People 'angry' at European Commission - Simon Busuttil

Commission not speaking out about things people care about

Updated 5.20pm 

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil today hit out at EU commissioners for failing to say anything about Konrad Mizzi’s involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

Addressing the commissioners in Parliament this afternoon, Dr Busuttil said that although 84 per cent of the Maltese believed that EU membership had been beneficial for Malta, 13 years on, a lot of people were also disappointed with the EU, including the European Commission.

This was because the latter was not speaking out about things the people cared about, including corruption.

Dr Busuttil referred to the case of Dr Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who were caught with a secret company in Panama and said that one year on, these people were still in their position and the people did not know if their companies were still open and from where the money they would have put in their bank account would have come.

The European Commission did not say anything about this, he said.

“And here you are today and you seem to have had nothing to say about it… And this is something very disappointing for the Maltese people… And I am being quite diplomatic here. I think a lot of people are actually angry because this is something they care about out. This may be an internal affair but the people want to know if it is acceptable for Brussels for a minister to have a secret company in Panama.”

These, Dr Busuttil said, were things that people cared about. This morning, he said, the people were even more disappointed that the vice president of the Commission no less had a press conference with “this disgraced minister” (Dr Mizzi).

“People are disappointed and this is what make people lose trust in the EU,” Dr Busuttil said.

In a reaction to the story, EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas tweeted his disagreement with the PN's position, saying that the Commission had no say over political and juridical affairs. "These are areas of national competence," he wrote. 

PL statement

In a statement, the Labour Party said that Dr Busuttil was expressing sour grapes because the European Commission had approved the energy project this morning, something he did not want.

His was a reaction of anger from someone who had lost all arguments.

It was clear, the PL said, that there was full confidence from the people who knew they would continue to pay cheaper bills and have much cleaner air. There was also confidence from the European Commission so much so that the vice-president of the European Commission had described the project as a blueprint.

But the Opposition leader was drowning in negativity and bitterness because he could not see the country being successful and attacked the Commission for giving its green light to the project.



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