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Malta must be closely monitored - EP president

Tajani says Malta needs to be monitored like Poland, Hungary

Antonio Tajani (centre) attending Daphne Caruana Galizia's funeral last November.

Antonio Tajani (centre) attending Daphne Caruana Galizia's funeral last November.

The European Commission needs to keep an eye on the controversial Maltese passports scheme, the European Parliament president said in a scathing warning on the island's rule of law.

"Europe has to monitor Malta the same way it monitors Poland and Hungary. You can't adopt two weights-two measures," Antonio Tajani told leading Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Mr Tajani, who has been at the forefront of demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder, said there were worrying trends in Malta. 

EU passports should not be sold, at least until seriously verifying the identity of the buyers, for security, terrorism and money laundering reasons, said the president from the centre-right coalition grouping.

“We cannot just be concerned about Russian politics. There's also the Russian Mafia and it wouldn't be right to recycle money in Europe because of Maltese passports."

He said it was not too late for the Maltese authorities to investigate Pilatus Bank, after its chairman was arrested in the US.

Asked whether Malta had become the EU’s "dirty conscience", Mr Tajani did not give a direct answer, but said the EP needs to continue putting its spotlight on Malta from a justice perspective, not political.

Any investigation should not pit one political side against the other but it should be done to establish the truth.

“We need to be strong and determined, otherwise how can we argue with the likes of (Russian president) Putin and (Turkish president) Erdogan?”

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