President of European Parliament Metsola under fire after visiting luxury hotel

President of European Parliament Metsola under fire after visiting luxury hotel
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck / Belga

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, is under fire for failing to disclose a luxurious trip to a French luxury hotel with her husband paid for by a French wine company last October before the lawmakers' deadline.

Following the arrest of expelled Greek Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili for corruption, money laundering and having links to organised crime in the Qatargate scandal at the European Parliament, Metsola last week announced the stay at the hotel.

However, Politico reports that Metsola did not disclose that her husband had accompanied her on the overnight stay at the hotel Hôtel Le Cep in the city of Beaune. On top of the overnight stay, they were reportedly given a sumptuous five-course dinner.

None of this is against the Parliament's internal rules, but she should have reported the trip by the end of the following month (in this case, by late November 2022). However, she only made her declaration on the Parliament's website on 11 January this year, long after the deadline for MEPs had passed.

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A spokesperson for Metsola confirmed the information to the DPA News Agency. However, they argued that, as President, she is not covered by the same rules as the other members of Parliament when it comes to publicly declaring trips.

It is currently still unclear what the consequences for Metsola will be. In theory, sanctions could be imposed, but responsibility for dealing with the case lies with the President of Parliament herself.

Metsola further disclosed a list of 125 gifts, which included paintings, books and vases. Most were passed to the parliamentary administration for safekeeping or are stored in her office. "The President receives gifts on behalf of the institution. She does not keep them herself," said her spokesperson.

Besides Metsola, only a few other MEPs have disclosed gifts since the beginning of 2020. Her predecessor David Sassoli did not disclose travel or gifts on the European Parliament's website during his tenure

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