Business was on the agenda at the 2nd EU-Arab Summit. In a speech at the Athens event, Malta’s Prime Minister emphasised the importance of free trade worldwide. Euronews caught up with him at the conference.
Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta
“I totally refute the idea that Malta has some sort of relaxed rules. Maybe we are a bit too successful for the simple reason that we want and we go to get the business. We are a bit of “go getters”
Symela Touchtidou, euronews
“But Malta’s name has been mentioned in Paradise Papers too.”
“Well it was mentioned in the fact that some companies that are opened in Malta – which are not secret, we do not have secrecy in our jurisdiction, it’s an open register of companies – had investments in other places. We are doing our part, because there is no secrecy and the journalists are saying that we are accused maybe of being too attractive, as may be the accusation to other European jurisdictions, but we are definitely not a tax haven.”
“So there is too much smoke, but no fire?
“No, I think there is no smoke, actually, let alone the fire.”
We asked about the recent murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, which made the headlines across the globe…
“You have been personally accused, what do you answer?”
“Is not a publicity issue. It’s an issue of fundamentals. For us is not tolerable that a person, let alone a journalist, is killed in our country… And we are giving any resources to the investigators to make sure that we get to the bottom of it.”
“Any results yet?”
“The results, if they are any and if there is progress, I would be undermining them if I announced them publicly. So it is up to investigators…”
As for the allegations that his family has been involved in the Panama Papers scandal, Joseph Muscat says he has asked for an investigation himself, to shed light into the case. The investigation is still ongoing.
“I am the person who would have wanted this to be concluded yesterday, because there are totally unfounded allegations and I said that I am so sure of my situation that I said not only if there is proof but even if there is an indication that what was said is true I would resign on the spot. And I hold my word.”