Post-Qatargate lobbying: MEPs will have to ‘cool off’ for six months after office

The Bureau of the European Parliament yesterday adopted its first decision on strengthening transparency and accountability in the wake of the Qatargate scandal by revising the 1999 rules for former European lawmakers.

Among other things, the decision introduces a six-month cooling-off period for MEPs after the end of their mandates, during which time they are not allowed to engage in any lobbying or representation activities whatsoever before the European Parliament.

If they still intend to do so after this period, they will need to join the EP’s Transparency Register.

As a result, they will no longer be entitled to the access rights and facilities they are granted as former Members of European Parliament.

The reform plan proposed by EP President Roberta Metsola, and endorsed by the parliament’s group leaders, was drafted following the criminal corruption scandal involving Qatar and its hosting of the last World Cup.

Shortly after the scandal erupted, Metsola laid out a plan to tighten rules for lawmakers on their contacts with lobbyists and their financial declarations.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

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

The proposed reforms also include mandatory registration in the transparency register for any event involving lobbyists in the EP and a ban on friendship groups with third countries where official parliamentary interlocutors already exist.

Rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs will also have to submit a conflict-of-interest declaration to the relevant committee secretariat when they are appointed.

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

Six people have since 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 the ‘cash for influence’ corruption scandal. Kaili, who is currently under house arrest, denies the charges.

Former EP Vice-President and Greek MEP Eva Kaili. Photo: EP

In the coming weeks, the Bureau will consider other aspects of this first set of measures, such as the participation of lobbyists in Parliament’s events and the revision of the internal rules on whistleblowing.


The Bureau of the European Parliament is responsible for budgetary, administrative, organisational and staff matters. It is made up of the President of the European Parliament, all 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Stories

Binance attracted to Malta’s unregulated blockchain limbo, US SEC charges show
The shady activities of the world’s cryptocurrency exchange during
Labour reporter on WasteServ’s payroll complains she doesn’t have a warrant
Pearl Agius, a Labour TV reporter who months ago

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo