Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April, 2024 at 9:03 am by Andre Camilleri

Yesterday, I received a telephone call from a former colleague who is still working for the EU institutions. He told me how terrible the situation is within the European Commission, especially three particular Directorate-General. For those not conversant with the system, the European Commission is split between different DGs. When I asked him what the purpose of the call was, he informed me that he is closely following the campaigns of the European Parliament elections in different member states. Coincidentally, he happens to support the EPP, which is the same party of the current president of the European Commission. He is also close to some members of the EPP both within the ranks of the European Parliament as well as the EU Commission.

However, he was a bit shocked about the modus operandi within the European Commission and also the European Parliament. Technically, certain DGs, and I cannot specify for obvious reasons, were instructed to partially coerce the Maltese government by exerting pressure on some elements that have been dormant for quite a while. The reason to apply pressure is because the current president and other members from the other side of the EU institutions, cannot take the scrutiny and the criticism latched at them for the handling of the war in Ukraine, the mess in Gaza, as well as the chaos created in the past two years when it comes to foreign policy. Obviously, the members of the Nationalist Party, who are also part of the EPP are into the equation, including the closest allies of the current president of the European Parliament. The reason why our former leader of the Opposition made a public appearance after a long time, is to send a signal to the public including his European allies to start applying pressure. Frankly, they want to apply pressure on the Maltese government for reasons they must not look into, because the government did execute the majority of the reforms. The current administration and our prime minister carried reforms that even Fitch Ratings recognised as robust, including the effective implementation of good governance within the realm of banking and finance.

Let me be clear. When I was still Ambassador, representing the Maltese government on the Political and Security Committee of the EU, we used to have different engagements. Once, I was in Strasbourg and met with some members of the Venice Commission. It was a visit unconnected to Malta. One of them took the opportunity to speak to me. He told me things about Malta and how it functions in quite a patronising tone. Clearly, I cannot specify the name for obvious reasons. Since we were meeting at an ambassadorial level you can imagine the rank on the other side. When I asked him whether he ever read the Maltese Constitution, he said no. When I asked some members on the other side of the EU institutions, particularly the European Parliament, whether they ever read the Maltese Constitution, they also said no. So technically, they go to dictate what member states must do, and what reforms must be implemented, without even bothering to read and understand a member state’s constitution, if they happen to have one, but rest their judgment on what others tell them and what they read from the media. It is truly risible.

The European Parliament is swarmed with members of the EPP at each level of the hierarchy system. Several employees are also planted within the European Commission. Let’s for a minute leave our former leader of the Opposition, who is the primary ally of the current EPP leader, and obviously the current president of the European Parliament Robert Metsola. The modus operandi within the European Commission is effectively autocrat. You do as they say, else they start coercing. The way they want to exert pressure is to simply gag the members within our society who are not approving of the way they are handling matters of foreign policy. Personally, I am interested in applying pressure to see how the European Peace Facility’s proceeds are being spent. We need to apply pressure to push for better governance, and transparency even within the realm of the European Peace Facility (EPF). Also, we must push to have the EPF audited at the same level of scrutiny executed by the European Court of Auditors when they prepare the DAS (statement of assurance). Well, this will be one of my missions if I am elected as member of the European Parliament. I need to see more transparency and good governance here beyond what member states do.

The EU funds allocated to member states must not be meddled with simply because some members within the EU Commission and the EU Parliament cannot take criticism. With the same logic, the same level of scrutiny must be applied on funds contributed directly by member states, and for which derogations apply when it comes to the financial regulation. The EPF has its own financial regulation, which is distinct from the EU budget’s financial regulation. Obviously, this must not descend into a war between the different institutions, and the separate budgets. I know how the system functions. I spent eight years within the EU institutions, so I know quite well the way they operate. To tell you the truth, the level of corruption I experienced by different member states, including those posing as the pioneers of democracy and good governance, is actually shocking. However, they get away with it because they do not apply pressure on security and defence. They are part of NATO, and they appease the European Commission’s proposals on the financing for obvious financial and political reasons. Ultimately, the EU Commission is only interested in leveraging funds to gratify the current president’s political vision. Let’s wait for after the European Parliament election and see what they will come up with. However, if what I was told is correct, which I think it is, prepare yourselves for more criticism.

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