Busuttil hitting out at Labour MEP to bolster leadership bid, says Prime Minister

Joseph Muscat says PN deputy Simon Busuttil using court case against new Labour MEP to pander to PN delegates.

At the counting hall: new Labour MEP Claudette Baldaccino is one of several LCA members facing charges of misappropriation of EU travel subsidies.
At the counting hall: new Labour MEP Claudette Baldaccino is one of several LCA members facing charges of misappropriation of EU travel subsidies.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has rubbished claims by PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil, who is running for the party leadership, that Labour MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino should not have been fielded for a casual election for the European Parliament.

Baldacchino, formerly Qrendi mayor, is one of several members of the Local Councils Association being accused in court of embezzling EU funds used in the purchase of air tickets for travel to and from Brussels, following a probe by EU anti-fraud agency OLAF.

"Busuttil is using Abela Baldacchino's court case to pander to his delegates," Muscat said, referring to Busutttil's claims that Abela Baldacchino will use her newfound parliamentary immunity to avoid being tried in a Maltese court as long as she is in another member state.

"He [Busuttil] sounded more like a desperate man trying to impress his delegates. He wants to sound tough before his delegates as the PN leadership election edges closer," Muscat said of Busuttil's onslaught in parliament on Wednesday evening, where he took Labour to task over its "lack of ethics" in fielding Abela Baldacchino.

Welcoming the election of three women MEPs, Muscat said this result had been highly satisfactory, placing Malta at the top of the EU list with the highest percentage of female MEPs. The new MEPs include Marlene Mizzi for Labour and Robert Metsola Tedesco Triccas for the PN.

Busuttil yesterday hit out at Labour for not fielding Abela Baldacchino in the local council elections due to the criminal charges against the LCA members, and instead allowed her to run for the casual election to the EP.

Busuttil also questioned whether Labour had opted to push her candidature specifically so that she would be able to benefit from parliamentary immunity, which he said would mean the case would not continue. "Will the government now apply to have this immunity lifted?" Busuttil queried.

MEPs cannot be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal  proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties. This means that during the sessions of the European Parliament, MEPs enjoy immunity in the territory of their own state, the immunities accorded to MPs; and in the territory of any other member state, immunity from any measure of detention and from legal proceedings.

However immunity cannot be claimed when an MEP is found in the act of committing an offence. Other MEPs can ask the European Parliament to waive the immunity of an MEP.

avatar
Emmanuel Mallia
Simon, your biggest mistake in your lifetime- entering Maltese politics ! You are another lawyer,in a series, inside PN, who thinks that people believe everything their politicians say or do. Being diplomatic, in a way, as to hide the real truth is no more.
avatar
Although the focus is on Claudette AB and I do not agree that she should have presented herself for these by elections ,I must also comment on Roberta T Triccas. If you had to hear this woman speak you would thin she is the start and end of the EU Parliament! Typically nationalist Ms T T produces verbal bull*** and expect it to be consider as gospel truth. In every interview I hear, Ms TT makes it a point to tell us all, how quickly she went up to Brussels to start her work as MEP. What she is not saying is that she lives in Brussels permanently and has a husband, and 3 (or 4? ) very small children waiting for her at home. She came to Malta one day before the by-election and left immediately after. Nothing bad in this- but please do not insult our intelligence and do no try to dope the electorate into thinking that she has rushed back to Brussels to start her work as an MEP. This is the sort of hypocrisy which brought down the PN and hope it will not be taken to the EU as well. With all the hoo- haa about the 3 women MEPs the only woman of real substance is Marlene Mizzi. Hear her speak – often these days- and you know you have someone who does not engage in bull*** , is down to earth, intelligent and a worthy representative of ours.
avatar
Joseph MELI
The old adage of being innocent until proven otherwise is valid but so is the one that states there is no smoke without fire! Whilst these charges were over her head she should not have contested this election but isn't everyone missing the main point here ?Why should these MEP's be exempt from any prosecution whatsoever whilst an MEP and why should she be immune given that these charges were made before she was elected?Are MEP's above -and therefore protected by- the law?
avatar
@strega. Nahseb ghaggilt wisq siehbi biex tiggudika lill-CAB. Ghandek habta tigri wisq fil-konkluzzjoni!Issa nafu li hi tista ma tinvokax l-immunita`. Apparti li ghad trid tghaddi l-proceduri qabel infattruha u nisparaw bl-addocc. Pero` xtaqt ukoll infakkrek li Vince Farrugia ukoll ghandu kaz il-qorti ta' Sandro Chetcuti u l-PN xorta hallih johrog ghal bye-election. U fuq dan hi ghogbok ma tikkummentax
avatar
Simon Busuttil is so "blinded" by the PN 's electoral defeat and seeing RED, THAT he has missing seeing and approved blindly Vince Farrugia's contesting the post! And we have come to know Vince Farrugia very well lately...too well, but apparently this is IRRELEVANT for Simon as Vince has a VERY BLUE WRAPPING!!
avatar
Mark Fenech
Għandek tgħid kemm jinsa malajr Dr. Busuttil. Dan meta kien MEP kien ukoll avukat tas-Shell ġewwa Malta, u lejliet l-elezzjoni ngħataw €5miljuni f'kumpens. Tgħid dan il-fatt ma jħamrilniex wiċċna lil Maltin ġewwa l-Parlament Ewropew? Imn'Alla hawn ħafna nies ma kienux jgħixu fi żmien Sidna Gesu' Kristu, allura jistgħu jitfgħu l-ġebel anke lil mhux għadu nstab ħati.
avatar
I agree with A. Pace. Did Pn stop Vince Farrugia from contesting the by elections? Is Mr. Farrugia not facingcourt proceedings as well. Twowyas andtwo measures Mr. BUZUTILL. Please stop your theatrical stints
avatar
Simon Busuttil biex ikun kredibbli missu uza l-influwenza tieghu halli Vince Farrugia ma jikkontestax il-bye election ghax anki dak ghandu kaz il-qorti fuq il-kwistjoni ma' Sandro Chetcuti
avatar
Dear Prime Minister, it is you who is sounding desperate to be honest because you know that you made a mistake, which is a human thing by the way, but you have already morphed into someone who will not admit his mistakes. Shades of Gonzi I hear some of you say! It seems that to you, if anyone points out the glaring inconsistency in your approach on anything, such as your inconsitency when handling others with far less baggage than Abela Baldacchino, than that person is 'divisive', or 'using yesterday's language', or 'desperate' or other such terms we have seen in the past few days. You hide behind your electoral victory, but you do not seem to understand that the same people that elected you can bring you down. You also seem to have acquired the taste of power very, very quickly. I guess we should all now light a candle for you, as you would appear to be the fountain of turth itself!
avatar
I do not often agree with Simon Busuttil but I think that about Claudette AB this time he has a point. The Pl is wrong to risk its reputation in the EU, together with that of Malta ( was not Dalligate enough?) and send an MEP under investigation. If the woman did not have enough sense not to present herself, and insisted on doing so( apparently she has every right as a 2009 candidate) the Pl should have distanced itself from her. If CAB has no qualms about throwing a shadow on the Pl, the Pl should have no qualms in disapproving her candidature. Minister Mallia has still not realized that he is no longer a criminal lawyer, but now has political responsibility towards a political party - and so he only defends the indefensible at a political risk, to him and his Party. At a business meeting held today , present also Roberta Metsola and Marlene Mizzi, Claudette AB was complete out of her depth. The Mizzi and Metsola are head and shoulders above her in more ways than one, and with the risk of being sexist, even as far as presence goes! They will do us proud. The PL is defending someone who is going to represent Malta the European parliament with baggage, and sopra corna e bastonate, not quite up to the job.
avatar
Sur Busutiil dal kliem smajnih qabel lezzjoni li tal labour igaluk tisthi Nahseb Int hu il klikka li kellek mieghek ghandkhom ghalfejn tisthu bir risultat li gibtu fl-elezzjoni
avatar
Dr. Busuttil. You are the shame of both the Nationalist Party and Malta in general, by deviding people. But the majority have let you know what they thinks about you, in the last election. If you are elected....you will always be an opposition leader.
avatar
The Prime Minister has a right to his own views, but with all due respect there is a limit beyond which one cannot continue to expect that everyone will simply bow down and consider any criticism coming from the PN as 'uncalled for' or 'same old PN'....and it is about time the media stop acting like a bunch of sycophants and understand that they have a role to play to keep this government on its toes, just like it did with the PN government. Many others in a similar position to Abela Baldacchino, and far less then her, were barred from running for office or asked to resign etc. It is therefore simply illogical and cycnically inconsistent for the PM to have allowed her to contest. Why the prefernce? What lies beneath it? This is what the media should be asking, and forcefully so. Or are we just going to go one and allow the PM to do as he pleases and when he pleases, just because he won the elections in the manner he won them. He, like every other PM, is answerable to the people, and in this case he has committed an error and he should admit it and take the necessary action. It is pure hypocrisy for the PM and the media to have lambasted the PN so much because of their own inconsitencies, and to now do the exact opposite just because the tables have turned.
avatar
The Prime Minister has a right to his own views, but with all due respect there is a limit beyond which one cannot continue to expect that everyone will simply bow down and consider any criticism coming from the PN as 'uncalled for' or 'same old PN'....and it is about time the media stop acting like a bunch of sycophants and understand that they have a role to play to keep this government on its toes, just like it did with the PN government. Many others in a similar position to Abela Baldacchino, and far less then her, were barred from running for office or asked to resign etc. It is therefore simply illogical and cycnically inconsistent for the PM to have allowed her to contest. Why the prefernce? What lies beneath it? This is what the media should be asking, and forcefully so. Or are we just going to go one and allow the PM to do as he pleases and when he pleases, just because he won the elections in the manner he won them. He, like every other PM, is answerable to the people, and in this case he has committed an error and he should admit it and take the necessary action. It is pure hypocrisy for the PM and the media to have lambasted the PN so much because of their own inconsitencies, and to now do the exact opposite just because the tables have turned.
avatar
Il hsara lill Malta saret meta sfurzaw lill John Dalli jirrizenja minn Kummissarju Ewropej u Simon Busuttil QATT ma fetah halqu ax dejjem appogja lill Gonzi! Halluna! U fuq Vince Farrugia wara dak lio hareg fil Qorti xi tghajd sur Busuttil mhux hemm kien jipprova jirbah is siggu!
avatar
Alex Grech
Maybe you're right dr muscat...but unfortunately Simon is also right!