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Malta News ROUNDUP


US defence secretary Mark Esper held a brief meeting at Castille in October. Reports said that the Maltese government is under pressure to sign a Status of Forces Agreement for American servicemen, but the Foreign Affairs Ministry denied the claims.

MEP Roberta Metsola was elected First Vice President of the EU parliament, the second highest role in the institutio­n. The MEP, who sits with the European People’s Party, described her election as a proud moment for Malta.

The CEO of the Malta Financial Services Authority, Joseph Cuschieri, suspended himself following allegation­s that he travelled to Las Vegas on the invitation of businessma­n Yorgen Fenech in May 2018, one month into his role.

The government imposed a 30-day shutdown period on bars and clubs until the end of November. The SME Chamber said that a month is a long time for businesses and called for strong measures to support the affected businesses.

The number of Covid-19 victims in Malta has risen to more than a hundred since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The first fatality was announced in April and the 100th death was recorded in November.

Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi suspended himself from parliament after admitting to accepting a stay at a Tel Aviv hotel in 2017 paid for by a member of the Fenech business group. The ethics committee within the PN is investigat­ing the matter.

The launch of a ‘Christmas in the City’ initiative in Valletta by the Malta Tourism Authority drew sharp criticism from the Medical Associatio­n and the Nurses Union. The MTA later clarified that no mass events would be held. The financial crimes department interrogat­ed former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi, who spent a night in custody. No official details were given but it was reported that Schembri was questioned about chats with businessma­n Yorgen Fenech last year.

Cyrus Engerer was elected to the European Parliament in a casual election to fill the seat vacated by Miriam Dalli. In October, Dalli stepped down from the EP before she was co-opted to the House of Representa­tives by the government.

The Malta Stock Exchange emerged among the worst EU performers in the pandemic, losing some 30 percent since March. The CEO of Mapfre MSV Life plc, David Curmi, said that Maltese investors are ‘suffering silently’.

A journalist with The Times reported that he was offered hundreds of euros at the end of a 20-minute meeting with members of businessma­n Yorgen Fenech’s legal team. Lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran confirmed the incident but said it was ‘remunerati­on’ for the journalist’s time.

The government announced a new scheme to help SMES and family business adapt to transforma­tions in the market. Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said the €2.5 million project will facilitate efficiency and sustainabi­lity.

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