EU officials who met Qatari officials must be suspended from their duties as a precautionary measure

Brussels, 14 December 2022 – The evidence uncovered by Transparency International EU today suggests that Secretary General of the European Parliament Alessandro Chiocchetti met with the Qatari authorities on at least two occasions earlier this year. We also know that Eva Kaili broke from the Socialist group line to vote for his appointment in a sordid backroom deal between political groups concluded over the summer. 

Transparency International EU wrote to the Parliament’s ruling body, the Bureau, on two occasions this year: first to ask them not to go ahead with the appointment, and then, together with The Good Lobby, to ask them to rescind it. The response was a dismissive letter from President Metsola, painting Mr. Chiocchetti as the victim of a witch-hunt.

In the light of the current corruption scandal, the information identified today means that the appointment must be reversed immediately, as a precautionary measure, and as previously called for by Transparency International EU and The Good Lobby, and, as part of their ongoing investigation, the authorities must consider whether there has been foul play in the Bureau’s decision.

Any official meeting of a public official with a government that is allegedly engaged in bribery and corruption of public officials is by definition suspect. 

Reacting to the revelations, Professor Alberto Alemanno, founder of The Good Lobby, said: “Far from being illegal, Chiocchetti’s numerous meetings with Qatari representatives raise urgent questions about the nature and scale of the ongoing Qatargate scandal. These meetings show the special relationship the Gulf country successfully established with the whole EU Parliament’s apparatus at the time Mr. Chiocchetti was President Metsola’s chief of staff before becoming Secretary General of that institution.”

 

Real reform needed

Here are four reforms The Good Lobby put forward to safeguard against corruption (further information is available in our earlier press release):

  1. EU institutions should establish a common, independent ethics authority, endowed with sufficient resources, investigation and sanction capacities. 
  2. Rules in force on transparency, conflicts of interest and revolving doors in the European institutions (in particular the codes of conduct of the institutions) must be strengthened by imposing reporting obligations for all members of the Parliament. 
  3. Lobbying from third countries — be it by embassies or third parties — must also be published in the EU Transparency Register. 
  4. The EU Transparency Register must become mandatory through the adoption of a legislative act — as opposed to a mere inter-institutional agreement — and be strengthened by additional resources. 

 

For media enquiries please contact: Richard Delahay ([email protected]

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