EU urged to introduce new legislation to monitor rule of law after journalist murder
Andrew Galizia, the son of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has called for new EU legislation to monitor the rule of law, insisting it has “teeth and is fit for purpose.”
Daphne Caruana Galizia | Photo credit: Press Association
Speaking in Brussels, Galizia demanded new “instruments” at European level to monitor the rule of law across Europe.
His comments coincide with Parliament’s President David Sassoli, who, writing to Council President Charles Michel, called on EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to “make a statement” on the situation in Malta.
In a second letter, the Parliament calls on new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to initiate investigations into Malta under the rule of law.
On Tuesday MEPs in their plenary in Strasbourg will also debate a resolution on Malta with a vote to follow on Wednesday.
Galizia, speaking at a meeting of the EESC, pointed out that the European Parliament is working to introduce a “rule of law monitoring mechanism” and said that the new Commission “seems amenable to it.”
He told the EESC plenary, “We need to really work together to make sure that it has teeth and is fit for purpose and that the values that make up the EU are just as enforceable as the values that underpin our single market.”
“Many of the crimes my mother uncovered were European crimes, crimes that involved several jurisdictions. It is impossible for one single police [force] to deliver justice for many of these crimes. EU membership allowed the free flow of money and political support at European level, without the free flow of justice and police investigation.”
“We need to really work together to make sure that it has teeth and is fit for purpose and that the values that make up the EU are just as enforceable as the values that underpin our single market” Andrew Galizia
There could be “no hope of justice without institutional and political culture change in the country”, he said, adding, “We are now closer than we've ever been in our national history to a consensus around what needs to change in the country, what institutional and constitutional changes we need, as well as changes to political culture, parties and media culture.”
His mother was assassinated on 16 October 2017 after investigating and exposing cases of corruption at the highest levels of government.
The plenary paid tribute to his mother’s “invaluable work” and highlighted the “essential role played by journalists in defending our fundamental freedoms every day.”
Further comment came from EESC President, Luca Jahier, who said, “All those responsible for the murder must be held to account as soon as possible. European citizens cannot tolerate any further delays.”
He said, “If journalists are silenced, so is democracy. The revelations of the past few weeks have confirmed what Daphne had long warned about before her murder: that the rule of law in the EU’s smallest Member State had been compromised by those very same people whose duty it was to protect the citizens of Malta.”
He said that since then, other journalists have died while working on investigative stories, adding, “All stood up for democracy and the rule of law. All died because nothing could silence them.”
On the current daily demonstrations in his homeland, Stefano Mallia, an EESC member from Malta, said, "This is the first time, in the history of our country, that thousands of people are protesting without being led by a political party. This is unprecedented in a country where political parties are very present in our everyday life.”
“If journalists are silenced, so is democracy. The revelations of the past few weeks have confirmed what Daphne had long warned about before her murder: that the rule of law in the EU’s smallest Member State had been compromised” Luca Jahier, EESC President
“It's a moment in history where civil society finally found its voice. Daphne would be proud of this. We are seeking the cleaning of our political system, to defend our democracy and to obtain justice for Daphne, her family and the nation she fought so hard for.”
Commenting on the latest events in the case, German Greens MEP Sven Giegold said, “This week’s EU summit must not remain silent about the problems of the rule of law in Malta. European governments must not turn a blind eye to the culture of impunity for corruption and financial crime in Malta. The same applies to the new EU Commission.”
He added, “Malta is the first test for von der Leyen regarding the rule of law. The Council and Commission must now find clear words and act.”
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