Metsola highlights transparency in move to publish gift lists, denies wrongdoing

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Updated 23/01/2023 – 1930 – EP reacts

In reaction to the DPA report below, the European Parliament has described Roberta Metsola’s move to publish a list of gifts and travels as unprecedented and a move to lead by example. Read the full reaction here.

Original story

(DPA) European Parliament President Roberta Metsola is facing questions over a gifted stay with her husband in a French luxury hotel that was not declared in full to her institution.

The costs for the overnight stay last October in the region of Bergundy were paid by a French wine fraternity, according to a report by Politico on Friday. Metsola’s spokesperson confirmed the information to dpa.

Metsola made the trip public last week, in the wake of the arrest in December by Belgian police of European Parliament vice president Eva Kaili who is being charged for corruption, money laundering and organized crime links.

However, Metsola did not disclose that she had been accompanied by her Finnish-born husband Ukko on the trip.

Under parliamentary rules, she should have reported the travel plans at the end of last November. According to Politico, Metsola, who comes from Malta, and her spouse were accommodated in the five-star Hôtel Le Cep in the town of Beaune, with a lavish five-course dinner included.

It was initially unclear whether Metsola would now face consequences. Theoretically, sanctions could be imposed, although there is no automatic mechanism and responsibility for handling the matter falls to the speaker of parliament.

Metsola also made 125 gifts public last week in violation of the rules. According to the list of the gifts, which included pictures, vases and books, most were passed to the parliamentary administration for safekeeping or stored in her office.

“The president receives gifts on behalf of the institution. She does not keep them,” her spokesperson said.

Besides Metsola, only a few other members of the parliament disclosed gifts in the relevant list since the beginning of 2020. Her predecessor David Sassoli did not make any travel or gifts public on the European Parliament website during his term.

DPA

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