Metsola sets transparency plan in response to Qatargate scandal

Updated to include comments from European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

Following through on her intention to propose reforms in response to the criminal corruption scandal involving Qatar, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola set out a 14-point plan to tighten rules for lawmakers on contacts with lobbyists and financial declarations.

Metsola presented her proposals on Thursday in a closed-door meeting with the heads of the Parliament’s nine political groups, officially called the Conference of Presidents.

Insisting the Parliament will strengthen integrity, independence and accountability, Metsola said on Twitter, “Our aim is to move ahead fast”.

“These immediate reforms are the first steps in rebuilding trust in European decision-making and the launch of a wider reform of the European Parliament,” she added in comments to the press today following the Conference of Presidents.

The 14 proposals seen by POLITICO would, among other things, bar ex-lawmakers from lobbying for two years after leaving office and remove their unlimited access to the Parliament when no longer in office.

Another more central proposal is the one that will require any MEPs, assistants or civil servants to disclose who they are meeting when discussing ongoing legislative work, irrespective if those meetings take place on parliamentary premises or not. Currently, only rapporteurs or committee chairs are required to make such disclosures.

In December, the European Parliament was rocked by the news that Belgian authorities launched a probe into current and former MEPs accused of taking bribes in exchange for favours from Qatar and Morocco.

Four people have been charged with corruption and money laundering, including Greek EP Vice-President Eva Kaili, who was swiftly removed from her position by a landslide plenary vote of 625 to one of her fellow MEPs over her involvement in Qatargate. Qatar and Kaili deny any wrongdoing.

Metsola’s spokesperson said following the Conference of Presidents today that there was full support for the proposals from the leaders of the political groups and the President received a mandate to take work forward on the objectives presented.

He added that there was full agreement on the importance of moving ahead fast, and the EP President would be continuing consultations and report back on progress to the Conference of Presidents.

Metsola had set out her intentions for reforms in a statement issued in the new year, which she said would include “an overhaul of the current rules and improving internal systems, including on enforcement”.

The same statement also announced the request for an urgent procedure for the waiver of immunity of two Members of the European Parliament following a request from the Belgian judicial authorities.

As the European Parliament President sets out to restore the damage caused by the scandal, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela last month leapt to Qatar’s defence and criticised Metsola, a Maltese political rival from the Opposition Nationalist Party, for having moved “too quickly” on the scandal.

He also insisted that the allegations should not taint links between Qatar and Europe, particularly on energy supply.

Meanwhile, The Shift has reported on Malta’s dealings with Qatar with eight visits in one year, including President George Vella meeting two brothers accused only two months earlier in a British court of financing terrorism in Syria.

                           
                           
                               
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saviour mamo
saviour mamo
15 days ago

That’s the spirit. Well done Roberta Metsola.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
14 days ago

Enough with possible ‘Fourth Floor’ conspiracies. Some will not ‘be amused’ will they!

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
14 days ago

Roberta Metsola’s transparency plan should be adapted to local politicians including the prime minister.

Thomas
Thomas
14 days ago

From what I have noticed about the President of the EP, Ms Metsola, she’s showing some quality in leadership, even with the based on her office limited powers but being on the right path nonetheless.

It is more than obvious, proven by the reaction of the Maltese govt, that the PL will never go conform with the way of dealing with corruption in order to curb it, such as this is what Ms Metsola is actually doing. The latest comments by PM Abela is just showing once again that the usual attitude of the PL was and is to in whatever way and by whatever means it takes, profits, advantages or benefits is the rule of the day and in order to keep them going and coming, they set themselves into dependency on those who privide it and more to the point, also keep those they have in dependency themselves in order to stay in line with the party.

A party like the PL, who still claims that it was them (MLP and PL are in fact one and the same and a change of the name doesn’t bring about a change of the character of a party unless that changes with it) who ‘achieved Independence’ for Malta finally when the British left Malta on 31st March 1979, makes a mockery of the very term when selling the country to dubious business people and oligarchs. On the other hand, they always ride their anti-EU propaganda hobbyhorse in depicting the EU and likening it with the former colonial rulers of Malta. That is the hypocrisy with them and what the PL fears most is the day when they are voted out because people don’t trust them anymore and break free from their grip on them via dependency in giving jobs, financial support, free reign on development, advantages in some cases as long as they stay with the PL.

Ms Metsola is doing right and it seems that the EP groups are in line with improving the checks and balances in order to keep up the high standards and go against corruption and not either turning a blind eye on it or even worse, taking part in it. The fact that the majority of the MEPs from the S&D group in the EP voted in line with the EU standards and not in favour of the PL MEPs should normally make the PL think again. But they don’t give a damn and I wonder for how long the Maltese PL MEPs will be part of that S&D group because I think that the PL is misplaced within the S&D group as the Maltese PL govt isn’t interested in changing anything in Malta in order to get them in line with EU standards. But I don’t know where a party like the PL with all its recent history and present way of doing politics would fit in with any other groups in the EP.

For me, it doesn’t take to follow the examples of Ms Metsola, the PL is the worst propagandist against itself based on the way it rules Malta and the way it keeps its followers in dependency and appearing ‘preferential’ to PL members, followers and voters only. The PL does things for all the people in Malta when they have no other way in order to avoid allegations of discrimination and when they are under international pressure.

As a citizen of the EU, which I consider to be along with my own national citizenship, I can say that even though I am not with the EP group of herself, rather finding myself with the S&D based on my own political leanings, I see myself being respresented well by her leadership as President of the EP. I am ensured that she will continue the way she is doing and thus not just improving the reputation of the EU but also that of Malta on an international level.

Bocas
Bocas
11 days ago

Very impressed by the level of corruption in the EU! Link to proposals please.

Last edited 11 days ago by Bocas

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