The Government and the Opposition held a debate in Parliament about the conclusions of the Council of Europe’s Greco report. In the fifth biennial report about Malta, the Greco committee was critical of different aspects of Maltese institutions in their fight against corruption. Both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition took part as well as several members from both sides of the House.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the Government had constructively welcomed the Council of Europe’s Greco report. In his opening speech, Dr Muscat said that much of it echoes what was said in the media and by Civil Society and that the international organization had given more weight to Civil Society than to Governments. Dr Muscat said that the Government would be taking the good points on board and analyzing them carefully.
The Prime Minister said that ‘they that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’ and that many observations made in the report are the result of the Opposition’s behaviour in recent years: giving the impression that democracy in Malta is not working. He said that this was not true and proof of this was the Court’s decision to award two seats to the Opposition – a decision which he said could have serious consequences for the stability of the country because it could create political confusion down the line. He said that although he has reservations about the court judgment, the government had accepted it.
The Prime Minister said that the Government had done a lot by way of ensuring that institutions carry out their respective roles and has enacted several laws to further strengthen these institutions.
In his intervention, the Head of the Democratic Party Godfrey Farrugia said that the Greco report had declared Malta a corrupt state. He said that the report confirms that the government had no credibility in governance, transparency and accountability. He said that the government was carrying out abuses and undermining the country’s credibility.
Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia moved a motion for a parliamentary committee to study the various reports on Malta and recommend proposals to be implemented.
Dr. Delia said that these reports were not the fault of the Nationalist Party and that the PN were united in their fight against corruption. He said that the country is where it is today because Minister Konrad Mizzi was mentioned in the Panama Papers and remained in cabinet. Dr. Delia said that GRECO report was a reflection on how civil society feels because it is the only ‘society’ that is not muzzled.
Dr. Delia said that Malta had fallen to 51st place in Transparency International’s index on the perception of corruption. He said that the Greco report talked about the collapse of the country’ institutions, about partisanship and cronyism. Dr. Delia said the the government had hijacked the institutions with the result that the country was plagued by corruption which was costing the country € 725 million a year.