Agius wants Brussels to take ‘tangible action, no more soft diplomacy’ on Malta

Nationalist MEP Peter Agius writes to Věra Jourová to issue ‘clear position’ on Malta over failure to cooperate with Vitals PPP magisterial inquiry

Peter Agius
Peter Agius

Nationalist MEP Peter Agius has written to Věra Jourová, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, saying the Maltese government had failed to cooperate with the Maltese judiciary in its investigation on the Vitals PPP scandal.

He has now appealed for “tangible action” from the Commission so that it issues “a clear position and be on the side of the Maltese people.”

“The time has come for Europe to be firm with the Maltese government and realise that soft diplomacy will get us nowhere. The Maltese people consider Europe as a shield of rights, but we are often realizing that that shield is not working enough in favour of the citizen,” Agius said.

“I am therefore asking you for the European Commission to take a a clear position and be on the side of the Maltese people. The European Union must defend the judiciary with facts in the Member States, especially when the national authorities fail to cooperate."
Agius said Malta needed more effective measures to ensure the judiciary is supported by public authorities in the collection of evidence on investigations of corruption cases. “This is in the interest of Maltese and Gozitans who have been defrauded by corrupt politicians at the expense of patients and vulnerable people,” Agius told Jourová.

The European Commission’s 2024 report on the Rule of Law is now expected to be released in a few weeks. “While the government has sent its submissions for this report, he is convinced that the Maltese government is hiding the real picture in Malta,” he said.

Agius quoted the Vitals inquiry report, which confirms that Maltese governmental authorities are not cooperating with the Maltese judiciary.

“On the contrary, they are doing everything to hinder its work for justice. Citing page 1004 of the inquiry report, Agius showed how, in cases of corruption, fraud, bribery, and money laundering involving politicians, the government authorities refused to give access to documents to the magistrate,” Agius said.

“This clearly shows that there is a need for political and legislative action at the European level to spur a different attitude in Malta so that the rule of law really prevails to ensure good use of taxes paid by citizens.”

The European Commission’s 2023 report on the Rule of Law recommended to the Maltese government to step up measures to address challenges related to the length of investigations of high-level corruption cases.

Agius pointed out that the government had failed to implement such a recommendation because, through its agencies, departments, and officials under its control through positions of trust, it hindered the work of the judiciary. “This is not acceptable in a democratic country that is a member of the European Union.”

Agius has placed the fight against corruption as one of his six priorities as an MEP candidate.

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 action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

More in Ewropej 2024