Muscat gives MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer new EU role

Labour’s MEP candidate gets advisory role after his Brussels resignation

Engerer was said to have been in the running for the top Brussels job of permanent representative to the EU, but sources said that he and European Affairs minister Helena Dalli had clashed on certain matters
Engerer was said to have been in the running for the top Brussels job of permanent representative to the EU, but sources said that he and European Affairs minister Helena Dalli had clashed on certain matters

The Labour candidate for the European elections, Cyrus Engerer, has landed himself another advisory role with the government, months after resigning his Brussels position as the EU ‘sherpa’ to Joseph Muscat.

Engerer, who will run for MEP in 2019, is having a new contract as EU advisor to the Prime Minister hammered out – putting him once again on the government payroll after having first announced his return to Malta for a sabbatical.

From March 2015 up until May this year he had been on an €85,000 salary as a Brussels diplomat.

Details of his new salary were not available because, Engerer told MaltaToday, the contract was still being drafted by the OPM. He said he would show the newspaper his contract once it is finalised.

Engerer’s resignation from his Brussels posting coincided with the appointment of Malta’s new permanent representative to the EU, Daniel Azzopardi.

Engerer was said to have been in the running for the top Brussels job but sources said that he and European Affairs minister Helena Dalli had clashed on certain matters: a situation understood to have caused tension and contributed to his sidelining.

He had told MaltaToday that he had informed the Prime Minister of his intention to resign in February but that he was asked to remain in the position for a few months.

Yesterday he told MaltaToday that he had been asked to keep a number of tasks after having resigned.

“When I spoke to the Prime Minister about my intention of resigning from the position as his envoy to the European Union, I was asked to keep a number of tasks, especially relating to government’s relations with the European Parliament, based on the experience achieved and contacts made during the previous four years, especially during Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” Engerer told MaltaToday.

When asked how many physical hours the new contract would demand in his posting, Engerer indicated he would no longer be involved in the family business.

“I keep in constant contact with the Prime Minister, whether from Malta, Brussels or Strasbourg. It was my intention to partly focus on my family’s business now that my father is on his way to retirement. That said, since I was asked to keep advising the Prime Minister on EU matters and since I was also asked by the Prime Minister to contest next year’s European Parliament election, it was clear that I could not offer the same time to the family business as my siblings did, hence I opted out.”

Details of Engerer’s Brussels salary had been given in parliament by Joseph Muscat, who said that Engerer was his special envoy on a Scale 3 salary, which is tagged at €34,680. The government has not denied that his salary also comes with financial allowances of some €50,000, details of which were not mentioned in the reply to the PQ.

Engerer, a one-time deputy mayor in Sliema for the Nationalist Party who later defected to Labour, ran for MEP on the Labour ticket in 2014, but had to withdraw his candidature when he was convicted on a revenge-porn charge, for which he received a two-year suspended sentence.

He was an EU funds manager who after Labour’s election to power was posted to two positions of trust in the ministry for civil liberties and the Office of the Prime Minister. After his conviction, Muscat famously dubbed Engerer a “soldier of steel” during a public meeting, recruiting him as his advisor on EU affairs and later posting him to Brussels.

His partner Randolph Debattista, was also posted as chef de cabinet to the permanent representative at the time, before returning to Malta to take up the post of Labour chief executive officer.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe