EP LIBE committee calls for an efficient fight against corruption in Malta and Slovakia
On November 14, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) issued the final report on its ad hoc fact-finding mission concerning the situation in Malta and Slovakia, which has uncovered a worrying condition for free press in both countries.
The mission took place on 17-20 September 2018, following the murders of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak – killed together with his fiancée. The MEPs exchanged views with journalists, officials, NGOs and representatives of the victims’ families. The mission was recommended by the new monitoring group on rule of law and the fight against corruption (ROLMG) established by the LIBE Committee last June. The group specifically addresses the lack of progress in both murder investigations in Malta and Slovakia.
“We stand side by side with the families and friends of the murdered journalists in Malta and Slovakia. The murders must be resolved, there must not be impunity. Journalists need to know they can do their work in safety. This visit must also be seen in the context of our aim to ensure the Rule of Law is upheld throughout the European Union. There are serious concerns about specific problems in both countries, which affect the European Union as a whole,” stated the Chair of the monitoring group, Sophie in‘t Veld (ALDE, NL).
The committee found out that in both countries:
- There are indications for corruption and impunity in the circles of power, without a concrete fight and a proper action by law enforcement authorities against those crimes. This situation brought to a high degree of public distrust in the national institutions.
- Journalists and civil society experience a lack of openness to dialogue on the part of the authorities and perceive a lack of safety, suffering constant threats and questioning the independence and quality of public media.
- Corruption is a challenge for many EU Member States, including Malta and Slovakia. Therefore, LIBE committee calls on national authorities to step up their fight against corruption. This could be supported by the European Commission returning to the practice of publishing selfstanding and in-depth anti-corruption reports.
- Challenges to rule of law and fundamental rights in various Member States should be monitored regularly to be able to act in advance. To achieve that, the LIBE committee calls on the Commission and the Council to set up a permanent mechanism for monitoring democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, along the lines proposed by the European Parliament in its resolution of 25 October 2016.
Photo Credits: Flickr/Adrian Dutch, AFP/Vladimir Simicek