The European Parliament has opened an investigation into Belgian MEP Assita Kanko (N-VA) for harassment and intimidation of her own staff, Politico reports on Thursday.
The complaint was filed in November last year against the Flemish nationalist MEP, with the case having already been the subject of an initial audit. It is now being examined by the relevant committee.
Politico spoke to several of Assita Kanko’s former employees after having obtained voice recordings, emails and text messages, proving that the MEP called her employees at weekends, on holidays and outside office hours, sometimes even at night.
According to her staff, there is a culture of fear through unworkable assignments and inappropriate personal questions.
Responding to the allegation, Kanko released a statement on Thursday morning downplaying accusations, saying that a "former employee filed a complaint against his dismissal in the European Parliament some time ago."
She lamented the "unilaterally leaking one side of a story" and added she would not comment on the specifics of the case.
"It is quite unreal to be accused in the press of all kinds of things against which I cannot defend myself publicly at the moment," Kanko said in a public statement.
An MEP is entitled to three assistants based in Brussels. Since her election in 2019, 13 people have worked for the Flemish nationalist MEP, excluding interns.