Statement by President Tajani in plenary in the presence of the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia
(check against delivery)
As President, as a citizen and as a journalist, I want to express my outrage at the brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
She was a courageous woman and a fine journalist. She epitomised everything that is good about that profession: she sought out the truth, the facts, and refused to let anyone stand in her way. She was not afraid to do whatever was needed to fulfil what her duty.
In thirty years as a journalist, she never lost heart. She continued to shine light on darkness, to speak the truth, answering only to her readers, the only people to whom she felt accountable. Drawing on that inner strength, she published more than 20,000 articles denouncing abuses of power, corruption and the failings of governments.
Like every true journalist, she was a sentinel, a soldier on the front line defending our values. We have a free and independent press to thank for democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression - all the fundamental rights on which the European integration process and our very civilisation are founded.
Our Union is far more than just a market or a single currency. It is the manifestation of our values, of our identity, at the heart of which stand freedom and dignity of the individual. If we are to defend that freedom and that dignity, inside and outside the Union, we must safeguard the independence of the press. I am proud that this Parliament has always been in the front line of that battle.
Daphne’s murder must not go unpunished. How can we credibly claim to defend journalists around the world if we cannot even offer them protection and justice here at home?
I expect the Maltese authorities to spare no effort in getting to the bottom of what happened. Every lead must be followed up. In my view, Europol must also be involved, as part of an international investigation in which all police forces can work together to bring those responsible to justice.
This international effort is what I called for during my last meeting with the Heads of State and Government of the European Union.
The example Daphne set must never be forgotten. Together with the Vice-Presidents and the Quaestors, I have decided that the press room here in Strasbourg will be named after Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Her family is here with us today in the gallery. To them, I would like to say that we are together in spirit with the thousands of Maltese who on Sunday took to the streets to call for justice and to pay tribute to Daphne’s work.
And today 500 million Europeans stand together with the people of Malta.
I would ask you now to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia.