18.07.20 Covid-19 Update



Former PM cleared of breach in Code of Ethics in Dubai trip 

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s trip to Dubai late last year was not considered to have breached the Code of Ethics by the Standards Commissioner George Hyzler. The Standards Commissioner investigated a complaint by PD leader Timothy Alden and PN leader Adrian Delia. The complaints concerned the cost of the visit and whether this was met by Muscat himself or by a third party, Hyzler’s office said in a statement.

The Commissioner reported that a third party paid for the trip, amounting to around to €21,000 in cash. The identity of the third party was not disclosed.

Daphne Caruana Galizia Public Inquiry

Former Minister Konrad Mizzi’s first reaction when Daphne Caruana Galizia hinted at the Panama Papers was that such stories were just hogwash and bluff. Testifying during the public inquiry, former Muscat spokesperson Kurt Farrugia said that the team at Castille worked long hours to  deliver a better quality of life but that that  work had been tarnished through mercenary interests.

“My position was known. People involved in such financial structures had no place in public office. I told the people concerned, point-blank,” explained Kurt Farrugia.

PN Membership increases

The Independent reports that Nationalist Party is experiencing a surge in new membership applications and renewals, with sources saying that this reflects efforts being made by anti-Delia MPs to garner wider support for the eventuality that a new confidence vote is held.

PN Leader Adrian Delia has refused step down the 17 MPs (plus two MEPs) as well as a majority in the Executive council voted against him in the past two weeks.

Coronavirus update

The Health Department said yesterday that there were no new coronavirus cases in Malta during the previous day. This was the 8th consecutive day without any new case.

Another person recovered, meaning only three active cases remain at this stage.

Newspaper Review

The Times leads with a report by the Standards Commissioner on a trip to Dubai by Joseph Muscat in December. The investigation contradicted claims by the former Prime Minister that he paid for the trip from personal funds but did not find him in breach of ethics.

The Independent covers a press conference by the Developers Association which is proposing that members pay for architect fees for third-party neighbours adjacent to construction sites.

L-Orizzont says that 63 migrants disembarked in Malta on Friday after finding themselves in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue zone. NGO Alarm Phone first reported a boat in distress on Thursday to authorities in Malta in Italy.

In-Nazzjon says that the government did not issue any statements following the arrival of 63 migrants on Friday. The paper says that over 1,700 migrants have disembarked in Malta since the beginning of the year.

The Times quotes Enterprise Malta CEO Kurt Farrugia who said in court that people with offshore companies have no place in public life. He was testifying in the Caruana Galizia public inquiry on Friday.

The Independent follows the testimony of former OPM communications director Kurt Farrugia in the Caruana Galizia public inquiry. Farrugia said that Konrad Mizzi  had initially dismissed reports of his companies in Panama as ‘bluff’.

L-Orizzont also reports on the testimony of Kurt Farrugia who said that there was a sense of shock in Castille when news of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder arrived. He pointed out, however, that the journalist was ‘often incorrect’ in her stories.

In-Nazzjon quotes Kurt Farrugia who told the Caruana Galizia public inquiry that he saw Yorgen Fenech in Castille once “possibly for a meeting with Keith Schembri”. The only other occasion when he saw the businessman was at an event related to the new power station.

In its Editorial, The Times of Malta calls for a sustainable recovery. A greener and less resource-intensive economy, pioneered in Malta’s cities and subsequently expanded to encompass the rest of the islands, would give some credence to national claims to be committed to the climate-neutrality goal of the European Green Deal. It also tackles what it describes as a phantom recovery in Valletta.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS (By corporatedispatch.com)

Ryanair extends removal of flight change fee to all new September bookings

Ryanair announced it will extend the waiving of its flight change fee for all customers who book to travel in September – already in place for new July & August bookings – allowing them to book their extended summer holidays with peace of mind in case their travel plans change.

From 17 July, customers who book to travel in September will be able to move their flights with zero change fee to travel until the 31 December 2020.

Barcelona residents told to stay home amid rise in coronavirus cases

Authorities in Spain’s Catalonia region on Friday called on residents of Barcelona to stay at home and not gather in groups of more than 10 in order to fight an increase in coronavirus cases.

According to local media reports quoted by Politico, regional government’s spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, also recommended that people in Spain’s second-largest city and its metropolitan area should not move to their second homes this weekend as it emerged that 1,111 new coronavirus infections were registered in Catalonia over the previous 24 hours.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU

First day of EU summit ends without deal

EU leaders failed on Friday to make headway in negotiations over a massive stimulus plan to breathe life into economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, returning to their Brussels hotels shortly before midnight to rest and try again in the morning.

But officials said a thrifty camp of wealthy northern states led by the Netherlands stood its ground on access to the recovery fund, in the face of opposition from Germany, France, southern nations Italy and Spain, and eastern European states.

This daily update bulletin is being compiled for the Chamber of Advocates by CI Consulta from Corporate ID Group. CI Consulta delivers policy research and analysis, evaluations and impact assessments up to policy implementation and integration.