President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.
The high-profile scandal in the European Union, called “Qatar Gate”, has not yet faded. We recall that several high-ranking European politicians, including the Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kylie, helped Qatar to obtain the right to host the World Cup in exchange for bribes, which included, among other things, free accommodation in five star hotels. . One of the strongest accusers of this story was the president of the European Parliament, Robert Metsola. However, now the European press writes that she, too, has a “stigma in the barrel.”
According to Politico, Metsola missed the deadline by which she was supposed to report her trip at someone else’s expense, which included a sumptuous dinner and a hotel room that cost 350 euros for her and her husband.
This past October, Metsola traveled to the famed French wine region of Burgundy to assume the honorary position of “lady” of the wine confraternity under the unpronounceable name “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.” In her noble company, she ate a five-course dinner in a restaurant located in a real medieval castle. The Brotherhood paid for Metsola’s accommodation at the five-star Hotel Le Cep in a room, the cost of which was 349 euros a night plus tax.
According to the rules of the European Parliament, parliamentarians must publicly declare by the end of next month any travel and other expenses paid by third parties. Metsola did exactly that, and on January 11, 2023, a travel announcement appeared on the Parliament website. But the visit to Burgundy took place much earlier – on October 22, that is, the deadline for announcing the trip had already been missed.
Asked if she violated the rules that all MEPs must obey, Metsola replied rather kindly: “As Speaker of Parliament, no. But if you ask me if I will continue to announce where and why I am going, I will do so if security measures allow it.
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Suspicions of “foul play” are heightened by the fact that the “wine lobby” has significant influence in France and the EU in general, since wine is a lucrative export product and occupies one of the most important places in EU trade. EU countries spend millions of euros annually to promote European wines outside the Old World and to protect their alcohol brands. And the money for all this goes, including through measures taken within the framework of the common agricultural policy of the EU.
Metsola’s colleagues in the European Parliament are still silent about the accusations against their “leader”. And they are understood, because since the beginning of this legislature in 2019, MEPs have announced more than 200 trips in which the accommodation, the trip or both were paid for by a third party. The places of these trips are very diverse, including such “non-democratic” countries as Bahrain, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates, China, Syria.