GUEST POST/Karmenu Vella is part of the European Commission which blacklisted Panama

Published: February 27, 2016 at 5:42pm

Sent in by Matthew S:

It has been 13 years since we voted for Malta to join the European Union after Alfred Sant (now a Member of the European Parliament) and Joseph Muscat (now Prime Minister) fought tooth and nail to keep Malta out.

It has been more than three years since Muscat publicly said that Labour has fully come to terms with European Union membership and it has been two years since Lou Bondi and his merry men organised a big fireworks display to celebrate a decade of European Union membership. Meanwhile, the Labour-led government has shown how much it values Malta’s membership of the European Union by turning European Union citizenship into a commodity and selling it to all (rich) comers.

And now this. The media reports that the European Commission has blacklisted Panama. This is correct, but it misses an important nuance. It is the European Commission which Malta forms a part of that blacklisted Panama as a tax haven. The European Commission is not a foreign body. It is part of who we are.

Malta has a European Commissioner who serves on the Commission (Karmenu Vella) and when Panama was blacklisted in 2015, Malta did not raise any objections, which means that Malta as a member of the Commission fully endorses Panama’s blacklisting. Therefore, when members of the government of Malta buy secretive companies in Panama, they are breaking their own rules.

Just to give an analogy, the United States has had an embargo on Cuba for over 50 years. Can you imagine what would happen if a member of its government were caught doing business deals with Cuba?

Or can you imagine a member of the P5+1 selling uranium to Iran while at the same negotiating a nuclear deal and imposing sanctions on that country?

A government minister from Malta setting up a company in blacklisted, secretive Panama undermines the whole point of the blacklisting (to persuade Panama to come in line with the rest of the civilised world). In another context and in another era, what Konrad Mizzi is doing would be considered high treason and he would be hanged, drawn and quartered. Instead, like in a surreal horror film in which the villain eventually wins, he has been elected as deputy leader of the political party in government.

Now can someone please wake European Commissioner Karmenu Vella from his slumber and ask him his opinion about the whole issue?

joseph muscat konrad mizzi