The basis of trust between Malta and the European Union (EU) "does not seem to be there anymore," Dutch member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sophie in't Veld told journalists after meeting Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Tuesday.
"I don't think that our concerns have been addressed after this meeting," in't Veld told journalists upon exiting the prime minister's office. "We can talk for a long time about the details of the case but ultimately this is about truth and credibility of the highest political office here. It is difficult to see how that can be maintained," she said.
The Dutch MEP is in Malta leading a high-level delegation from the European Parliament, which came to Malta after reports emerged of alleged links between journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder and members of Muscat's administration.
Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in Malta on Oct. 16, 2017.
Malta's businessman Yorgen Fenech, a key playor in the country's energy sector, was formally charged on Saturday with complicity in the murder of the journalist. He pleaded not guilty and remains in police custodry, according to report of Times of Malta.
Fenech has asked for a pardon to tell all about the murder. Muscat announced on Friday that the government turned down Fenech's request for immunity in exchange for information on who murdered Galizia.
Fenech alleged that the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri was the real mastermind behind the murder.
Schembri resigned from his post on Nov. 26 and on the same day, Malta's Economy Minister Chris Cardona also announced through a statement released by his ministry that he was "suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as minister pending the investigations and proceedings going on right now."
Schembri and Mizzi had been mentioned in leaked documents as allegedly owning offshore companies which were due to receive 5,000 euros (5,500 U.S. dollars) a day from 17 Black, an offshore company owned by Fenech.
Speaking at the European Parliament last week, in't Veld said the delegation will make sure that the "European Parliament keeps the pressure up so that justice is done and the truth will come to light."
"Cooperation in the EU is based on trust and I thought this was very evident to everybody, but that trust has been very seriously damaged. We'll see what we hear in the next day and a half, but I am not coming out of this meeting with more confidence," in't Veld told journalists following her meeting with Muscat.
German MEP Sven Giegold said that Muscat had admitted that he knew Fenech was somehow involved in Caruana Galizia's murder.
"He refused to say since when exactly he knows ... he understands that he somehow made a mistake," Giegold told journalists. "I can only say that this government brings the EU into disrespect, and puts Malta at the EU table in disrespect."
"How can Mr. Muscat represent a member state and say he is legitimate while having announced his resignation?" Giegold asked.
Maltese MEP Robert Metsola, who is part of the delegation, said she had asked the prime minister whether he felt betrayed.
"The prime minister gave me a one-word answer: 'yes'. He then went on to try and say he made a number of misjudgements and so he has to carry political responsibility for that," she said.
Muscat announced on Monday on national television that he will first resign as leader of the Labour Party on Jan. 12, 2020 and "in the days after" he will also step down as prime minister.