Simon Busuttil


Simon Busuttil MOM (born 20 March 1969) is the Secretary General of the EPP Group (European People's Party) in the European Parliament.[2] Formerly, he was Leader of the Opposition.[3] and Leader of the Nationalist Party[4] in Malta and a Member of the European Parliament for Malta.[5]

Simon Busuttil

Busuttil at a March 2017 EPP Malta Congress
Leader of the Opposition
In office
13 May 2013  4 October 2017
PresidentMarie Louise Coleiro Preca
Prime MinisterJoseph Muscat
Preceded byLawrence Gonzi (Acting); Joseph Muscat
Succeeded byAdrian Delia
Leader of the Nationalist Party
In office
8 May 2013  15 September 2017
Preceded byLawrence Gonzi
Succeeded byAdrian Delia
Member of the European Parliament
In office
12 June 2004  10 March 2013
Personal details
Born (1969-03-20) 20 March 1969 (age 52)
Attard, State of Malta
Political partyNationalist Party
Children3[1]
Alma materUniversity of Malta
University of Sussex[citation needed]

Education


Busuttil, who is from Lija, graduated as Doctor of Laws (University of Malta, 1993), MA in European Studies (University of Sussex, 1994) and Magister Juris in International Law (University of Malta, 1995).[6][7][8] As a student he was President of the Maltese Christian Democrat Students, SDM (1989–91), Student Representative on the Senate of the University of Malta (1991–92) and International Secretary of the Maltese National Youth Council (1992).[9][10]

Career


Busuttil's career is mostly linked with EU affairs as well as with his parliamentary roles in the European Parliament and in the national Parliament in Malta. In 1999, Busuttil was appointed Head of the Malta-EU Information Centre (MIC) and led Malta's public awareness campaign ahead of the 2003 EU membership referendum. At the same time he was also a member of Malta's Core Negotiating Group (negotiating Malta's membership in the EU) and the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC) in 1999.[11][12]

Member of the European Parliament

In 2004, Busuttil was elected as an MEP with the Nationalist Party in the election for the European Parliament netting the largest number of personal preference votes, 58,899 votes.[13] He was the first Maltese MEP to address the European Parliament on 21 July 2004.[14] He was re-elected to the European Parliament in the 2009 election, again registering the largest vote tally of votes ever, or 68,782 votes.[15]

As an MEP he was a member of the bureau of the European People's Party (EPP) and sat on various committees including the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control and its Committee on Budgets.[16] But his strongest contribution was within the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee where he was the Coordinator (Spokesperson) for the EPP Group and covered issues that include the sensitive areas of common European immigration and asylum policy.[17]

Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party and MP

In November 2012, he was elected Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party following the resignation of Tonio Borg. He was elected an MP in the 2013 general election.[18]

Leader of the Nationalist Party and Leader of the Opposition

Busuttil at a December 2013 EPP Summit

Immediately after the elections, incumbent Leader Lawrence Gonzi announced that he would not be seeking re-election for the role of leader of the Nationalist Party. Busuttil was one of four candidates running for leadership along with Mario De Marco, Raymond Bugeja and Francis Zammit Dimech.[19] On 4 May 2013, at the first round of voting, Busuttil obtained 50.3% of the votes while Mario De Marco obtained 38.5% and conceded the race, leaving Busuttil de facto leader elect.[20] A further vote was taken on 8 May in order for him to officially receive 2/3 of the votes, the threshold required by the election rules.[21] Simon Busuttil was confirmed Leader having exceeded 90% of the votes cast.[22][23]

Busuttil's term as Leader of the PN and of the Opposition was characterised by a his choice to champion the rule of law and the fight against corruption in Malta. He led the Opposition charge against the Labour Government led by Joseph Muscat following the revelations made by Daphne Caruana Galizia and PanamaPapers in February and April 2016 respectively. In April 2017, he published a leaked report that implicated the Chief of Staff in money laundering activities linked to Malta's golden passport scheme. The following month, in May 2017, Busuttil published yet another leaked report and presented evidence of alleged illegal transfers to the tune of €650,000 paid by Keith Schembri to the former Managing Director of The Times of Malta, Adrian Hillman.[24] The revelations increased pressure on the Labour Government and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and eventually led to an early election being called on 1 May 2017. In reaction, Busuttil said that people faced a stark choice between Joseph Muscat's interests and Malta's interest and appealed to voters to 'Vote for Malta'.[25] He claimed that the elections were a matter of trust, not just proposals.[26] He claimed that Muscat called the snap election to evade justice.[27] Busuttil led the General Election campaign based on a platform of the fight against corruption and the importance of Rule of Law.[28]

In that election, Busuttil contested the 11th and 12th Electoral Districts in the 2017 Maltese general election as the leader of the Nationalist party.[29] However, on 4 June 2017, after polls on the previous day, it was clear that the Malta Labour Party had won by a 55% margin.[30] The win was historic as the Labour party won the election by a record margin, and the margin was seen to be even bigger than in the 2013 Maltese general election. Many reasons were attributed for the result, including the fact that the economy was experiencing record growth under Joseph Muscat while at the same time the PN gave little reason for being elected other than a good governance pledge, which even that was not considered authentic because of the corruption scandals that rocked the party back during their time in government.[31] Busuttil conceded defeat[32] and the following day announced his resignation as leader of the Nationalist Party along with the entire party administration.[33] He met party activists on 6 June 2017 and explained that although he would be leaving, the party should "never give up" in its principled fight for the rule of law. He also announced a new and more open procedure for electing the new leader, with all party members being able to vote to elect their leader for the first time.[34]

Backbench MP

On 17 September 2017, Busuttil was succeeded by Dr Adrian Delia as leader of the Nationalist Party and on 6 October 2017 as Leader of the Opposition. In February 2018, Delia appointed Busuttil as Shadow Minister for Good Governance, asking him to continue his fight for the rule of law.[35][36] Nevertheless relations between them turned sour when Delia asked Busuttil to resign from the PN parliamentary group in the wake of the publication of the conclusions of the 'Egrant' magisterial inquiry into the alleged ownership of one of the Panama company by the Prime Minister's wife, which concluded that Egrant did not belong to the Prime Minister's wife. The allegation had first been made by Daphne Caruana Galizia, and was believed by Simon Busutil to the point of putting the allegation centre stage in the 2017 election campaign. Busuttil warned Delia that he should not side with Muscat and refused to suspend himself.[37] The Administrative Council of the Nationalist Party met later during 22 June 2018 in order to discuss the events, and backed Delia's request to Busuttil, asking the latter to make way so that the party can move on in an effective matter, as no one can be considered bigger than the party.[38] Despite this, he still found the support of many prominent people in the PN parliamentary group, among them being his former deputies Mario de Marco and Beppe Fenech Adami who supported him saying that the party should unite for greater strength.[39] Other MPs that lent their name to this cause included Claudette Buttigieg, Therese Comodini Cachia, Marthese Portelli, Claudio Grech, Karol Aquilina, Karl Gouder and Jason Azzopardi, as well as MEP David Casa.[40] MEP Roberta Metsola requested that the matter was discussed within party organs.[41] MP Chris Said offered to mediate the situation.[42] Delia would eventually relent, which would prove to be one of many incidents regarding internal party politics.

Secretary General of the EPP Group in the European Parliament

On 14 January 2020, Simon Busuttil was appointed as the new Secretary General of the EPP Group in the European Parliament. To take up this Brussels-based post, Busuttil announced that he would resign his parliamentary seat at the end of February 2020.[43] He officially took over his new responsibility of Secretary General of the EPP Group on 1 May 2020.

Decorations


National

  • 2003: Member of the National Order of Merit of Malta[44]

Others

  • 2004: Winner of The Outstanding Young Person Award of the Junior Chamber (Malta)[45]

References


  1. Fiona Galea Debono (18 February 2017). "Our seconce chance at love". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  2. "Simon Busuttil appointed new Secretary-General of the EPP Group". European People's Party. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  3. "Hon. Simon Busuttil MP - Opposition Leader". Parliament of Malta. August 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  4. "Riċeviment f'għeluq snin il-Kap tal-Partit Nazzjonalista Simon Busuttil". NET News (in Maltese). 20 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  5. "7th parliamentary term | Simon Busuttil | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  6. "Magister Juris 1995" (PDF).
  7. "Malta Today". Malta Today. 8 May 2017. pp. 2–9.
  8. Jurgen Balzan (8 May 2017). "Strengths and weaknesses: Joseph Muscat vs Simon Busuttil". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  9. "KNZ turns 20". Malta Independent. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  10. "Informing the people". 11 April 2001. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  11. Herman Grech (29 April 2003). "MIC head to return to legal practice". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  12. "Department of Information". www.doi-archived.gov.mt. 6 May 1999. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  13. "Malta Elects all five MEPs". The Malta Independent. 16 April 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  14. Herman Grech (22 July 2004). "Simon Busuttil is first Maltese MEP to address Euro Parliament". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  15. "Simon Busuttil re-elected with record 68,782 votes". Times of Malta. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  16. Simon Busuttil Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  17. "Simon Busuttil Elected EPP coordinator in Civil Liberties Committee". The Malta Independent. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  18. "Busuttil resigns from the European Parliament". Times of Malta. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  19. Jurgen Balzan (9 April 2013). "PN leadership - The four candidates". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  20. "Simon Busuttil wins first round of PN leadership election with 50%". Times of Malta. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  21. Jurgen Balzan (4 May 2013). "Simon Busuttil wins PN leadership contest". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  22. "[WATCH] 93% confirm Simon Busuttil as new PN leader". Malta Today. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  23. "Simon Busuttil is the new PN Leader". 4 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  24. "Watch: Busuttil presents eight files of 'irrefutable evidence' against Schembri". Times of Malta. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  25. Tim Diacono (1 May 2017). "[WATCH] Busuttil kicks off election campaign: 'Choice is between Muscat and Malta'". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  26. Yannick Pace (4 May 2017). "Busuttil: Election about more than proposals, it's a matter of trust". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  27. Sarah Carabott (7 May 2017). "Watch: 'This election is not a competition of proposals': Busuttil". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  28. Sarah Carabott (21 May 2017). "Simon Busuttil: If you voted Labour because you were hurt last election, vote Forza Nazzjonali now". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  29. Julian Bonnici (3 May 2017). "Simon Busuttil announces that he will contest 11th and 12th Districts". The Malta Independent. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  30. "Labour cruises to 55% majority; Muscat says people have chosen to stay the course". Times of Malta. 4 June 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  31. "[ANALYSIS] The new switchers in the 2017 elections". MaltaToday.com.mt. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  32. Rachel Baldacchino (4 June 2017). "PN Leader Simon Busuttil concedes defeat". TVM. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  33. "Simon Busuttil steps down as PN leader after crushing defeat". Times of Malta. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  34. Jurgen Balzan (6 June 2017). "Busuttil tells PN supports to be proud, new leader by September". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  35. Tim Diacono (3 February 2018). "Adrian Delia Gives Former PN Leader Simon Busuttil Official Good Governance Role". Lovin Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  36. Simon Vella Gregory (3 February 2018). "Il-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni Adrian Delia jaħtar il-Kelliema tal-Oppożizzjoni" (in Maltese). Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  37. "[WATCH] Updated | Adrian Delia has asked Simon Busuttil to resign from PN parliamentary group". MaltaToday.com.mt. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  38. "Watch: PN piles pressure on Simon Busuttil to suspend himself from party". Times of Malta. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  39. "PN MPs in show of support for Simon Busuttil". Times of Malta. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  40. Kurt Sansone (23 July 2018). "Updated - Adrian Delia faces growing rebellion over Simon Busuttil resignation call". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  41. Yannick Pace (23 July 2018). "Adrian Delia in wait-and-see game over Simon Busuttil's PN future". Malta Today. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  42. "Chris Said offers to mediate between Busuttil and Delia". Times of Malta. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  43. "Simon Busuttil takes top EPP job, will resign from Maltese parliament". Malta Today. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  44. George Cini (13 December 2003). "President confers Republic Day honours". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  45. "JCI Malta TOYP Award for inspirational and outstanding people". The Malta Independent. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2019.