Activists want EU president to rebuff Joseph Muscat

Repubblika ask European Council President Charles Michel to tell Joseph Muscat he would not be welcome at upcoming EU meeting

Repubblika has written to European Council President Charles Michel (pictured here with Joseph Muscat) to let Muscat know he is not welcome at the next Council meeting
Repubblika has written to European Council President Charles Michel (pictured here with Joseph Muscat) to let Muscat know he is not welcome at the next Council meeting

Activists group Repubblika has asked the EU’s president to considering telling Joseph Muscat that he would not be welcome at the upcoming European Council meeting this week.

The European Council is due to meet on 12 and 13 December, but Repubblika said that Muscat's participation at the meeting risked laundering his reputation at the cost of the EU's democratic viability.

The NGO, in a letter written to European Council President Charles Michel, said that evidence heard in court or reported in the media, which was not denied, showed that the Prime Minister’s personal staff engaged directly with persons charged with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and which people who had confessed to their role in the assassination.

Such persons include most prominently the Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri, who engaged directly with the suspected members of the conspiracy to murder the journalist before and after the murder and before and after their arrest, the NGO said.

“It is reasonable to suspect that Joseph Muscat’s office has participated in the conspiracy to cover-up the murder and by extension therefore it is perfectly justified to expect the authorities to investigate the possibility that Joseph Muscat and or his staff participated in the conspiracy to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Repubblika said.

The NGO acknowledged that only a judicial process could establish these facts. It underlined, however, that under universal standards of governance, and more specifically in the Maltese context where all investigative agencies report directly to the prime minister, Muscat’s position as prime minister was “untenable and intolerable.”

“To add insult to injury, given the identity of the person charged as the mastermind of this crime it seems clear that the motive of the assassination was the cover-up of an international bribery and corruption scandal involving kickbacks paid to the same chief of staff in relation to a new power station project that was used by Joseph Muscat as the key electoral platform that propelled him to power in 2013,” the NGO said.

“As head of government of a Member State, Joseph Muscat is an integral part of the Union’s governance. As a visiting cross-party delegation of MEPs stated recently, Europe’s governance is based on trust which Joseph Muscat has betrayed to an irreparable extent.”

Repubblika went on to tell Michel - who replaced Donald Tusk as European Council President in November - that it was unhealthy for the Council “to treat as an equal a prime minister who refuses to leave office when a murder investigation has reached his personal office including the chief of staff he refused to dismiss for three and a half years after Daphne Caruana Galizia discovered he set up secret off-shore companies the week Joseph Muscat first came to office as prime minister.”

“Much as it grieves us to argue for the suspension of Malta’s participation in the European Council, it is the firmly held view of Maltese civil society that Joseph Muscat’s participation in the Council risks laundering Muscat’s reputation at the cost of the democratic viability of the European Union itself,” the NGO emphasised.

“As Maltese and as Europeans we therefore ask you to consider informing Joseph Muscat that he would not be welcome at the upcoming European Council and that you look forward to working with his replacement,” it said.

Repubblika added that it firmly upheld the EU’s values listed in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union, and that it now expected that the Union also uphold such values.

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