The president of the Eurochamber, Roberta Metsola, has ordered the “urgent” opening of a procedure to suspend the immunity of two MEPs, at the request of the Belgian judicial authorities, and has warned that “there will be no impunity”. The procedure falls under bribery scheme linked to Qatar and Morocco that came to light last December.
Metsola stressed that “from the first moment” when the scandal broke out, which already cost a Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kailithe institution “has done everything possible to assist in the investigations.”
The official note does not name those affected, but sources cited by the Belgian newspaper le soir point to italian Andrea Cozzolino and to the Belgian Marc Tarabella, both Social Democrats, and linked to the alleged corruption scheme that also led to Kaili’s arrest. “Those responsible will find this Parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot be allowed and we will do everything possible to combat it,” the Maltese politician stressed in a statement.
For this case, Metsola has also committed to reform the functioning of the Eurochamber to avoid scandals like the one that occurred recently, including a review of the current rules and the improvement of internal systems, also in the application of the rules.
The president plans to request the waiver of immunity on the first available date, next January 16. Next, the request falls on the Legal Affairs Committee, which will study and vote on a report, and its recommendations will then go to the plenary session of the European Parliament, which must approve or reject the request initially raised by Metsola. The president has asked all the services and commissions give priority to this procedure with a view to its conclusion before February 13, 2023.
Marc Tarabella MEP, whose address was searched but who is not charged, has been suspended in his party in Belgium, while the Italian socialist Andrea Cozzolino was expelled of the social democratic group in the European Parliament. They both claim their innocence.and Cozzolino have made it public that he is willing to waive his parliamentary immunity.
So far there is four defendants in it catargate following in pretrial detention. They are Kaili, her partner and parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi, the general secretary of the NGO No Peace Without Justice, Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, and the former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri.
The latter, a Social Democratic politician of the Democratic Party and currently at the head of the NGO Fight Impunity (Fight against impunity), is considered the alleged ringleader of the corrupt plot.