Hundreds of thousands of euros in cash, bags and suitcases, expensive watches, jewelry and tips for luxury vacations in the Gulf nation. Qatar is considered a laggard.
A corruption scandal in the European Parliament could have been lifted from a second-rate mafia novel. While police raided the suspects’ homes, the father of the main defendant, Eva Kylie, tried to escape with a briefcase containing 600,000 euros over the weekend.
Great damage to Parliament
Apart from the murky circumstances of this corruption scandal – in addition to the ousted vice-president, the family of former MEPs and ex-officials of Italian origin are involved – the damage to the European Parliament is immeasurable. The majority of MEPs do what they can, for example, staying up late to fight the EU’s complicated environmental legislation, and a small group of unethical colleagues destroy their reputations with the stroke of a pen.
Above, it is a scandal of the greatest folly. MPs’ salaries are in the five figures, and the allowance for expenses is generous. Why would a woman destroy her career, out of sheer ambition, leaving money in suitcases and bags, hotel rooms and apartments? Did Eva Kylie and her friends assume that nothing would come to light and that no one would alert the police? Belgian prosecutors intercepted the suspects’ phones some time ago, and many harrowing details are sure to be revealed yet.
Sustained campaigning in favor of Qatar has already attracted attention in the European Parliament, with a trade union leader praising the quality of the country’s labor laws. But it never occurred to anyone that such a blatant and blatant corruption had taken place. All honest, well-intentioned and hard-working MPs feel betrayed and their collective reputation destroyed.
The Hungarian president, Viktor Orbán, immediately put his finger on the sore spot on Twitter: A corrupt European Parliament wants to condemn Hungary for corruption? Indeed, the European Parliament slammed Orbán’s democracy-undermining actions and pressured other EU institutions to finally speak out against him. Now it has lost credibility. This is a serious blow against the elected representation of European citizens.
The scary part is that the damage done cannot be repaired. Due to its dimensions and international press headlines, this scandal will live long in the memory. And it encourages everyone, especially from the right, to incite against the EU and question its policies and its institutions.
The actual power of the European Parliament is limited. In recent years, it has acquired symbolic rights, but much of its influence is moral in nature. However, he who claims moral superiority and uses the struggle for European values and democracy as a political tool must be innocent. Keeping clean hands is the basis of the European Parliament’s influence. Autocrats and right-wing populists have much to lose when they point the finger at MPs and mock their scandals.
Just a scar on the wound
Naturally, Parliament should strengthen oversight of its members’ work with new rules and take anti-corruption measures. The floodgates were open because only companies and influence groups had rules, but not third states. More suspects will be investigated in the sector, from Azerbaijan to Russia, which has already drawn attention for corruption.
But such resolutions will help prevent such corruption from happening again. They cannot restore the lost faith or heal the wound. This is a bitter realization for many MPs. By the time the European Parliament awards the Ukrainian people the Sakharov Prize for Civil Valor, in a solemn ceremony, the company’s pride will have already suffered, and the speeches will have an unusually bitter aftertaste.
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