Italian MEPs question Brussels over EU funds for Malta gas pipeline

MEPs from EPP’s Italian delegation request European Commission clarification on Malta grant for pipeline that will feed into Electrogas plant

MEPs from the EPP’s Italian delegation submitted a request to the European Commission asking for clarification that EU funds will not be awarded to people linked to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

President Antonio Tajani and nine other MEPs submitted a parliamentary written question to the Comission asking for safeguards to ensure that European funding will not flow to Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“The indirect allocation of European funds to the man accused of her murder would be inconsistent and disrespectful to her memory,” the MEPs said, noting how the European Union established a journalism prize in her name.

The Caruana Galizia family argued that EU funds for a Malta-Sicily gas pipeline could benefit Yorgen Fenech as a shareholder in the Electrogas consortium.

Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of the slain journalist, had explained that part of the gas deal was for the Electrogas shareholders, including Fenech, to receive a payout once a gas pipeline is constructed.

“What actions does the European Commission intend to take to ensure that European funding will not be awarded to persons directly or indirectly linked to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia?” the MEPs questioned.

Last December, European ministers agreed to allow Malta to apply for crucial European funding that will subsidise at least half of a €400 million gas pipeline investment to Sicily.

But they also said that entities connected to fraud, corruption or conduct related to criminal organisations will be excluded from such funding, a possible reference to the presence of Electrogas as owner of Malta’s gas plant.

Daphne Caruana Galizia had discovered that Yorgen Fenech, a key shareholder in the Electrogas consortium, had set up a secret offshore company, 17 Black, to funnel payments to Panama companies held by government officials, including former minister Konrad Mizzi and ex-chief of staff Keith Schembri.

She had been investigating Electrogas’s operations before her murder in 2017.

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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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