Lifting immunity for cash-for-influence MEPs: politics must play its part
We welcome today’s European Parliament vote to waive immunity for two MEPs, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino.
The plenary decision backs the Legal Affairs committee who called unanimously to lift the immunity of Tarabella (Belgium) and Cozzolino (Italy), following the request of the Belgian authorities in relation to Qatargate.
Manon Aubry, co-president of the Left in the European Parliament, was in charge of preparing the formal proposals to lift their immunity. The report mentions that the Belgian prosecutors suspect Cozzolino of being part of a deal that involved “preventing the adoption of parliamentary resolutions that could harm the interests of these states, in exchange for sums of money”. In Tarabella’s case, there are suspicions of “having taken certain positions in the European Parliament in favour of a third country in exchange for cash.”
However, while the legal investigation follows its course, the European Parliament still shows resistance in cleaning up its mess in one of the biggest corruption scandals ever to shake the EU institutions. We need to prevent corruption in the first place and put an end to the culture of impunity that allows these murky practices to flourish.
Despite the magnitude of the scandal, the measures proposed by the Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola are only a drop in the ocean. They do not respond to MEP demands in a resolution adopted on 15 December 2022. Strengthening transparency measures, introducing a mandatory declaration of assets by Members at the beginning and end of each mandate to detect suspicious enrichment, suspension of the badges of the Qatari representatives in the European Parliament, a vice president in charge of fighting corruption are just some of the measures not taken forward.
Manon Aubry MEP (La France Insoumise), reacts to the vote:
“The European Parliament has swiftly lifted the immunities of MEPs Tarabella and Cozzolino, in line with my recommendation as rapporteur. With this investigation, justice is doing its part. But politics isn’t. The President of Parliament and the main groups have betrayed the promise of ambitious reforms made in the resolution adopted in December and the “14-point action plan” presented instead by Roberta Metsola is a sham.”
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- La France Insoumise