Miriam Dalli hits out at Tajani’s ‘partisan games’ for comparing Malta with Hungary

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli has taken exception to statements by Antonio Tajani that he did not vote on a Hungary censure motion because Malta was ‘worse off on rule of law’

Miriam Dalli has accused Antonio Tajani (inset) of playing partisan games with his comparison of Malta to Hungary
Miriam Dalli has accused Antonio Tajani (inset) of playing partisan games with his comparison of Malta to Hungary

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli has hit out at “partisan” comments by the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, who suggested Malta’s state of rule of law was worse than Hungary’s, now hit by an EU censure motion.

Tajani abstained from voting against his EPP ally Viktor Orban in the first ever application of the Article 7 censure despite a vociferous report on Hungary’s numerous breaches of core EU values.

But he defended his party's decision not to vote for EU action against Hungary’s breach of core EU values, claiming the situation was worse in Malta and Slovakia.

READ MORE Tajani defends Forza Italia’s support of Hungary: ‘Rule of law breaches worse in Malta’

“To justify himself and his friend, he attacked other countries including Malta. To try and defend his position… Unacceptable behaviour by someone who presents himself as the leader of the whole EP. He repeats what he is told and presents arguments based on a purely partisan agenda. Not surprised at all. I know where he gets his information on Malta from,” Dalli said.

Tajani, who had been the Italian centre-right’s choice for prime minister had it won the last elections, stood by statements of Forza Italia MEPs who said Malta, Slovakia and Romania fared worse on the rule of law than Hungary.

“FI’s position was very clear. There are no preconditions for the Article 7 procedure against Hungary,” Tajani told Il Sole Radio 24 of the country led by EPP ally Viktor Orban, who was slated by the rest of the European Parliament this week for various breaches of rule of law.

“Why was nothing done then against countries like Malta and Slovakia, when you had two journalists killed here, and in the case of Slovakia, leading to the resignation of a centre-left prime minister?” Tajani said referring to the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak.

Dalli however called on Tajani to “stop playing partisan games once and for all and stop attacking other countries.”

Tajani belongs to the conservative Forza Italia, whose leader Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday his party would not vote in favour of sanctions against the Orban government.

“You can’t have two weights and two measures, which is why Forza Italia says you cannot just attack one right-wing government when no corrective measures were applied to two left-wing administrations. Worse things happened there than in Hungary,” Tajani said.

In Wednesday’s vote, MEPs decided for the first time ever to apply an EU rule of law procedure against Orban over the weakening of press freedom and an erosion of judicial independence in Hungary, his government's migration policies and the alleged misspending of EU funds by Orban's friends and family during his premiership.

The move can lead to a suspension of Hungary's voting rights in EU affairs.

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