Brussels defends the creation of a common body to ensure ethical and transparency rules after the scandal of alleged bribes by the Gulf country to MEPs
The ‘Qatargate’ continues to give rise to talk in Brussels, where they see with “great concern” the implications of the alleged Qatari bribery scheme to influence the political and economic decisions of the European Parliament. After the arrest of the vice president of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, and the indictment of three other people in the framework of this investigation, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von del Leyen, has assured this Monday that a “clear and forceful” response is needed » to restore public confidence in the European institutions. And part of that solution could lie in the creation of a common independent body to ensure ethical and transparency rules within the European Union (EU).
There is no doubt that the European Parliament faces dark days. The anti-corruption police searched one of its offices on Monday and collected information from ten computers. Meanwhile, at the Strasbourg plenary session, President Roberta Metsola has expressed her “anger” and her “sadness” over the alleged case of corruption affecting the institution. “Third countries have used unions, NGOs and MEPs as a weapon to undermine our institution. His plans have failed,” she assured.
He has also defended that the European Parliament will continue to support all open investigations. “There will be no impunity. We will conduct an internal investigation and we will not sweep anything under the rug.” In addition, he has announced that he will promote reforms to improve transparency and control within the European institution.
Faced with the ‘Qatargate’ scandal, the European Parliament has decided to return to the corresponding commissions the issues related to the Gulf country that had to be voted on in plenary, including the proposal to exempt Qatar from visas. Metsola has also called an extraordinary meeting of the presidency council to remove Vice President Kaili, who has already been suspended from her role, and “protect the integrity of this chamber.”
For its part, the European socialist group – to which the majority of those investigated belong – has announced that it will appear as the injured party in the judicial process. “The guilty must pay before the Justice and we must guarantee that this does not happen again,” stressed its leader, Iratxe García.
This Monday, likewise, the Greek authority in the fight against money laundering reported that it had frozen the bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, companies and financial assets of Vice President Kaili and her family.
In the development of the investigation, which has taken four months of work, the Belgian police have carried out 16 searches in Brussels and have seized up to 750,000 euros. Most of that money –600,000 euros– would have been seized at the home of former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri. Another 150,000 were found in bags at Vice President Kaili’s residence. In addition, her father was arrested when he was leaving a hotel in Brussels with a suitcase full of tickets.
Another of those investigated, the socialist MEP Marc Tarabella, has denied having received any type of bribe from the Gulf country. He has defended, in the same way, that “he has never” received any gift, “I would have denounced them”, he has highlighted in statements to the Belgian newspaper ‘Le Soir’. “I have nothing to hide,” he insisted. The Qatari government itself has also denied any involvement in the case.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, they fear that this plot is only “the tip of the iceberg.” This has been stated by the head of Political Advocacy of Transparency International of the EU, Nicholas Aiossa, who has defended that “this is only coming to light given the number of MEPs that are supposedly involved.” For example, in 2011 British journalists posed as lobbyists and managed to get three MEPs to accept large sums of money to present legislative amendments. The three politicians were prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms.
#Belgian #Police #search #office #European #Parliament #framework #Qatargate
Leave a Reply