During the opening of the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, the president of the parliament Roberta Metsola commented on the case of suspected corruption by Qatar against various MEPs and other people working within it (we have told extensively here). Metsola said that the European Parliament “is under attack” and added that “there will be no impunity” against those responsible for the cases of suspected corruption on which the Belgian federal prosecutor is working.
At the beginning of his speech, Metsola said he had to “choose carefully” the words to use, considering that the investigations are still ongoing and that the presumption of innocence still remains, but he then added:
So, if my anger, my anger, my pain should not show through, I assure you that they are very present, together with my determination to ensure that this Assembly becomes stronger.
Do not misunderstand me.
– The European Parliament, dear colleagues, is under attack.
an democracy is under attack.
– And our way of being open, free and democratic societies is under attack.
I am in politics to fight corruption.
To stand up for Europe.
We will meet this test head on.
There will be no impunity.There will be no sweeping under the carpet.There will be no business as usual.@Europarl_EN stands against enemies of democracy wherever they come from. pic.twitter.com/60SW8TzV1K
— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) December 12, 2022
Metsola then explained that the European Parliament immediately collaborated with the prosecution and will continue to do so in the coming days, adding that:
There will be no impunity. None. Those responsible will find this Parliament on the side of the law. I am proud of our role and assistance in this investigation.
We will not sweep the dust under the rug. We will launch an internal investigation to examine all the facts relating to Parliament and to assess how our systems can become even more waterproof.
We will not continue as business as usual. We will launch a reform process to check who has access to our premises, how these organisations, NGOs and individuals are funded, what ties they have with third countries, we will ask for more transparency on meetings with foreign actors and who is related to them . We are going to shake up this Parliament and this city and to do that I need your help.
We will protect those who help us expose crime, and I will commit to examining our whistleblower systems to see how they can be strengthened.
But I also have to say that while we can always try to increase deterrence and transparency, there will always be people who are worth risking a bag of cash for. It is essential that these people understand that they will be discovered. That our services work and will address the law in its entirety. As happened in this case.