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European Parliament to ban all unofficial ‘friendship groups’

European Parliament's president Roberta Metsola on Thursday (15 December) promised to unveil "wide-ranging reform package" in January 2023 after the assembly's worst corruption scandal in decades.

Metsola plans strengthening whistleblower protection, a ban on all unofficial parliamentary friendship groups (groups of MEPs discussing relations with non-EU countries), a review of enforcement of code of conduct rules for MEPs, and new rules on how to interact with officials from non-EU countries.

"There will be no impunity, no sweeping under the carpet, and no business as usual," Metsola told reporters after the parliament president's traditional meeting with EU leaders at the start of each European Council.

Last week, Belgian police have charged four people, including Greek Socialist MEP and the vice-president of European Parliament Eva Kaili, after raids at politicians’ homes uncovered about €1.5 million in cash, allegedly part of a bribery campaign by Doha, Qatar.

Roberta Metsola
Photo: Council of the EU

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