Qatargate six months on: lots of talk, little action

Pia Engelbrecht-Bogdanov
6 June, 2023

Analysis by Transparency International EU (TI EU) shows almost none of the reforms promised in the wake of the most egregious corruption scandal to hit the European Parliament have been implemented. The full analysis is available as a PDF file here.

It has now been six months since the European Parliament was rocked by a corruption scandal that sent shockwaves across Europe. In its wake, Parliament was swift to call to action, with Parliament President Roberta Metsola promising a 14-point reform process that would overhaul Parliament’s ethics system. But six months on, next to none of these promised reforms have come close to implementation.

TI EU’s analysis finds

  • No progress has been made on mitigating potential MEP conflicts of interest
  • No progress has been made on regulating lobbying to the European Parliament
  • No progress has been made on protecting parliamentary staff whistleblowers
  • Insufficient progress has been made on regulating the revolving door between politics and lobbying
  • No reform impacts sitting MEPs

Michiel van Hulten, Director of TI EU, said “In December last year the Parliament promised root and branch reform to prevent a recurrence of Qatargate. Instead, we’ve seen nothing but dither and delay and attempts to blame others for what happened. Despite lots of talk about transparency, the so-called reform process is taking place in secret meetings behind closed doors. So far not a single decision has been taken to strengthen ethics and integrity rules in relation to sitting MEPs. The President should be leading this reform effort from the front, but she’s nowhere to be seen.”

TI EU will be hosting an online press conference alongside NGOs LobbyControl and Corporate Europe Observatory on the matter on 8 June 2023 at 10:30 CET. Shari Hinds, TI EU’s Policy Officer for EU Political Integrity, will be speaking.

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Michiel van Hulten

Director (currently on leave)