Latest EU Graft Scandal Nets Greek Hottie and Points the Finger at Qatar

It’s probably far-fetched and overzealous to think about doing away with the EU altogether. But ditching the parliament might be a good idea.

It’s probably far-fetched and overzealous to think about doing away with the EU altogether. But ditching the parliament might be a good idea.

Here we go again. Another graft scandal in Brussels. Another EU boss caught with her fingers in the till. And the usual lame copy from euro hacks based in the Belgian capital, some of whom even believe they are journalists. But the arrest of a Greek socialist MEP, suspected of fraud, breaks a few records even for the most ineffective assembly in the world.

The latest corruption revelation involved Eva Kaili, a 44-year-old Greek former TV news anchor, who was suspended by her party in Greece and the EU assembly’s Socialists and Democrats pan-European group after Belgian police staged 16 raids across Brussels as part of a probe into corruption and money laundering at the parliament.

Four people were detained for questioning, and investigators recovered around €600,000 in cash and seized computer equipment and mobile telephones. Prosecutors did not identify the four but at least one was a present MEP and a former.

The arrest of the rather dashing Kaili though should raise a few eyebrows, even among diehard Europhiles as it breaks a number of precedents for bent MEPs, right off the bat. Traditionally the graft of MEPs has at best been expense fiddling and at worse paying relatives for ghost jobs. And the percentage of this was always quite high as the EU was always reluctant to probe its MEPs not wanting the bad press for the project. The exception to this rule was always far-right MEPs who were always investigated – and the timing of such investigations was always designed to damage them politically as it was always days before elections which they were running in, such as the example of Marin Le Pen earlier this year when she stood as a presidential candidate.

Investigations into corruption are always politically motivated in Brussels.

Almost certainly Kaili’s arrest was down to a tip off from conservative/Christian democrats in the European parliament who had got wind of what she was up to.

But taking money from (probably) Qatar to influence voting in the chamber takes graft in Brussels to a whole new level. And it was only a matter of time before it was going to happen.

To really get a grasp of how the European Parliament works, one has to understand the gargantuan power of the lobby, its unlimited funds and who or what the European Parliament serves.

The greatest misconception about the European parliament is that it is ideologically tuned to serve the greater interests of the EU hierarchy and preserve the identity and public image of the EU to no end. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most MEPs, certainly those who have served one term, know only too well that they are there only as a theatrical prop to promote the EU as a body which is fundamentally democratic. The truth though is that the EU is fundamentally non-democratic, hence the need for these has-beens and no hopers in the first place who didn’t make the grade in their own countries’ political rat race.

The real master they serve isn’t even European.

It is multinational corporations as they are the only group which has the money to bankroll the lion’s share of activity. And it is activity which is part of the theatre which justifies the billions wasted by having two European parliaments in the first place, not to mention the carbon footprint.

The corruption at the heart of the EU is this relationship between the European parliament and big industry, which, in most cases is not even European, but usually American or Chinese. The really dirty game is simply this: both multinationals and the EU as a whole have a dirty agenda to help one another. The way this is done is through allowing the lobby groups who represent them to write draft legislation and amendments for the tome of legislation which goes through the EU parliament, firstly at committee level and then in plenary. The EU Commission proposes way too much draft legislation (rather than enforcing what already exists) which keeps them busy and makes the Commission look important and relevant; the huge multinationals love them for this as it is these new rules being updated all the time which allows giant corporations to manipulate how directives will be changed and allows them to always retain their market share as the process makes it harder and harder for medium-sized companies to stay in the market; and the MEPs themselves love the corporations as without all that activity the parliament’s huge buildings would look like wartime libraries without a soul in them.

But they also love them for another reason. And this is where Eva Kaili enters the picture. Powerful lobby groups and their activities have attracted such organisations like the Qataris who have suitcases of cash to throw at anyone in Brussels who will make amendments to draft legislation. For most lobby groups, the hardest part of their work is not finding a bent MEP. It is finding a way to give them the suitcase of cash without any fear of the transaction being, one day, public knowledge.

The Qataris are not bothered by such fatuous trivialities it would seem and simply send around the suitcase to the MEPs Brussels flat. The most extraordinary part of this story though is not the bribery in exchange for manipulating the legislative process. It is the pathetic amounts of money involved. Kaili and three other MEPs are so stupid that they kept the cash in their own apartments. And such a tiny amount. 600,000 euros only! For the Qataris, this is like buying them lunch and getting the keys to the gardens of Babylon with 60 virgins thrown in as a cherry on the top. Just 600,000 euros and these filthy, revolting people will re-write legislation so as to favour investments the Qataris are involved in and all for the price of a few rounds of lager and a couple packets of crisps thrown in.

Typically, this story is not big news, as, say compared to right-wing MEPs apparently fiddling their expenses. Why? Because the Brussels-based pack of “accredited” journalists don’t want it to shake the establishment ahead of EU elections in just two years’ time, as many of them are also part of the gravy train otherwise simply known as “Brussels”. They are not taking cash in envelops, but they are being rewarded by the whole circus which is entirely consensus driven and corrupt to the core. The European Parliament has always been a waste of time, energy and money and this recent scandal only goes to show that what the Vice President was doing must have been going on for quite some time and known by a lot of people. It’s high time this sham parliament was disbanded, if only for the sake of preserving what is left of the EU’s credibility among those who actually go and vote for their MEPs once every five years.

By Martin Jay
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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