EU corruption scandal is ‘not a party political issue’

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Eurocrats have shown little appetite for grasping the nettle when it comes to corruption because they are “all on the gravy train”, a Brexiteer and former MEP has claimed.

Ben Habib, who served in Brussels as one of 29 Brexit Party MEPs in 2019, was speaking after Manfred Weber, leader of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), insisted the scandal – which has seen the arrest of several elected officials, including Greece’s Eva Kaili – was “not a party political issue”.

Germany’s Mr Weber, who lost out to compatriot Ursula von der Leyen three years ago in the race to replace European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed fears of future risks involving bribes.

Mr Habib told the Express he was disappointed that MEPs and the EU had deemed it not to be a party political issue.

He said: “There has been very little pushback or reforms suggested to curb bribery in the Parliament. Why? Because reform would mean an end to the unhealthy cosy relationship that exists between lobbyists and lawmakers.”

The European Parliament drafted and negotiated laws in private, away from the actual chamber, Mr Habib pointed out.

He continued: ”Voting by MEPs is largely a rubber-stamping exercise.”

People who, like him, had campaigned to take Britain out of the bloc had long regarded the EU as “an anti-democratic institution” which “seeks to empower itself at the expense of its member states”, Mr Habib declared.

He said: “Its fig leaf for democracy is the European Parliament and it keeps its MEPs in line and uncritical by endowing them with overly generous pay and benefits.”

And Mr Habib fears corruption will never end in the European Parliament following on from the scandal.

Mr Weber said the cash-for-influence affair has caused “huge damage for the reputation of this house.” He insisted, however, that “this scandal is not a party political issue.”

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