Roberta Metsola initiates urgent procedure to lift the immunity of two MEPs

BrusselsMorning
Roberta Metsola

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola has initiated an urgent procedure to lift the immunity of two members of the European Parliament, at the request of the Belgian judicial authorities, who are investigating the  Qatargate and Moroccogate scandal .

The first procedural steps have been taken and the president of the EP will announce the request to the Plenary at the first possible opportunity, on January 16 . The request will then be referred to the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) for a proposed decision.

“From the outset the European Parliament has done everything in its power to assist in the investigations and we will continue to ensure that there is no impunity. Those responsible will find this parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot be rewarded and we will do everything to fight it,” noted Roberta Metzola.

The head of the European Parliament will also outline her intentions for reforms in the coming weeks, including revising existing rules and improving internal systems, including enforcement.

Waiver of Immunity Procedure

As stated in the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (Article 6 and Article 9), requests to waive immunity are announced by the president to the Plenary and then referred to the competent Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI).

JURI appoints a rapporteur, cases are presented at a committee meeting, where a hearing may take place.

The draft report will be discussed and voted on in JURI. The committee approves the recommendation to the full Parliament to approve or reject the request. All immunity cases are considered in camera.

The proposal is then submitted to the Plenary. If approved by the Plenary (simple majority), the Speaker will immediately notify the Parliament’s decision to the member(s) concerned and the relevant national authority.

Roberta Metsola asked all agencies and committees to prioritize this process, with the aim of completing it by February 13, 2023.

Who are the two MEPs?

According to a New Year’s article of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, these are MEPs  Mark Tarabella , “who belonged, in a direct way, to the Pantseri network”, as he notes, and Andrea Coccolino. At the moment, as far as the Belgian MEP Maria Arena is concerned, the investigations do not seem to be moving into a new phase, with a request to lift her immunity.

The Italian newspaper adds that the Belgian secret services believe that “at least one Italian MEP, Andrea Coccolino, allegedly intervened inside the European Parliament to promote Moroccan interests.”

It is recalled that Francesco Giorgi was Coccolino’s assistant. The latter, however, in his statements, has emphasized that “he never took a single euro to act in a way that contradicts his obligations”.

According to La Repubblica, however, Giorgi reportedly testified that he “assumes” that Panzeri may have given money to Coccolino.

Agencies

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