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Maltese envoy quits over anti-Merkel Nazi slur

May 11, 2020

Malta's envoy to Finland has quit after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler in a public message as Europe remembered World War Two's end. Malta says Berlin will be sent an apology.

erman Chancellor Angela Merkel during the Informal meeting of European Union heads of state or government in Valletta, Malta
Image: picture-alliance/abaca/Depo Photos/

The Maltese envoy to Finland quit on Sunday after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler. 

Michael Zammit Tabona's anti-Merkel Facebook entry, posted on Friday, cost him his six-year diplomatic post as Malta's Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo sought to repair relations with Berlin.

Bartolo said he had accepted the resignation of the Maltese businessman and hotelier appointed as Malta's ambassador to Helsinki in 2014.

In his message on Friday, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe, Zammit Tabona had posted: "75 years ago we stopped Hitler. Who will stop Angela Merkel? She has fulfilled Hitler's dream! To control Europe."

Maltese media reported Sunday that the offending post had since been deleted, and that Zammit Tabona could not be contacted for comment.

The Times of Malta newspaper said Zammit Tabona's posting had been as non-residential and quoted Bartolo as saying he had instructed the ambassador to remove the comment "as soon as I was alerted to it." 

The newspaper also quoted Maltese opposition leader Adrian Delia as saying that Zammit Tabona's Facebook post was "unbecoming of an ambassador."

Read more: How a journalist's murder haunts Malta's ruling elite

Merkel a source of stability

Delia told the newspaper the German chancellor had consistently backed Malta on various issues, describing her as a source of stability in Europe — seven decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Malta's Chamber of Commerce, in a statement also carried by the newspaper, said Zammit Tabona's remark had harmed the country's reputation. It welcomed his resignation.

"All persons holding public office and diplomats no less, should take extra care when expressing themselves, as the country's reputation is no one's to put in compromising situations," the chamber reportedly said. 

Relations between the two EU nations, Malta and Germany, include ongoing strains over Mediterranean boat migrants and Eurozone debt.

ipj/aw (dpa, Reuters)

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