Council of Europe, vote on a resolution on Malta

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Attempts by Maltese Members of Parliament representing the Maltese Government to tone down a damning resolution on Malta by the Council of Europe has failed following the approval of only two amendments out of ten presented to the Council or Europès Assembly.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution while noted the “culture of impunity and institutional omerta in Malta”, called upon the Maltese authorities to fully address the concerns and recommendations expressed in the report by the independent public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The resolution also noted that despite reforms, the prime minister maintains considerable control over the civil service, which “undermines” its independence from political forces.
“A key concern in this respect is the excessively high number of political appointees, also known as persons of trust, in Maltàs civil service, which are appointed bypassing the legal civil service appointments procedures. The high number of political appointees, and lack of legal regulations governing these positions, increases the vulnerability of Maltàs civil service to conflicts of interest and cronyism”.
The Parliamentary Assembly showed “a key concern on the continuing vulnerability of Maltàs public sector to corruption. The resolution says that despite the high perception of corruption there has been little visible response and a coherent overall strategy to prevent corruption in public institutions is lacking. “This has created a culture of impunity. Overcoming this culture of impunity and institutional omerta is one of the key challenges facing the Maltese society and its democratic institutions and should be addressed as a matter of utmost priority”.
The resolution also notes that the Council of Europès assembly “is concerned about the vulnerability to corruption and money laundering of Maltàs ‘citizenship by investment programmè and calls on Malta to abolish this programme.”
The resolution highlights concerns on the polarised media environment and the challenges faced by the media, including direct threats to journalists, that negatively affect press freedom in Malta.
“It therefore welcomes the recent establishment of a Committee of Experts on Media with a view to strengthening media freedom in Malta. The abuse of anti-defamation legislation and Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) to silence journalists, is an issue of increasing concern that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency”.
However, the resolution welcomes a number of reforms introduced in recent years, including the changes in the appointment process of judges and magistrates, the reform of the prosecution service, separating the function of State advocate from that of the Attorney General and removing the Attorney General from the Commission for the Administration of Justice, which it says “are important steps to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the judiciary”.
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Source: medNews