Thierry Mariani, a French far-right Member of the European Parliament who enjoys close links with Moscow, has been appointed to the governing board of an NGO in part funded by the EU and which supports democracy movements in countries neighbouring the bloc, notably countering Russian influence in those to the east. Ludovic Lamant reports on a controversy which again highlights the debate over just how far a strengthened European far-right should be allowed to join in the traditional political process in Brussels.
The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union this month was accompanied by the departure of the 73 British members of the European Parliament. The vacuum and partial redistribution of seats has caused a significant upset for the assembly’s Green members, who now find themselves overtaken in numbers by the far-right, reducing their budget and above all their clout in voting on legislation, notably regarding the raft of future policy measures for the Commission’s major “Green Deal” programme. Amid this collateral damage from Brexit, the Greens are urgently seeking new alliances, even eyeing a deal with Italy’s populist Five Star Movement. Ludovic Lamant reports from Brussels.
MEPs asked Sylvie Goulard, candidate for Internal Market portfolio, more questions about her personal integrity than her expertise for new post.
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.
French MEPs are in charge of just two of a total of 22 parliamentary committees and sub-committees, those that oversee fishing and the budget.
A hacker using elementary computer equipment and what he described as “a few bits of knowledge that everyone is capable of finding on the internet” has succeeded in accessing confidential emails and personal files of Members of the European Parliament, their assistants and even the institution’s IT experts, Mediapart can reveal. The operation was, he said, mounted as a demonstration of the vulnerability of security at both the parliament in Strasbourg and also among many national administrations which use software, notably that of Microsoft, that experts have for years warned is exposed to espionage manipulations through fundamental - and what some suggest are possibly deliberate - flaws. While the scandal of mass surveillance employed by the US National Security Agency continues to unfold, Jérôme Hourdeaux reports on how major public institutions like the European Parliament continue to expose themselves to almost mundane intrusion of confidential data.