Corruption in the family
Families can go wrong. And unless you’ve been under a rock these last weeks, you’ll know that a number of members of the Socialist family at the European Parliament went very wrong.
They allegedly took sack loads of Qatari cash on top of their already generous salaries and benefits. In return these Socialist members quashed their colleagues’ criticism of Qatar on issues like the deaths of migrant workers who built the stadiums for the football World Cup.
Belgian authorities have thrown a few of these MEPs in jail, under pre-trial detention. But we don’t really know how many more lawmakers might be under undue foreign influence.
In this episode, Lara Wolters, a Socialist member herself, gives a first-hand account of being obstructed and misled by two of the prime suspects in the scandal. She also shares her feelings of vindication now that the truth is coming out.
Yet she shows compassion, asking whether Belgian authorities are being overly harsh by keeping Eva Kaili, a young mother implicated in the corruption, behind bars.
Also in this episode, a lawmaker from outside the Socialist family: the co-president of the Left group Manon Aubry. Manon was convinced she saw the heavy hand of Qatar on lawmakers weeks before news about the scandal broke. So she blew the whistle on social media, where her video on the topic has racked up nearly 70,000 views. Manon has emerged as one of the most prominent critics of conservative MEPs, who she says foster a culture of opacity that helps breed corruption.