The Government welcomes the opinion by the European Commission in its first Annual Rule of Law Report with regard to the state of the rule of law in the European Union and the 27 European Member States. This report confirms that in recent months the Government of Malta has continued its work in this regard. In fact, this resulted in unprecedented reforms to strengthen the rule of law through constitutional and institutional reforms and enacting changes that uphold the independence of the judiciary.
In its first exercise, the European Commission recognized the reforms that were unanimously approved by the Maltese Parliament last July, especially those to further strengthen judicial independence, so much so that they are being mentioned as examples of among the best practices in the European Union.
In fact, the European Commission says:
In Malta for example, a number of reforms of the justice system have recently been adopted by Parliament to strengthen judicial independence.
The Commission also notes as significant Malta’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice system to fight criminality and corruption:
A broad reform project has now been launched to address gaps and strengthen the institutional anti-corruption framework including as regards law enforcement and prosecution.
Furthermore, the European Commission acknowledged Malta’s efforts which has fully cooperated in this exercise to address challenges in relation to investigations and prosecutions in Malta. The European Commission also identifies Malta amongst countries envisaging measures to strengthen the prevention and integrity framework.
Member states have taken or are considering measures to tighten the prevention and integrity framework. Examples include Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece, Malta, Czechia, Poland and Portugal.
The European Commission also praised reforms in the Police Force, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Permanent Commission against Corruption and the Office of the Auditor General. The European Commission states:
Constitutional Reforms also concern the aspects of checks and balances. For example in Malta, a recently adapted constitutional reform concerns the election procedure of the President of Malta and the role of the Ombudsman and another constitutional reform on the appointment of certain independent commissions has been tabled to Parliament.
The Government welcomes this latest development as another positive certificate for the historic reforms implemented by this administration under the leadership of Prime Minister Robert Abela. As a result of this work, today, the European Commissioner Didier Reynders described Malta as an example of best practice. This follows a letter sent by the President of the European Commission Ursola von der Leyen to Prime Minister Robert Abela where she praised the reforms that Malta has undertaken to strengthen the rule of law. The Government is implementing these reforms with conviction and following a process of structured dialogue including the Venice Commission, which has positively welcomed.
The European Commission also pointed out that the Government is noting that there is still work to be done. In this regard, the European Commission welcomes the Government’s commitment to continue working to modernize our country through important reforms that complement what has been done so far. These changes were long overdue and are preparing Malta for the future.