EU lawmakers on Wednesday called on the European Commission to investigate Malta’s adherence to the rule of law, following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a resolution backed by two-thirds of MEPs, but which is not binding, the European Parliament said there were “serious concerns” about the independence of the police and about money laundering in the Mediterranean country.
“Developments in Malta in recent years have led to serious concerns about the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, including freedom of the media and the independence of the police and the judiciary,” stated the text approved by MEPs.
If the Commission decides to act upon the request, it could eventually lead to sanctions, Reuters reported.
Caruana Galizia had spent the last year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies. The story first came to light in the Panama Papers scandal — a leak in April 2016 of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
She subsequently published stories alleging that Muscat’s wife, Michelle, received $1 million from the daughter of Azerbaijan’s president through a company set up by the same law firm.
Muscat denies all allegations of corruption and has said everything will be done to find the journalist’s killers.
Earlier this week the European Parliament renamed its press room in Strasbourg in her honor.