In response to the controversy involving an alleged attempt by Qatar to bribe influence, the president of the European Parliament has said that a comprehensive reform package would be ready in the new year to address corruption among MEPS.
The proposals, according to Roberta Metsola, would improve whistleblower protection, prohibit unofficial “friendship groups,” examine the MEPs’ code of conduct, and take a “in-depth look” at relations with third parties.
The scandal that erupted over the weekend had been detrimental to the EU, democracy, and “everything we stand for,” she said at the start of a press conference in Brussels. Metsola said that the process to make things right would begin immediately.
In connection with a Belgian anti-corruption probe involving EU lawmakers, bureaucrats, and a Gulf state, largely believed to be Qatar, four people have been indicted. Doha rejects any wrongdoing.
They have been charged with corruption, money laundering, and membership in a criminal organisation. “Significant gifts” and “large sums of money” were found.
The pre-trial hearing for Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who has been removed of her position as one of the 14 vice-presidents of the European Parliament, has been postponed until December 22.
Metsola suggested that the approach had been successful to some degree. Rules can be tightened and revised, but in this case, the corruption was investigated, discovered, and the suspected perpetrators apprehended, she added.
The lawmakers and the administration had fully and openly cooperated, she said.
The president of the parliament also pledged to thoroughly examine each MEP’s financial interests. She also mentioned the risk that authoritarian nations may use non-governmental organisations as a front to further their own interests in interacting with Europe.