On 28 March, the EP plenary adopted a LIBE resolution proposed by ALDE First Vice President Sophie in 't Veld to address the shortcomings in the rule of law and the protection of journalists in Malta and Slovakia. The resolution calls on these governments to continue cooperating with Europol to solve the criminal investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová.
MEPs are particularly frustrated by the fact that the European Commission has still not presented a proposal for a comprehensive, permanent and objective EU mechanism for the protection of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, despite the European Parliament's repeated calls to do so. Ensuring the freedom of the press and guaranteeing the safety of journalists are important elements to be assessed according to the plans laid out in the proposed DRF Pact.
Parliament also expects the Commission to resume its annual anti-corruption monitoring and reporting, with reference to all Member States and to the EU institutions. In order to sets clear limits to investor citizenship and residence schemes (also known as golden visas) and to protect the integrity of the Schengen area, a legislative proposal would be imperative, says the resolution.
Sophie in 't Veld, LIBE Member and Chair of the Rule of Law Monitoring Group commented:
"European pressure and cooperation has delivered results. Cooperation with Europol enabled the Slovak authorities to arrest the suspects of the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and due to EU pressure, the Maltese government is now slowly starting to modernise problematic laws."
"Time after time, the Commission issues reports, establishes expert groups and says it is monitoring the situation. In the meantime, some politicians and governments are destroying our European values. Look at the example of Orban or Salvini. Look at the members of the Maltese government, which are still continuing libel suits against the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Look at the Slovak government, which is trying to undermine media freedom with a new law. The Resolution shows that many concerns remain, but European pressure works if we consistently keep up that pressure."