Allegations of Kremlin-backed Network in European Parliament

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Speaking in Strasbourg ahead of the final plenary of the mandate, President Roberta Metsola addressed the allegations of members of the European Parliament receiving cash from a Kremlin-backed network to spread Russian propaganda in Europe. Authorities in Belgium, the official seat of the European Parliament, have opened a judicial investigation into the claims after Czech authorities first foiled a suspected propaganda operation in March.

Response and Reforms by President Metsola

Response and Reforms by President Metsola

Metsola explained that the investigations require the national authorities’ cooperation and waiver of immunity to be adopted by the European Parliament. The concerns arise just before the EU elections where there are fears of information manipulation to influence the democratic process. Metsola, a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), is running for re-election in Malta to retain her seat amidst the ongoing Russiagate scandal.

In response to previous scandals, including Qatargate, Metsola has spearheaded ethics reforms in the parliament to close loopholes and crack down on undue interests. Stricter rules have been put in place for accepting gifts, paid trips by third countries, side-jobs, and a cooling-off period after leaving office. An agreement to establish an ethics body enforcing these rules will be voted on in the plenary session.

President Metsola has emphasized the importance of maintaining the parliament’s reputation and ensuring that the actions of a few do not tarnish the institution. She highlighted the necessity of setting up firewalls and sounding alarm bells to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.

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