Saturday April 01, 2023

EU parliament chief vows to tackle corruption in its ranks

January 17, 2023

STRASBOURG, France: The head of the European Parliament vowed on Monday to impose new rules to tackle foreign corruption after MEPs were caught up in a graft scandal linked to Qatar and Morocco.

Speaker Roberta Metsola was opening a plenary session of the parliament in Strasbourg, as Belgian investigators continue to investigate alleged cash bribes to members. She pledged to ensure “more transparency” and “accountability” -- with a “first-step approach” that would include greater scrutiny of “those representing third countries and their interests”.

Her insistence that “this is the beginning, not the end” followed criticism from many MEPs and observers that her trailed measures did not go far enough to restore public credibility in the institution.

The parliament has been shaken by the scandal that broke open a month ago with the arrest of one of Metsola´s 14 vice-presidents after Belgian police raided homes and offices of several MEPs, former MEPs, parliamentary aides and heads of NGOs that dealt with lawmakers. Searches were ordered as part of a Belgian prosecutors´ probe into graft in the European Parliament benefitting Qatar and Morocco.