European Parliament President Roberta Metsola announced reforms on Thursday 15 December “of magnitude” for 2023, following the alleged corruption scandal involving Qatar that is rocking this institution. “I am in the process of putting together a package of far-reaching reforms which will be ready at the beginning of next year”she said at a European summit in Brussels, mentioning in particular the strengthening of the protection of whistleblowers and the banning of unofficial friendship groups with third countries.
“There are gaps that need to be filled, for example with regard to the activities of former members of the European Parliament, entries in the transparency register, people authorized to enter the European Parliament”added Roberta Metsola during a press conference.
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Meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs for their part voted almost unanimously for a text in which they ask “urge the suspension of the access permits of representatives of Qatari interests” the time of the judicial investigations. This decision must then be taken by the President of the European Parliament. In Brussels, Roberta Metsola has already specified that the NGO No Peace Without Justice, which is “allegedly linked to the ongoing investigation”had had its access suspended.
The European Parliament on Tuesday stripped of its vice-presidency the Greek MEP Eva Kaili, suspected of being involved in this scandal and currently detained. His companion, Francesco Giorgi, is also in pre-trial detention, as is former MEP Pier-Antonio Panzeri. Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, head of the NGO No Peace Without Justice, was to be released by wearing an electronic bracelet.
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saying to themselves “dismayed” by these alleged acts of corruption and money laundering, MEPs also decided to suspend “all work on legislative files relating to Qatar”, in the first place those concerning the liberalization of visas for Qatar and Kuwait and an agreement on aviation. At the end of the judicial inquiry, the parliamentarians also undertook to to set up a commission of inquiry […] on cases of corruption and abuse of third countries” to influence the European Parliament.
In response to a question, Roberta Metsola said at a press conference that she had declined an invitation from Qatar to attend the FIFA World Cup. “I refused because I have concerns about this country”, did she say. She said she had “two meetings with representatives of the Qatari government in Brussels” and to have ” refuse “ a request from that country to address the European Parliament.
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For its part, Doha has denied being involved in corruption attempts.