More great international coverage as Malta begins its presidency of the EU council

Published: January 11, 2017 at 7:38pm

This report is in The Guardian today.

Malta’s fiscal legislation has helped the islands attract a great deal of investment over the years, transforming the economy and greatly increasing national income.

That legislation was always going to be under the spotlight – which is exactly why the previous government did its best, with the support and cooperation of financial services stakeholders, to make sure that Malta’s image was squeaky clean. Without that squeaky clean image, Malta can’t keep the high moral ground as it tries to withstand the inevitable pressure for changes to legislation, as it has done successfully since before EU membership.

But now, any international reporting on the issue contains links to the Panama Papers, Konrad Mizzi, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and Joseph Muscat’s refusal to do anything about either of them, leaving him completely exposed to the realistic accusation that it’s because he can’t, because he’s involved with them too.

His government’s ability to continue to withstand pressure of the kind outlined in this article in The Guardian is now greatly compromised. As soon as Malta’s Council Presidency is over at the end of June, and his European interlocutors don’t have to treat him with kid gloves any more, those gloves are going to come off. And with the jobs of tens of thousands of Maltese people depending directly or indirectly on financial services, we have nothing to thank Muscat for.

Ordinary and not so ordinary people are going to be paying the price so that three corrupt individuals and their cronies can fill their Panama pockets and their British Virgin Islands bank accounts.