[WATCH] Murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was an attack on free speech, EU Commission President says

President of EU Commission says commission is following the situation in Malta very closely 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was an attack on free speech, new European Commission President has said.

Ursula von der Leyen reserved some words on the situation in Malta in her first speeches as EU Commission president, saying that the commission was following the situation in Malta very closely.

"Media freedom is the foundation of a free and democratic society. Journalists must feel safe to work in Europe. If not, democracy as we know it will be under threat,” she said.

“I will not comment on the ongoing national investigation but I expect there to be a thorough and independent investigation free from any political interference. Europol is in Malta and is providing support to the Maltese authorities and it is crucial that all those responsible be brought to justice as soon as possible," she said.

During a meeting of the College of European Commissioners on Wednesday evening in Brussels, von der Leyen said that she was concerned with the current situation in Malta. 

On Wednesday, the middleman in the murder of Caruana Galizia, Melvin Theuma, mentioned Tumas group magnate Yorgen Fenech as the mastermind but also mentioned former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former OPM security aide Kenneth Camilleri.

von der Leyen added that the Commission was in contact with Maltese authorities for the purpose of reforming the judicial system in accordance with the Venice Commission recommendations.

This comes in the back of a recent MEP delegation which visited Malta for two days on a fact-finding mission, the conclusion of which saw chair Sophie in 't Veld say that the European Parliament was concerned with Joseph Muscat's decision to stay in office.

READ ALSO: MEP delegation seriously concerned with Joseph Muscat's decision to stay in office

More in National