Smug, supercilious European Parliament embroiled in a major corruption scandal

Observers are calling it the gravest corruption scandal to hit the European Union.

The Belgian federal police carried out 16 raids and charged four people in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged bribes to members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Qatar government.

The raids resulted in the seizure of cash worth $1.6 million.  Digital devices were also confiscated.

The four suspects have not been publicly named, but Greek MEP of eight years and European Parliament vice president Eva Kaili, who was among those previously arrestedis among those charged.

The Daily Mail reported that Kaili's father was apprehended with a briefcase with $7 million in cash.  This overruled Eva's diplomatic immunity, causing her home to be raided.

Kaili was suspended from her duties as one of 14 vice presidents and the parliament's Socialists and Democrats Group.  Greek prosecutors froze all of Kaili's assets. 

She was also expelled from the Greek Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.  Yes, she is a socialist.

Eva Kaili.  Image by euranet_plus, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kaili also didn't appear at a scheduled hearing on Wednesday and was remanded in custody until she appears before a court on December 22.

Kaili's responsibilities as a vice president included heading DARP (Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula).  She frequently traveled to Qatar, holding meetings with top officials.

She is a staunch defender of and advocate for Qatar.

When Qatar faced criticism following the deaths of more than 6,500 migrant workers during the run-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, Kaili defended the country in a speech to the European Parliament. 

Kaili said that "the World Cup in Qatar is proof, actually, of how sports diplomacy can achieve a historical transformation of a country, with reforms that inspired the Arab world."

Kaili called the country a "frontrunner in labor rights" for abolishing kafala, a legal framework used in several Gulf states that is compared to slavery.

The socialist had no compassion for the exploited workers who perished.

Kaili even accused her fellow MEPs of bullying and discriminating against Qatar.

Kaili denied any wrongdoing in the scandal, and so has the Qatar government.

Francesco Giorgi, Kaili's partner, confessed before a Brussels magistrate to accepting a bribe, but HE said that Kaili wasn't involved.  Giorgi also claimed that the cash he received had nothing to do with Kaili.

This was backed up by Kaili's lawyer, obviously, who said, "The money that was found in her house did not belong to her, Giorgi is the only one who can provide answers about its existence." 

It seems too convenient and doesn't explain what Eva's father was doing with a suitcase full of cash, too.

Perhaps Giorgi has been asked to be the fall guy to save the bigger names?

The European Parliament voted to suspend work on all files involving Qatar and called for security passes for representatives of the Gulf country's interests to be withdrawn.

The allegations have cast a shadow over the role of lobby groups at the European Parliament.

If Qatar could buy the right to host the World Cup by allegedly bribing an MEP, what else can it buy?

Qatar is a key energy supplier to Europe.  Perhaps that, too, has been enabled by buying favors? 

Perhaps other nations are doing this, too.

It isn't beyond the realm of probability that there are many others still concealed under the carpet because those accepting the bribes did it in such a manner that it was legally permissible.

The European Parliament is notoriously opaque with funds.  There is no obligation of transparency from MEPs, which makes the system open to abuse.

For instance, the MEPs are allowed a monthly "general official expenditure allowance" of $4,897.  However, MEPs don't have to submit receipts when claiming these expenses.

The opacity with funding is only part of the problem.  There is also the issue of lobbyists.

Around 12,000 lobbying groups acting on behalf of countries, corporate houses, trade unions, religious organizations, and academic institutions are registered by the E.U. Commission. 

However, third countries, countries outside the E.U. defending their interests before the E.U. Parliament, are often exempted from these rules.

The rule states that MEPs are not allowed to enter into dealings with states that don't appear on the register.  However, when a state representative and MEP meet during diplomatic visits, no declaration is necessary, because they are not lobbyists as such per the E.U.'s definition.

For instance, a third country's representatives must register if they have come to Brussels to talk to an MEP to advocate for their country's interests in relation to that dossier.  However, if the same MEP meets with a public figure while on an official visit to a third country, neither of them is required to sign any transparency register.

It could be much worse than just awarding rights for a soccer competition.  They could actually pass laws that hurt the interests of regular people.

For instance, an online e-commerce giant could lobby MEPs to promote its firm.  The MEPs can pass stringent environmental laws that make it impossible for smaller businesses to survive and lead to a monopoly of the e-commerce giant.

There could be scenarios where MEPs from a large group of countries build a coalition and pass laws that affect countries despite their MEPs not voting for these laws.

The E.U. parliament also encourages international coalitions; Socialist Democrats from various countries are part of such coalitions.  The result is that national interests take the backseat.

This is anti-democratic, yet this is the system followed in the E.U.  This shows how unpopular policies are passed.

It also displays the blatant hypocrisy of E.U. officials.

They claim to be advocates climate change, LGBT rights, minority rights, and so much more.  But they readily do business with countries that have no respect for these issues, because they gain pecuniarily.

Back to the scandal.

It is probably the result of decades of systemic corruption that emboldened certain officials to opt for cash as a means of a bribe.  Perhaps they were confident of not being caught.  Perhaps they were certain they could hide behind their diplomatic immunity.  Perhaps the MEPs were caught because certain officials did not receive their share.

What it shows is that there is no need for a continental parliament. 

Each country has its own system of governance enough that the people vote for it.  All exchanges can happen among countries.

But the European Parliament is an excuse for the "elite" to expand their power and almost operate like super-governments.  The opacity means that the public is unaware of the activities occurring behind closed doors.

This is exactly what they want to achieve globally, which is why everyone should be concerned.

They want to regulate the lives of a rancher in Texas, a restaurateur in Goa, an accountant in London, and a shopkeeper in Durban, seizing also their rights to fight back.

It was this over-regulation and domination that led to Brexit.

This cabal despised President Donald Trump because he challenged them and refused to blindly follow "tradition" and adopt their agenda.  When French president Emmanuel Macron said Biden is "part of the club" at the G7 last year, it was this arrangement he was referring to.  

Can this club ever be dismantled?

Image: Twitter screen shot.

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