Over 1,000 Maltese citizens and 14 environmental NGOs have joined forces to oppose the proposed Melita TransGas pipeline, urging officials to scrap the project over corruption concerns, ecological risks, and its link to the 2017 assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In an open letter sent to Prime Minister Robert Abela, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, and relevant European Parliament members, the group condemned the pipeline as a symbol of "corruption, assassination, and environmental destruction."
The €400 million ($435 million) project, included in the EU's Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, faces a crucial vote in February by the European Parliament and member states. Rejection would remove the pipeline's eligibility for EU funding.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation and Friends of the Earth Malta, spearheading the opposition, highlighted the Electrogas power station's alleged corruption scandal, with payouts potentially benefiting Yorgen Fenech, accused of Caruana Galizia's murder. The journalist's investigations into Electrogas were cited as a possible motive for her killing.
"The European Union and Malta risk not only rewarding the alleged killer of Daphne Caruana Galizia but also her murder itself," said Matthew Caruana Galizia, Daphne's son.
Environmental concerns also fueled the opposition. Dr. Suzanne Maas, climate campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Malta, called the pipeline an "unsustainable investment" locking Malta into fossil fuels and contradicting climate goals.
"It's time to finally pull the plug on new fossil fuel projects and concentrate on cheap, reliable renewables," urged Colin Roche, climate justice campaigner at Friends of Earth Europe.
The open letter and growing public pressure add another layer of complexity to the Melita TransGas saga, with its fate hinging on the upcoming European Parliament vote and its potential ramifications for Malta's energy future and pursuit of justice for Caruana Galizia.