In an unique interview with EURACTIV’s media accomplice EFE, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola mirrored on her first 12 months on the helm, and the way forward for the Parliament post-Qatargate.
Over the previous 12 months, the bloc confronted a number of crises, together with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an inflation crunch and a corruption scandal that has shaken the European Parliament to the core.
Chatting with EFE, Metsola vowed to make use of the Parliament’s response to the so-called ‘Qatargate’ scandal to make the establishment “extra seen, more practical, extra clear, extra fashionable and extra open”.
The scandal has already led to a number of arrests, together with the now former Parliament vice-president Eva Kaili, over allegations that MEPs and officers obtained cash from Qatar and Morocco in return for political affect and help.
Did you ever assume earlier than you bought the submit that you’d run into such a problem as ‘Qatargate’?
I feel you by no means anticipate what you will cope with in a brand new submit that has duties corresponding to managing a Parliament of 704 colleagues. No person may have ready us for struggle, but additionally for thus many packages of sanctions, the admission of Moldova and Ukraine as candidate nations, an vitality disaster after which a scandal that has concerned the European Parliament with corruption allegations.
[There are] so many challenges that we’re addressing daily and I’m glad to proceed to have the help of all of the colleagues in pushing by way of not solely how we tackle the challenges, not solely how we work on laws that’s necessary within the subsequent few months on migration, on the Inexperienced Deal, on continued digital laws, but additionally with a view to have interaction in what I stated once I was elected: the reform of this establishment to make it extra seen, more practical, extra clear, extra fashionable and extra open.
You may have pledged to launch a evaluation of points, journeys and laws which will have been influenced by the latest corruption case. What’s going to this contain?
For the time being what we’re taking are precautionary measures within the context of ongoing enforcement and judicial proceedings. We’ve cooperated for the reason that first day with the authorities on any request that they’ve made to us and we’re complying daily.
So with out speculating on completely different nations, however understanding that loads is being stated within the media, loads is being stated in varied circles, this Parliament is underneath an obligation to take precautionary measures, as now we have. However I’m additionally in dialogue with different establishments, conserving in thoughts all safety measures, all political incidents, and so forth.
What measures have been taken?
So in the meanwhile, now we have regarded, for instance, in any respect proposed visits and delegations and even committees that have been planning to go to particular nations, on this case, Qatar but additionally Morocco, excluding interparliamentary boards or authorities which might be positioned in these nations.
However committees themselves have additionally stated […] we have to make it possible for a while is given to see how the judicial and investigative proceedings go forward earlier than we take the selections.
A Spanish MEP was just lately sanctioned for harassing three assistants. What programs will the Parliament put in place to guard susceptible staff and facilitate workers members to report instances of harassment and corruption?
I’ve mandated the bureau and particularly the quaestors [MEPs who handle administrative issues] to provide you with particular measures with a view to tackle extra systematic instances of harassment within the office, and the way you go about reporting such incidents. Some members, corresponding to myself, have undergone coaching, which this Parliament and the plenary have stated ought to be necessary.
Trying on the risk to interact counsellors, mediators, psychological coaching, and psychiatric assist throughout the medical service, all kinds of proposals are on the desk to make it possible for everytime you need, otherwise you really feel the necessity to switch data in a confidential, safe method, the procedures are as tight and as safe as potential.
Spain is getting ready to imagine the presidency of the Council of the EU within the second half of 2023. How do you see this stage for the nation?
Spain has continued to indicate all through the a long time that it’s a main nation of the EU, each in its relations contained in the union, with our Mediterranean companions, and with our Latin American companions, so it’s a presidency that I very a lot sit up for partaking with.
In actual fact, in June there will probably be a go to of all of the group leaders which I’ll lead, the place we’ll have interaction with all of the ministers of the federal government to see how one can take ahead what may even be an important legislative interval of this mandate.
Why? As a result of let’s say twelve to 6 months earlier than the European elections we will probably be closing up crucial information, whether or not it’s to do with migration, with the surroundings, with industrial assist, how one can proceed to handle the vitality disaster, all legislative devices which might be on the desk and that must be concluded through the Spanish presidency.
Are you planning on operating for European parliamentary elections once more?
Being president of the Parliament is an honour and a privilege and the accountability of a lifetime. And I’ll work each day for the remainder of my mandate with a view to make it possible for as many individuals as potential vote if we are able to proceed the rising development of participation in European elections. That’s my essential aim in each single member state.
In my very own member state, I’ll run for my seat as I did prior to now 4 elections to the European Parliament. That may be my focus, and my challenges preserve me right here fairly busy.