue with Malta over reforms to bolster the rule of law.

In a joint statement, PN MEPs said the European Parliament has expressed deep concern that Muscat’s delayed resignation continues to pose a risk to the integrity of the Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

PN head of delegation, Roberta Metsola, and European Parliament Quaestor David Casa said the Maltese government's actions are not a reflection of the Maltese people.

 “We want the world to know that we are not all cut from the same cloth as Joseph Muscat and the criminals he empowers. They tried to intimidate, threaten and silence by calling rallies to denounce us as traitors. But we knew then what the world knows now and we refused to give in,” Metsola said.

Muscat is still trying to cling to power for at least another 30 days of chaos: interfering, influencing and contaminating the investigation.  “He must resign immediately if our country stands any chance of moving forward,” she said.

Casa said MEPs were not interested in vague expressions of concern or promises of monitoring. “Now we demand that the EU Council and the EU Commission do their duty, and we demand that they stand up for the Maltese people. I stand proud with the Maltese people. I stand proud with this European EPP family, which has so far always been there to defend our people.”

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