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Parliamentary questions
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10 April 2019
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-000369/2019

At this stage, the Commission is following closely issues relating to the rule of law in Malta in the framework of the European Semester. The 2018 Country Report on Malta already pointed out shortcomings in the judicial and anticorruption framework(1), and one of the Country Specific Recommendations for Malta adopted by the Council in July 2018 recommended to strengthen the overall governance framework by ensuring the effective enforcement of the Anti-Money Laundering framework and by continuing to step up the fight against corruption(2). The 2019 Country Report on Malta confirms that there are shortcomings in the anti-corruption framework and draws attention on the risk of conflict of interest at various levels of government. The Country Report further notes that recent justice reforms have yet to fully ensure the independence of the judiciary(3).

The Commission is aware of the recommendations made by the Venice Commission in its opinion of 14 December 2018 on constitutional arrangements and separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and law enforcement. The opinion raises, among others, concerns related to the independence of the judiciary, judicial appointments and the double role of the Attorney General as an adviser/representative of the Government and as prosecutor.

The Commission welcomes the intention of the Maltese Government, expressed in its letter to the Commission of 21 March 2019, to proceed with reforms including as regards the Judiciary and the role of the Attorney General.

The Commission will closely follow the concrete measures taken by the Maltese authorities in response to the opinion of the Venice Commission, and is ready to provide them support as appropriate.

The Commission will not hesitate to take steps to uphold the rule of law and EC law where necessary.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2018-european-semester-country-report-malta-en.pdf (Page 35).
(2)https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2018-european-semester-country-specific-recommendation-commission-recommendation-malta-en.pdf (Page 5).
(3)https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-malta_en.pdf (Page 5).

Last updated: 10 April 2019Legal notice