Ambassador to Finland resigns after comparing Merkel to Hitler

Malta's ambassador to Finland Michael Zammit Tabona has stepped down after a post on Facebook where he compared Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler

Michael Zammit Tabona
Michael Zammit Tabona

The Maltese ambassador to Finland Michael Zammit Tabona has stepped down in the wake of a Facebook post where he compared German chancellor Angela Merkel to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

In a Facebook post on Friday - which was Victory in Europe Day - Zammit Tabona said that "75 years ago we stopped Hitler. Who will stop Angela Merkel? She has fulfilled Hitler's dream to control Europe."

The resignation of Zammit Tabona, who had been appointed ambassador to Finland in 2013, shortly after Labour was elected, was confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo, Times of Malta said.

Bartolo said Zammit Tabona would have to apologise to the German embassy for his "insensitive" comments.

The minister added that he would be reminding diplomats on the importance of using social media appropriately and responsibly.

Michael Zammit Tabona's Facebook post has since been deleted
Michael Zammit Tabona's Facebook post has since been deleted

Zammit Tabona's social media post, which has since been deleted, was immediately met with controversy.

On Saturday, independent candidate Arnold Cassola drew attention to the statements, remarking on Facebook that comparing Merkel to Hitler was unacceptable for a diplomat to do.

"You might not agree with Merkel’s politics, but comparing her to Hitler is a bit rich. Not even the pirate Captain Morgan would act this way," Cassola said, in reference to the government's chartering of Captain Morgan tourist boats to host migrants rescued at sea. Captain Morgan is owned by the Zammit Tabona family.

Nationalist Party condemns 'undignified' behaviour

In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the PN condemned Zammit Tabona "most incorrect" behaviour, saying it was undignified and far from the way a diplomat representing Malta should act.

His statements were "not becoming of an ambassador", the party said, as it reminded that Zammit Tabona had been politically appointed by the Labour government from outside the diplomatic corps.

The Nationalist Party said Germany had constantly supported Malta, especially Merkel, who had defended the country a number of times.

"While people have different opinions of her work, Merkel certaintly remains a Christian Democratic, and a source of stability in European politics who can never be compared to the far right's ideals."