March 5. 2024. 9:29

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MEP: EU human rights committee not for those ‘carrying money between hotels’


The European Parliament’s committee on human rights is not for those involved in corruption and bribery, but rather those who care about giving those in need a voice, Udo Bullmann, socialist MEP (S&D) candidate for the committee’s chair, told EURACTIV.

Bullmann will be proposed on Monday by the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) to replace his predecessor Andrea Cozzolino who resigned as part of the fallout from the Qatargate scandal.

“This subcommittee is not for those who are carrying money back and forth between hotels, but for those people who do not have a voice in the world because they are victims of authoritarian regimes like in Iran, victims of aggression and war like in Ukraine, suppressed by violence and power in undemocratic regimes,” the EU lawmaker from German SPD said.

Socialist Bullmann to take over Parliament’s human rights committee

Veteran socialist MEP Udo Bullmann will become the European Parliament’s chief spokesperson on human rights as part of the fallout from the Qatargate scandal.

Cozzolino resigned from the subcommittee, and his immunity was lifted after he was named by Antonio Panzeri, the alleged mastermind behind the Qatargate scandal, as part of the criminal organisation that has shaken EU Parliament.

Former EU Parliament vice-president Eva Kaili, who was kicked out of the S&D after the scandal erupted, is imprisoned for corruption, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation. In her apartment as well as Panzeri’s residence, hundreds of thousands of euros in suitcases and bags were found.

In the case of Kaili, the Belgian police raided her apartment after they arrested her father in front of a hotel in Brussels carrying a suitcase with €600,000, which he was asked to “vanish” from his daughter’s apartment.

“To my utmost regret, this subcommittee has still been in the focus of this current crisis […] because of some people’s criminal activities, the reputation of our work has partly destroyed,” Bullmann said.

‘No tactical compromise’

In the case of resolutions on Qatar’s labour rights, many EU lawmakers in the past tried to tone down EU criticism considering the need for energy from the Gulf country.

Asked if he would make such “compromises”, Bullmann replied, “the subcommittee of human rights has the privilege and the duty to be only bound to those people who are suppressed and whose human rights are denied”.

“No other argument should count because it’s not a subcommittee of tactical compromise. It’s the subcommittee of human rights”.

The German EU lawmaker said the EU Parliament must be radical to eradicate whatever wrongdoing.

“There is no compromise on the wrongdoings, whether that is in S&D or other political groups, caused by whomever and wherever. That is in the forefront of the job next to our political mission,” he noted.

Bullmann emphasised that this subcommittee is significant for Europe, considering that human rights are the foundation of European integration and, simultaneously, the core of Europe’s mission in the world.

He also said there is a need to unite all those democratic political forces who would like to work in the sense of democratic progress in our subcommittee.

“The chair has to have open ears and mind for proposals coming from colleagues from other groups too,” he added.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)