Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A cont(r)act too far (INT/SHT)

Kategorija: Unjoni Ewropea, Korruzzjoni
Suggett: Tender mirbuh minn Media Link Communications
Sors: Stqarrija Stampa ta' Alternattiva Demokratika



On the initiative of Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party (AD) Spokesperson on EU Affairs, Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter has raised the issue of a contract made by the European Commission to the news agency of the Maltese Christian Democratic Party (Partit Nazzjonalista, PN).

In his Parliamentary question, Carl Schlyter said that according to a report which appeared in the newspaper Malta Today of 20 November 2005, the European Commission has awarded a EUR 565,000 contract to the media agency of the governing Christian Democratic Party in Malta (Media Link Communications) to provide a daily press review to the European Commission Representation in Malta. MEP Schlyter added that, to the best of his knowledge, the Malta Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg was both a nominal shareholder and a director of the Media Link company.

Carl Schlyter pointed out that Commissioner Wallström’s spokesperson Mikolaj Dowgielewicz was reported to have replied to the Malta Today queries by saying: “The fact that a tenderer was owned by a political party was not considered to be a situation of conflict of interests as defined in the tender specifications.”

Carl Schlyter finally asked if, in view of all this, the Commission does not believe that the award of such contract to the news agency of a political party (in this case a Government party), undermines the whole spirit of Plan D for Democracy, and indeed goes very much against the European citizens’ plea for dialogue on an equal footing.

Arnold Cassola commented: “If what was reported by Malta Today is true, then European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström has to take drastic action. Failure to do so would not only mean that the European Commission is influencing the course of the democratic political debate in Malta by financing one particular political party indirectly but would also be contributing directly to undermining the European citizens’ trust in the European Union institutions.

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