The resolution enjoyed the rare support of every political group in the European Parliament and was backed by 635 deputies with just 46 against in a vote on Wednesday.
It notes recent “shocking” revelations implicating Maltese government officials in the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, but also accepts Malta has made efforts to address EU concerns.
Last year, in the first annual rule of law report, the European Commission recognised the “significant reforms” to the checks and balances in Malta’s justice system, while the Venice Commission warmly welcomed reforms as “an important step in the right direction.”
As recently as last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that Malta’s judicial reforms strengthened judicial independence and are therefore in line with EU law.
EPP deputy Vladimír Bilčík, who negotiated the parliamentary resolution for his group, said the implication of politicians at the highest level of government in Caruana Galizia’s assassination is “shocking and outrageous.”
He added, “"Testimony has made clear that it was the links between the criminal underworld, the Maltese Government and the Malta Labour Party that allowed the assassination to take place.”
“The Maltese Government now needs to deploy all necessary resources to bring to justice both those responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and those who gave them political protection and patronage.”
“There must be justice for this shocking murder. All perpetrators and their accomplices must be held accountable” Katarina Barley, S&D
“The Maltese Government must also bring to justice all those implicated in the cases currently being investigated or reported which she had brought to light prior to her assassination. We expect the European Commission to maintain pressure on the Maltese authorities to that end,” said Bilčík.
His comments were partly echoed by Katarina Barley, S&D member of the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group, who said, “There must be justice for this shocking murder. All perpetrators and their accomplices must be held accountable. It is a lasting pain to know that journalists are assassinated in the European Union for carrying out their job.”
Separately, MEPs have condemned the alleged involvement of Russian military intelligence (GRU) agents in the explosions that took place in 2014 in the Czech village of Vrbětice, killing two people and called on Member States to adopt common measures in response.
A resolution on Russia, debated in plenary on Wednesday, also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny and of all other persons detained while protesting for his release and calls on Russia to implement “with no further delay” the pull back of its troops from the Ukrainian border.
Dutch Renew Europe MEP Malik Azmani said, “We witnessed in the recent weeks more of Putin’s outrageous political behaviour. These are not new developments, but just a new act in Putin’s sinister power play.”
“Its sole purpose: the survival of his corrupt regime. We call on the Council to extend the sanctions under the EU Magnitsky Act. We must show Putin that the EU is united in condemnation of his actions.”
Greens MEP Sergey Lagodinsky, the group spokesperson on Russia, commented, “We call on the Russian leadership to release Alexei Navalny immediately. It is unacceptable and inhumane that medical treatment only starts after weeks of hunger strike and sleep deprivation.”
“The Maltese Government now needs to deploy all necessary resources to bring to justice both those responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and those who gave them political protection and patronage” Vladimír Bilčík, EPP
“Alexei Navalny's life is in danger and needs the full support of the European Union. The ban on Alexei Navalny's anti-corruption foundation is the latest escalation in the campaign against any opposition and dissent to the Russian leadership.”
In another move, Parliament has said that China’s sanctions against European individuals and entities “are totally unacceptable and must be lifted immediately.”
They urge the EU to suspend the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) until the sanctions are removed.
Socialist deputy Raphaël Glucksmann, chair of the special committee for foreign interference (INGE), says, “The Chinese regime is committing a crime against humanity. EU sanctions are targeting criminals and entities responsible for the systemic atrocities against Uyghurs.”
“In response, Chinese counter-measures are a direct attack on our democratic institutions. As long as sanctions are imposed on EU institutions and EU elected representatives, we refuse to discuss the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).”