The EU Parliament has passed stricter laws on transparency rules following accusations that some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were involved in the Qatar bribing scandal, reports Qatari news website, Middle East Eye, September 13.
The so-called QatarGate scandal, readers will remember, is based on a corrupt network of MEPs established years earlier for the purposes of white washing Morocco.
The new rule will oblige all MEPs to declare their paid work activities should their total side income exceed 5,000 Euros.
Also, current members will be forbidden from engaging with ex-MEPs who have left within the past six months and members will not be allowed to receive gifts over the amount of 150 Euros. If they exceed that boundary, they must be forfeited to the parliament’s President.
At the turn of the year, two MEPs were investigated by Belgium’s authorities. Marc Tabarella and Andrea Cozzolino, Belgian and Italian respectively, were accused of receiving bribes from Qatar.
The duo lost their EU immunity during the scandal.
The EU parliamentary immunity refers to members not being subject to any form of enquiry, legal proceedings and/or detention.
The “Qatargate” affair has long been talked about and is a nod to a 15-year-old network of a cabal of corrupt MEPs which were originally identified and paid by Morocco for white-washing its own human rights record, using an Italian MEP to manipulate proceedings in the EU which would shine a poor light on the kingdom’s rights record.
The new transparency rules passed with a vote of 505 in support of it to 93 against and will be adopted later this year in November.
Following the vote, the President of the EU Parliament, Roberta Matsola expressed joy at the outcome of the result on social media.
The Maltese member of the European People’s Party (EPP) said on X (previously known as Twitter), “Proud that in record time, we took unprecedented decisions to strengthen integrity, independence and accountability,”
The passing of this new law will come prior to the 2024 European Elections which will take place in June in what many have predicted will be a successful set of elections for Eurosceptic parties.
In 2019’s vote, anti-EU parties topped the polls in Italy and the United Kingdom (no longer a member of the European Union).
MIDDLE EAST EYE