EU President in urgent action to reveal identity of MEPs linked to corruption scandal
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has launched an “urgent procedure” and said “there will be no impunity. None.”
By Paul Withers
14:49, Mon, Jan 2, 2023 | UPDATED: 15:56, Mon, Jan 2, 2023
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The President of the European Parliament has launched an urgent procedure to waive immunity of two MEPs following request from authorities in Belgium in connection with Qatar-linked corruption investigation. The scandal is threatening to rip apart European Union democracy. Roberta Metsola wrote on Twitter: “Following a request from the Belgian judicial authorities, I have launched an urgent procedure for the waiver of immunity of two Members of the European Parliament. There will be no impunity. None.”
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Last month, police launched a fresh round of raids on political figures in Brussels in connection with alleged corruption involving Qatari interests.
It has led to surging fears the scandal could threaten to trash EU democracy.
Qatar denied any wrongdoing in relation to the investigation that had seen police seize nearly £1.3million in cash from Brussels properties.
Ms Metsola told a parliamentary session of MEPs in Strasbourg on December 12 she would be opening a probe, but warned: “The European Parliament is under attack.”
Roberta Metsola said ‘there will be no impunity. None’ (Image: GETTY)
Ms Metsola has admitted the European Parliament is ‘under attack’ (Image: GETTY)
She added in her speech: “Our way of open, free, democratic societies are under attack.
“The enemies of democracy for whom the very existence of this Parliament is a threat, will stop at nothing.
“These malign actors, linked to autocratic third countries have allegedly weaponized NGOs, unions, individuals, assistants and Members of the European Parliament in an effort to subdue our processes.”
Calls for an investigation over the matter to be launched were echoed by MEPs in Strasbourg and across the bloc.
Roberta Metsola took to Twitter to say she has launched the urgent procedure (Image: @EP_President / Twitter)
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French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think we need to know the facts, understand who is implicated and then take the appropriate measures.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also warned: “Europe’s credibility is at stake.”
Speaking at an EU summit in the Belgian capital later that week, Ms Metsola said senior leaders would discuss a possible ban and that a “wide-ranging reform” package would be implemented in response to the police investigation.
When asked if she would ban representatives of Qatar or other government officials implicated in the scandal from the European Parliament, she replied: “That is one of the questions I will put to the conference of presidents immediately.”