Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

EU clamps down on corruption in wake of Qatargate cash-for-influence scandal

EU clamps down on corruption in wake of Qatargate cash-for-influence scandal

The Commission called on member countries to strengthen transparency rules.
The European Union on Wednesday promoted new rules to clamp down on corruption across the bloc in the wake of the alleged cash-for-influence Qatargate scandal in the European Parliament.

The initiative, which will need to be signed off on by all 27 member countries plus the European Parliament, is an attempt to tighten rules in the wake of the scandal involving bags of cash and allegedly corrupt lawmakers, which has rocked the EU’s assembly.

But this proposal is not designed to specifically address corruption in EU institutions.

If approved, it would harmonize rules across EU nations, thus covering these institutions in a broad sense. Yet the specific effort to combat corruption in institutions would be done via an ethics body — a separate undertaking already under criticism that it may go too easy on potential wrongdoers.

Some of the provisions in the Commission’s anti-corruption plan, such as protections for whistleblowers, have been eagerly backed by the European Parliament when it comes to applying them to member countries — but have so far been rejected for the Parliament itself.

The Commission on Wednesday called on member countries to adopt common rules against corruption, improve cooperation for cross-border investigations and make it easier to capture criminals by setting up dedicated anti-corruption bodies in all EU countries.

The EU’s diplomatic arm, the European External Action Service, also proposed its own measures that aim to bolster the EU’s ability to sanction third countries over corruption problems.

In a nod to the Qatargate scandal, the Commission’s proposal states that “recent events have served as a reminder that the EU institutions are not immune to corruption.”

In order to clamp down on sleaze, the EU’s executive called on member states to add new criminal offenses to their rule books.

“Today, only bribery is criminalized at the EU level. But with this proposal … we will also cover misappropriation, trading in influence, abuse of function, obstruction of justice and illicit enrichment related to corruption,” said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson at a press conference.

The proposed rules automatically apply to EU institutions and staffers, according to the Commission’s Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, while public officials across the bloc will be subject to stricter anti-corruption laws.

“If a high [ranking] politician is found to be corrupted, that would be an aggravating circumstance because that hurts even more into the society,” said Johansson.

But the regulation does not envision special provisions for EU lawmakers, who are under heavy scrutiny since Qatargate broke.

The Commission said Wednesday that its long-stalled proposal for an overarching EU ethics body will be announced later this month amid mounting pressure on Brussels to show it’s taking integrity seriously as corruption allegations continue to swirl.

A proposal is in the works and will soon be debated by the highest-ranking officials of the EU’s top nine institutions, said Jourová.

She added: “This is not a trivial thing. We are going to establish a new body which will deal with highly sensitive matters, not individual cases.’’

The EU’s package is likely to stir controversy among member countries, which have wildly different attitudes toward corruption.

According to a 2022 Eurobarometer survey, 63 percent of citizens in EU countries consider corruption unacceptable.

But that number varies widely from country to country, from 78 percent who considered it unacceptable in Ireland versus just 34 percent in Latvia and 30 percent in the Czech Republic.

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, instead proposing its own six-week ceasefire plan contingent upon the release of all hostages held by Hamas
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
Saudi Arabia Introduces Terms for 30-Year Income Tax Exemption for Multinational Companies
Saudi FM: Establishing Palestinian state is only pathway for Mideast stability
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Elon Musk's Starlink Gets License For Israel, Parts Of Gaza
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
International Criminal Court's Chief "Deeply Concerned" By Rafah Bombing
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Indian female military officers commend Saudi Arabia's progress and women's empowerment
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Israel Utilizes AI Military Technology in Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
China Warns Iran to Halt Houthi Attacks or Damage Trade Ties
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Iran-backed hackers interrupt UAE TV streaming services with deepfake news
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: The Israelis underwent dehumanization on 7.10, this does not give them the right to do this to others.
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
UK Bans Misleading "Zero Emissions" Claims for Electric Cars
Gaza's Teen Inventor Sparks Light in Displacement
Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal, Insists On Total Victory Over Hamas
Guterres appoints independent UNRWA review panel
Private Sector Employment Hits Record High with Over 11 Million Employees in January
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
ZATCA Cautions Against Scammer Schemes
INTRA Defense Technologies inaugurates drone factory in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, has announced a partnership with the London Metal Exchange to set up metal storage and delivery centers in the country. Alkhorayef highlighted Saudi Arabia's expanding military industries sector, crediting the Public Investment Fund (PIF) as a key partner, during his speech at the second PIF Private Sector Forum in Riyadh