Posted on Nov 03, 2017
The EU has vowed to ensure that Malta finds the “barbarous” assassins of a journalist being buried there on Friday and to resolve “potential structural problems” with the rule of law on the island - Reuters has reported.
European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans called on the EU’s smallest state to leave “no stone unturned” in hunting the killers of investigative blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died in a car bombing last month.
“The eyes of Europe are on the Maltese authorities,” wrote Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister who oversees the Brussels executive’s efforts to ensure member states respect democratic and judicial standards.
“If journalists are silenced, so is democracy,” he said in a reply, seen by Reuters, to a letter from European media editors urging the EU to ensure justice for Caruana Galizia.
“We want those directly and indirectly responsible for this horrible murder to be brought to justice. And we want the investigations to run their full course, so that any other related wrongdoings that may emerge can also be prosecuted and potential structural problems be resolved.”
Caruana Galizia was a controversial figure who accused many of the most senior figures in both government and opposition of corruption and involvement in international money-laundering.
“We insist that the Maltese authorities leave no stone unturned to make sure that this atrocious, barbarous assassination does not lead to the situation that the perpetrators apparently want to achieve: that no-one dares ask pertinent questions and no journalist dares investigate the powers that be,” Timmermans added.
“This will not happen in Europe. Not on this Commission’s watch.”
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who is himself suing Caruana Galizia’s son for libel over allegations of corruption, said that everything would be done to find her killers.
His government has offered a €1million reward and protection for anyone providing information to identify them.
However, the European Commission has limited powers to intervene directly in member states, and has no powers to fine states for breaches of EU legislation, and so these are likely to be empty words.
It has also been reported that Malta's senior politicians will not attend the funeral of Ms. Galizia. It is widely considered to be highly unlikely that the killers will ever be found, or indeed that any serious efforts on the part of the Maltese government will ever be made.
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