‘It’s a shame and it weakens Europe’: MEPs react to corruption scandal
The arrest of four people in the context of an anti-corruption investigation involving members of the European Parliament could shake Brussels.
Some MEPs, including Vice-President Eva Kaili, have been accused of accepting large sums of money from a Gulf country believed to be World Cup host Qatar. Doha has denied the charges.
The co-president of the Greens group, Philippe Lamberts, has called for a parliamentary inquiry and for the issue of corruption to be raised this week during the last plenary session of the year of the European Assembly.
Niels Fuglsang, MEP for the Danish Social Democratic Party, pointed to the damaging effect this scandal could have on the bloc.
“If we can be bribed. If members of the European Parliament and other politicians can be bribed to say certain things, to vote certain ways… It’s a shame and it weakens Europe,” he said. he told Euronews.
“So it’s in everyone’s interest that we get to the bottom of this and have some rules in place to make sure things like this never happen. [again]… This [what happened] is very bad, and we have a lot of repair work to do.”
On Friday, Belgian police staged 16 raids across Brussels. Around €600,000 in cash was seized, along with computer equipment and mobile phones.
Kaili has since been arrested and charged. And she was stripped of her duties as Vice-President of the European Parliament.
Some experts have argued in light of the scandal that the EU should now strengthen its anti-corruption legislation.
“I think – and I believe – that it would be very important for the EU to think seriously about these issues and prepare for situations like this in the future,” said Tamás Lattmann, expert in international and European law. , to Euronews.
“[It should] come up with some sort of legislation of its own to deal with situations like this and to make possible cooperation with Member State authorities much more transparent and, to some extent, more guaranteed.
Before the scandal broke, the assembly was considering visa-free entry into the Schengen area for Qatari citizens.
But the European People’s Party, Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens have since called for the assembly’s vote on the issue to be suspended.