Roberta Metsola to propose temporary lobbying ban for ex-MEPs - reports

Reports suggest that European parliament President Roberta Metsola will put forward 14 proposals to tighten lobbying and transparency rules after the Qatargate scandal

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

Roberta Metsola is expected to propose a temporary lobbying ban for ex-MEPs in a package she will present to presidents of the political groupings this week.

Brussels-based Politico reports that the European Parliament president will present 14 proposals to revamp the institution’s lobbying and transparency rules in the wake of the Qatargate corruption scandal.

Former MEPs will be banned from lobbying for two years after leaving parliament.

The proposals seen by the news portal also make it incumbent on anyone entering the parliament’s seats in Brussels and Strasbourg to declare who they are meeting with. Metsola will be suggesting that MEPs’ unofficial friendship groups with non-EU countries be banned and MEPs’ will have to provide data about their other sources of income.

Last month, the European parliament was rocked when Belgian authorities arrested MEP Eva Kaili, her partner, and a former MEP as part of a corruption investigation. They were accused of accepting bribes in exchange for favours from Qatar and Morocco.

Since then, the probe has widened to other MEPs and parliamentary assistants.

Kaili was immediately removed from her role as vice president of the European parliament and steps were taken to strip her from immunity. The parliament is expected to decide on similar action against two more MEPs over the coming weeks.

Metsola’s plan describes the measures as “first steps” and could be implemented in a matter of months. However, the measures are likely to leave transparency groups pushing for more.

Politico says Metsola will present the proposals on Thursday in a closed-door meeting with the heads of the parliament’s nine political groups, known officially as the Conference of Presidents.

The thornier proposals, particularly those related to MEPs’ financial declarations will require political consent and votes.