Strasbourg, 12/12/2022 – The four Pirate Party Members of the European Parliament are appalled by the ongoing corruption affair around Vice-President Eva Kaili (S&D) and former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D) and urge to take appropriate action by setting up a parliamentary inquiry committee and modify internal rules. Full transparency when it comes to lobbying meetings and expenses with public money as well as zero tolerance of corruption are some of the European Pirates’ core values. The institutions of the European Union must live by the same rules to not further alienate themselves from EU citizens.
Marcel Kolaja, Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party, comments:
“We should now set up an inquiry committee in the European Parliament to examine why anti-corruption mechanisms have failed and to recommend their modification. Zero tolerance of corruption must be a given and, as a member of the Bureau of the European Parliament, I will be pushing for changes. Greater transparency and stricter rules on lobbying are the only way forward. My work has already made this institution more transparent and I will continue to persevere.
“For example, I am proposing that MEPs should not be allowed to work as lobbyists or set up consultancies during the transitional period after their mandate ends. This would prevent situations such as the one we have now, where one of the former MEPs, Mr Panzeri, who is involved in the corruption case, set up a consultancy agency immediately after his term of office ended. Allegedly, this was to serve as a platform for Qatar’s lobbying activities.”
Patrick Breyer, Member of the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party, comments:
“This corruption affair proves that internal anti-corruption and transparency mechanisms in the European Parliament must be completely overhauled. In addition, we must significantly improve the rules on the General Expenditure Allowances (GEA). But since there are no control mechanisms in effect, this system invites abuse and currently we cannot guarantee that the GEA is only spent for its legitimate purpose. Pirates lead by example and are completely transparent about its GEA spending. People deserve to know how their elected representatives spend taxpayers’ money.”
MEP Markéta Gregorová, Member of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference (ING2) and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), comments:
“A corruption scandal at such a high European level will undoubtedly trigger major changes in the anti-corruption safeguards of European legislation. As a member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) and the Special Committee on Foreign Interference (ING2), I will myself work to introduce stricter rules for dealing with third countries. On behalf of our group, we’ve discussed several ‘pirate’ anti-corruption proposals that could have prevented similar incidents for a while now – whether it is the inclusion of third countries in the lobby register, the establishment of an independent ethics commission or a complete ban on donations to political parties from third countries. I hope that, after this scandal, we will finally find more support for them. The priority is, of course, to set up a commission of inquiry focusing on third countries, which will coordinate directly with our Committee on Foreign Interference.”
Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party, comments:
“The ongoing corruption scandal is, above all, a tragic failure of the Commission to tackle corruption in the EU. President von der Leyen has identified the fight against corruption as one of her priorities. But, so far, the Commission has always been quick to brush aside our proposals to set up an Ethics Committee to scrutinise EU institutions. Now it is time to finally turn empty words into action and win back the trust of the people. Let us start, for example, by making it compulsory for all Commissioners, MEPs and institutional staff to list all their meetings with lobbyists and third parties in a transparent register.”
After several arrests were made in Brussels last Friday, Belgian prosecutors charged MEP Eva Kaili (S&D), one of 14 Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D) and two more people with corruption regarding suspected alleged lobbying by the State of Qatar on Sunday. The Belgian police raided at least 16 houses and offices and confiscated 600,000€ in cash. Over the past couple months, Kaili had been vocal in defending the poor human rights situation of FIFA World Cup host Qatar, that denies allegations of any wrongdoing in an issued statement. Meanwhile, Kaili has been suspended from her role as Vice-President by Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament.