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EU Parliament President: Metsola reports 125 gifts and five trips

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In view of the corruption scandal in the EU Parliament, Parliament President Metsola is trying to be transparent. Contrary to tradition, she does not only report gifts and trips at the end of her mandate.

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EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola has received around 140 gifts since the beginning of last year. The top politician disclosed the information on the website of the European Parliament. 125 of the 140 gifts should have been declared earlier according to internal parliamentary rules. “The President accepts gifts on behalf of the institution. She does not keep them,” said a spokesman for Metsola when asked by the German Press Agency. According to the information, the gifts include a scarf, books and wine.

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Metsola also subsequently made several trips public. Specifically, there are five cases in which parts of the costs were also assumed by third parties. A spokesman for the President of the Parliament emphasized in an interview with the German Press Agency that Metsola is trying to be as transparent as possible. In the wake of the EU corruption scandal, there is also debate about how much information Members of Parliament should disclose.

Violations of the rules will not be punished

According to internal rules of Parliament, trips organized and then carried out by third parties should be reported by the last day of the following month at the latest. Anyone who violates these rules does not have to be penalized. The Code of Conduct only stipulates that sanctions can be imposed in the event of violations.

Metsola actually only wanted to disclose the gifts at the end of the mandate, as had been done by other presidents, said her spokesman. “Now we’re trying to be as transparent as possible.”

According to the information, the gifts were reported a week ago. In addition to Metsola, only a handful of MPs have disclosed gifts in the relevant list since the beginning of 2020, including many Germans. Among them are the Green politician Hannah Neumann, Nicola Beer (FDP) as well as David McAllister and Daniel Caspary (both CDU).

MEP speaks of “illegal tradition”

German MEP Daniel Freund praised the actions of the President of Parliament. “Metsola is breaking with the rule-breaking tradition of former parliamentary speakers of simply not declaring gifts. This transparency in dealing with gifts is correct,” said the Green politician. The time delay is a blemish.

Freund also assumes that other members also failed to report trips: “There are probably more trips by other MPs who have been ‘forgotten’ because these rules have not been properly enforced in the past.”

The EU Parliament has been rocked by a corruption scandal since December. The judiciary charged, among other things, with the then Vice-President of Parliament Eva Kaili of participation in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

Source: Stern

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