Council of Europe rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt, whilst noting a change for the better in the Government’s attitude regarding the reforms necessary for governance, stated that more remains to be done for the Council of Europe proposals to be implemented. The Dutch Parliamentarian stated this when he met with Prime Minister Robert Abela together with various members of his Cabinet. Prime Minister Abela explained that the Government was taking the recommendations of the Venice Commission very seriously, and working towards implementing them, as it believed the country needed good governance and a strong rule of law.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Robert Abela at Castille, rapporteur Peter Omtzigt stated he was happy that Government was working on the proposals of the Venice Commission after what he termed as delays in the making of certain decisions.
The Dutch Parliamentarian, who has often been critical of Malta, stated that the reforms initiated by Dr Abela could have been carried out by Minister Bonnici during the past two years. During the meeting, the Prime Minister updated Omtzigt on reforms carried out during the first days of the Government.
The Prime Minister outlined the reforms that Government had already implemented, including for the Police Commissioner to be appointed after a public call and after applicants are scrutinised by the Public Service Commission. Dr Abela added that reforms were in hand for the Police not to remain in the roles of both investigator and prosecutor, and to continue focusing solely on investigations, with the prosecution duties being falling under another entity. Dr Abela also mentioned a reform to split the Attorney General’s functions.
Dr Abela added that the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia as requested by the Council of Europe had also started its work. In comments to Television Malta after the meeting, Mr Omtzigt described the meeting as positive.
”The attitude is that there is some reception that I feel this government has an intention to make changes, it is obviously making those changes but then again I did point out that to those ministers that all of them were part of the same government before December. So I look forward to seeing all those changes being made in Malta.”
Omtzigt stated that Malta should implement the Venice Commission proposals as speedily as possible, so that among others it would address its reputation with industries and activities considered as very risky, such as gaming, citizenship by investment and bitcoin. Prime Minister Abela invited Pieter Omtzigt for more dialogue with Malta.