Saturday, June 15, 2024

Brussels, my love? Transparency over MEPs’ side jobs

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In this edition, we look at what lawmakers’ extracurricular activities mean for their core role.

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This week, we are joined by Sophia Russack, senior researcher from the Centre for European Policy Studies, Petros Fassoulas, secretary general of European Movement International and Anna Nalyvayko, senior project officer from the Wilfried Martens Center.

Panelists debate the ethical questions raised by MEPs who have side jobs. Those extra roles are legal, but the political earthquake caused by the Qatarargate scandal led to tighter rules and more transparency.

Is this enough to bridge the gulf between citizens and politicians, in today’s fractured political landscape?

“We see that they have improved rules when it comes to reporting requirements, to laying open your financial situation before and after the offers, and so on. But to be honest, none of these things will prevent another Qatargate,” said Sophia Russack, a think tanker who is an expert in EU institutional architecture, decision-making processes and institutional reform.

Despite these concerns, Petros Fassoulas said MEPs shouldn’t abandon contact with the real world altogether.

“It’s important for them to have the opportunity to bring expertise from outside and engage also with the world outside of the chamber,” Fassoulas said. “An MEP or any parliamentarian should be in contact with the people that they regulate, the businesses that they have an impact on.”

Guests also discussed the reasons for the crisis of public confidence in politicians, and gave some ideas for solutions.

Watch “Brussels, my love?” in the player above.

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