EU warns Malta against 'political interference' in slain reporter probe

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The EU has warned Malta against any "political interference" in the investigation of the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a fierce critic of the government.

In a phone call on Monday, December 2, with Malta's justice minister, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova "insisted that the investigation has to be brought to conclusion without any political interference," a spokesman said on Tuesday, December 3.

She also "expressed her concern regarding the situation in Malta," the spokesman said.

The phone call occurred a day after Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who has come under fire over his personal links to politicians implicated in the case, said he would step down in January.

Caruana Galizia's family on Monday called for police to investigate Muscat amid allegations he obstructed justice by protecting key figures in the case, including his chief of staff.

Jourova, who oversees rule of law issues for the EU member states, underlined in the call that "more work needs to be done" in Malta on maintaining an independent legal system in the country.

Caruana Galizia, a mother of three described as a "one-woman WikiLeaks", was blown up in a car bomb attack near her home in October 2017.

A European Parliament delegation is in the tiny EU state and is set to meet members of the Caruana Galizia family, Muscat and the police commissioner before heading back to Brussels on Wednesday.

Led by Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld, it will examine doubts about the judiciary's independence and allegations of corruption. –