The European Parliament voted in Brussels on Thursday to lift the immunity of Belgian and Italian MPs Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino, who could not have been interrogated before. Both are suspected of being involved in a corruption scandal known as Cathargate. The procedure was expedited and the vote secret, but the legislators wanted to show their willingness to cooperate with the Belgian authorities and raised their hands.
Tarabella was in the room and voted to lift his own immunity. This was his way of pleading not guilty:
“I came specifically to vote for the lifting of my parliamentary immunity,” Tarabella said. “From the very beginning, I asked for this, because it will allow me to testify by investigators who want to ask me questions and get information. Now they will be able to interrogate me, what I hope will let justice do its job.”
Andrea Cozzolino did not show up for the vote. Both he and Tarabella are now waiting for the next steps from the Belgian authorities. Other defendants in the parliamentary scandal are in custody and are cooperating with the investigation, including former vice speaker Eva Kylie. The case is coming to an end. But the speaker on lifting immunity does not believe that corruption is over:
“Parliament is very, very, very far from saying goodbye to this corruption scandal,” said Manon Aubry. “The judiciary is doing its job, but the politicians are not doing their job properly. We should not be content with what has surfaced. The question is how to end the culture of non-transparency and impunity in the European Parliament.”
In the meantime, the supreme legislative body of the European Union is trying to tighten the rules of lobbying within its walls by third countries that seek political decisions there in their favor.
Source: Euro News