Keyword: European Parliament

Far-right MEPs nominate Afrikaner militants for prestigious Sakharov Prize

By

Members of the European Parliament’s ENF group, a pan-European alliance of parliamentarians from far- and hard-right parties, and mostly made up of France’s Rassemblement National, have nominated a South African organisation championing the landowning interests of the country’s white Afrikaner farmers for the assembly’s prestigious yearly Sakharov Prize, Mediapart can reveal. The move follows increasing lobbying for the Afrikaner activists by far-right groups and commentators who claim the existence of a “white genocide” in South Africa. Mediapart Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.

The MEPs earning millions of euros from jobs on the side

By
European Parliament members attending a plenary session in Strasbourg in July 2018. © Vincent Kessler / Reuters. European Parliament members attending a plenary session in Strasbourg in July 2018. © Vincent Kessler / Reuters.

Almost a third of the 751 Members the European Parliament (MEPs) have earned a combined total of up to 41 million euros from outside activities over the four years since the current legislature was elected in 2014, according to a report published this week by anti-corruption organisation Transparency International. The numbers of MEPs remunerated for outside activities – which include working for private companies, lobbyists and investment funds – has risen dramatically since 2014, reveals the NGO which highlights a limp and ill-enforced code of ethics that allows numerous potential conflicts of interest among the lawmakers who are among the continent’s highest-paid elected representatives. Mediapart Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.

Juncker and MEPs face off in cronyism row over choice of Europe’s top civil servant

By
Martin Selmayr (right) with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the European parliament on March 13th. © Reuters/Vincent Kessler Martin Selmayr (right) with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the European parliament on March 13th. © Reuters/Vincent Kessler

The highly questionable circumstances of the appointment of German conservative Martin Selmayr as secretary-general of the European Commission, a move initiated by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for whom Selmayr until then served as chief of staff, has been met with outrage within the European Parliament, which on Wednesday adopted a motion describing the promotion as “coup-like” and “which possibly even overstretched the limits of the law”. But it pulled back from demanding Selmayr’s resignation, thereby avoiding a serious institutional crisis. Meanwhile, the commission, accused of blatant cronyism, has refused to compromise and insists Europe’s new top civil servant will remain in the post. Mediapart Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.    

 

Macron slams 'illiberal' slide of nationalism in EU countries

In a loudly applauded speech before the European Parliament on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned against the spread of nationalist politics among some EU member states, slamming 'a fascination with the illiberal' and insisting that democracy 'is a word with meaning, which emerged from the battles of the past'.

Front National and EU allies face €427,000 bill over 'non-compliant' expenses

By and
The Front National's Marine Le Pen and her European allies at Koblenz in Germany, January 21st, 2017. © Reuters The Front National's Marine Le Pen and her European allies at Koblenz in Germany, January 21st, 2017. © Reuters

The European Parliament is poised to launch proceedings to reclaim “non-compliant” expenses from the far-right parliamentary grouping that includes France's Front National, Mediapart has learnt. The total amount of the expenses involved, which include “unreasonable” claims of meals costing 400 euros a person, and the purchase of 228 bottles of champagne as gifts, comes to 427,000 euros. Ludovic Lamant and Marine Turchi report.

Macron to push for pan-EU parliament lists despite setback

French president's statement came after MEPs rejected a proposal for pan-EU lists of candidates for seats in the European Parliament.

Front National placed under investigation in EU 'fake jobs' case

France's far-right Front National party has been placed under investigation by Paris magistrates over suspicion it fraudulently placed France-based staff on the European Parliament payroll as assistants to its sitting MEPs. 

French prosecutors ask EU to lift Le Pen immunity

Prosecutors leading an investigation into far-right Front National party leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's involvement in a suspected 'fake jobs' scandal at the European Parliament have asked the institution to lift her parliamentary immunity from questioning and prosecution.

Le Pen refuses to be questioned over 'fake jobs' probe before elections

French far-right Front National party leader and presidential election frontrunner Marine Le Pen, implicated in an alleged scam to pay party workers with European Parliament funds, said she will not attend a French magistrate's summons for questioning over the affair before the end of the elections in May.

Net tightens around French far-right leader Le Pen in EU 'fake jobs' probe

The chief of staff and senior bodyguard of France's far-right Front National party leader and presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen were on Wednesday questioned in police custody as part of an investigation into alleged fraudulent payments made to them by Le Pen out of European Parliament funds dedicated to remunerating parliamentary assistants. Le Pen's chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was later placed under formal investigation. The case, which mirrors the scandal surrounding conservative presidential candidate François Fillon, now threatens to become more than a severe embarrassment to Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the election, whose campaign hinges on her image as an anti-establishment alternative to a corrupt political class.

European Greens name and shame the 'co-conspirators of tax dodging'

By

A report published this week by the Greens-EFA group in the European Parliament presented the conclusions of a study of tens of thousands of documents provided by the Offshore Leaks platform of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and which identified the principal intermediaries behind tax evasion. The report demonstrates that many of them are well-known names among banks and financial institutions, operating in countries across Europe as the vehicle for the transfer of huge sum to tax havens. Dan Israel reports.

EU claims 339,000 euros from Marine Le Pen over staff pay

By
Payback time for Marine Le Pen? © Reuters Payback time for Marine Le Pen? © Reuters

The European Union's anti-fraud office has called for France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen to pay back hundreds of thousands of euros in staff allowances. Officials say Le Pen, president of the Front National (FN), wrongly paid two of her staff out of EU funds in her capacity as a Member of the European parliament when in fact they were mostly engaged in internal party work. In a joint investigation with magazine Marianne, Mediapart can also reveal that French prosecution authorities have broadened their probe into the financing of around 20 FN assistants at the European Parliament. Marine Turchi reports.

Lifting the lid on the secret EU 'trialogues' where laws are decided behind closed doors

By
No final power: a sitting of the European Parliament in September.  © Vincent Kessler / Reuters. No final power: a sitting of the European Parliament in September. © Vincent Kessler / Reuters.

When the European Union finalises legislation adopted by its executive body, the European Commission, the definitive texts of the directives are thrashed out in secret, closed-door meetings known as “trialogues”, unknown to the general public, where no minutes are kept. The trialogues – sometimes called trilogues – bring together, and without democratic control, representatives from the EU’s three major institutions: the Commission, the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.

Police raid Front National HQ in European Parliament funds probe

The far-right party is suspected of using assistants paid salaries by the European Parliament for local party work in France.

Hollande and Merkel call for swift EU reform of asylum system

The French and German leaders, addressing the European Parliament, said current rules are obsolete and that a united EU stand must be adopted.