MEPs begin drawing up contentious resolution on rule of law in Malta

Resolution to be voted upon by the European Parliament’s plenary session later this month, had become a major bone of contention between Labour and Nationalist MEPs

Flowers, candles and messages placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument at an event commemorating Daphne Caruana Galizia
Flowers, candles and messages placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument at an event commemorating Daphne Caruana Galizia

Members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee convened today to begin drawing up a new resolution on the state of the rule of law in Malta and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The resolution, which is to debated and voted upon by the European Parliament’s plenary session later this month, had become a major bone of contention between Labour and Nationalist MEPs, as well-witnessed by the war of words between the parties’ MEPs that broke out in the lead-up to last month’s vote on whether the EP should entertain the resolution.

Malta’s Labour MEPs have fought the prospect tooth and nail. But despite their protestations against a resolution they contend is “against Malta”, the debate on the text currently being worked out by the appointed LIBE Committee members has now been earmarked for this month’s plenary session.

One appointed representative from each of the LIBE Committee’s political groupings today met for what was described by an official speaking to this website as “an initial round of talks aimed at gauging different political groupings’ expectations from the resolution”. 

After that, a joint text will be haggled over and presented to the EP’s next plenary session, which being held between 26 and 29 April.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola is Malta’s only member of the LIBE committee, with Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer serving as substitute. Metsola, however, will not be participating in the penning of the resolution, which that will be left in the hands of one of her EPP colleagues.

Labour MEPs last month fiercely opposed the prospect of even holding a debate on the eventual resolution.

They continue to contend that thrusting Malta and its intuitions into the limelight in such a way would gratuitously damage Malta’s reputation at a sensitive juncture. They also argue that doing so could also very well jeopardise ongoing court proceedings against those who have been charged with the murder.

Such considerations have been disputed by Nationalist MEPs, who have pushed hard for the resolution.

In the lead-up to a vote held last month on whether the resolution should be debated in plenary, Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba had gone so far as to have rather uncouthly stated that any such debate would be held “over our dead bodies”, a remark that drew criticism far and wide considering the context.

Despite the protestations, the debate was nevertheless held and the vote to debate the resolution to be drafted by the LIBE Committee was easily passed through the European Parliament. The resolution is scheduled to be debated at the EP’s next plenary session, between 26 and 29 April.

Ewropej Funded by the European Union

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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