The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, has subsequently made several trips public. The 44-year-old politician from Malta had previously acted in a similar way in the case of gifts that were given to her as Speaker of Parliament.
The trips are specifically about five cases in which parts of the costs were also covered by third parties. Their spokesman told the German Press Agency that Metsola is trying to be as transparent as possible. The background is the corruption scandal surrounding the former Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili. The judiciary charges Kaili with involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption. Since the scandal broke in December, there has also been debate about how much information Members of Parliament should disclose.
According to Parliament’s internal rules, trips organized and then carried out by third parties should be reported by the last day of the following month at the latest. However, Green MEP Daniel Freund assumes that other members have failed to do so: “There are probably more trips by other MEPs who have been ‘forgotten’ because these rules have not been properly enforced in the past.” Freund praised the fact that Metsola has now published the trips. “It is good that Metsola is transparent about her sponsored trips. As President, she must lead by example,” he said. Other MEPs should now do the same.
Metsola explained that according to the documents, the State of Israel paid for two nights in a hotel. As the spokesman for the President emphasized, it is common for the host to make certain decisions, for example for security reasons. She reportedly made the trips public last week.
She also reported the gifts last week. Since the beginning of 2022, she has received about 140 gifts, including a scarf, books and wine. “The President accepts gifts on behalf of the institution. She does not keep them,” her spokesman said. The internal rules of Parliament stipulate that gifts – similar to trips – must be reported after receipt by the last day of the following month at the latest. Anyone who violates these rules does not have to be penalized. The Code of Conduct only stipulates that sanctions can be imposed in the event of violations.