Suspected corruption in the European Parliament

Date : 16/12/2022

Suspected corruption in the European Parliament: "Shocking that people with such salaries are tempted".
RTL INFO, published on 16 December 2022 at 08:19, updated at 09:07

Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who has been jailed in an alleged corruption scandal in the European Parliament involving Qatar, had a darker outlook on Thursday when she was implicated in another case, linked to suspected fraud.

The 44-year-old Socialist MEP was stripped of her vice-presidency of the European Parliament on Tuesday and is currently being held in Belgium in connection with a "case of corruption, money laundering and criminal organisation" within the European institution.

The case has sent shockwaves through Brussels and Strasbourg, prompting the assembly's president, Roberta Metsola, to announce "far-reaching reforms" for 2023.

Dominique Dussard, president of Transparency International Belgium (an independent association that promotes transparency in politics), spoke about the affair in Bel-RTL's La Matinale.

Was he expecting such a big affair? "We knew that the European Parliament was a bit weak in terms of integrity processes, but we didn't expect this now, when the World Cup is taking place in Qatar. That said, it is intolerable and implausible for members of an assembly charged with promoting the defence of Europe and its citizens to become the spokesperson for the interests of other states," he said.

He added that "it is unbelievable that a member of an assembly that is supposed to promote the defence of Europe and its citizens should become the spokesperson for the interests of other states", and that "suitcases of money have been found in the hands of MEPs, when leaving a hotel, at their homes and in their relatives' homes.

"The good news is that this situation has dealt a terrible blow to the credibility of the European Parliament and therefore to the trust people have in it. It's unfortunate because it's clear that the majority of the members and staff who work there do a good job. There is a big problem because we need to rebuild trust and credibility in this institution. The good news is that the judiciary has taken up the issue and we can see that it is causing an earthquake among citizens, in the press and within the European institutions. Now it must lead to positive and concrete results.

The large salaries (from 7,000 to 11,000 euros) of MEPs have not prevented them from being corrupted.  

"To avoid corruption, a proper remuneration is a way to prevent temptation. Unfortunately, the people who make up an assembly, an organisation, are human. And you have humans who even with a comfortable income are tempted. Hence the need for measures to reduce the risk of these slippages and also to identify them very early on. It is true that it is shocking to see people with very comfortable salaries still allowing themselves to be tempted by this kind of behaviour," concludes Dominique Dussard. Translated with (free version)