Press review on the EU affair: "Couldn't have been worse"

The horror at the corruption scandal in the EU Parliament is great, and commentators in German newspapers agree: the damage is immense.

Press review on the EU affair: "Couldn't have been worse"

The horror at the corruption scandal in the EU Parliament is great, and commentators in German newspapers agree: the damage is immense. The governments in Hungary and Poland, who were skeptical about the EU, now sensed "morning dawn". One newspaper even sees a "warning shot for all parliaments".

"Why should Qatar bribe a vice-president who hardly anyone outside of her Greek homeland knows and who nobody ever thought of as a center of power in Brussels? It seems as if the Gulf emirate took parliament more seriously than the EU citizens it represented do" writes the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" about the scandal and demands: "The majority of MPs should turn their indignation into energy in order to now close a gap in the transparency regime of the EU institutions: Lobbyists from third countries must also be included in the transparency register will." However, one should not delude oneself. "Such a reform would not have prevented a clumsy case of bribery like the one that has now apparently been uncovered - and Parliament's battered reputation will not be improved that easily either."

The "Badische Zeitung" also deals with the topic and sees a need for action: "The European Parliament must now lift the immunity of the suspects immediately and thus ensure that the allegations of corruption against MPs from their own ranks can be cleared up." As a result, the newspaper fears: "The Hungarian and Polish governments, who have been castigated by the European Parliament for violating the rule of law, now see the dawn. They don't want to be pilloried by MPs who can't keep their own house in order. This is a much bigger problem for them the EU as in the unclean PR methods of the Gulf Emirate that have now come to light." So far, Parliament has been "the admonishing moral authority". "She's missing now."

The "Augsburger Allgemeine" fears devastating consequences. "The scandal surrounding EU Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili is shaking up political Brussels. If the suspicion is confirmed, it will not only mean an immense loss of confidence for MEPs from all parties. It would be a catastrophe for the entire EU," writes the newspaper. "As the guardian of Western values ​​and the heart of European democracy, Parliament likes to emphasize how important human rights and the rule of law are. Europe's representatives like the role of moralizing club, especially in the fight against corruption. They often have reason to do so. But the strongest The weapon becomes dull if there is 'gang corruption and money laundering' in your own shop.

"The scandal is a warning shot for all parliaments - including for the German Bundestag, in which more lobbyists have house ID cards than parliament has members," says the "Frankenpost". "One of the achievements of democracy is that the elected representatives of the people can make their own decisions. If they lose this ability - be it through political pressure, financial influence or threats of violence - democracy is in danger."

The horror of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" is also great. "It could not have been worse for the EU Parliament, because its strongest weapon is actually morality," says the comment. Parliament recently celebrated its 70th birthday, proud of its role as the only EU institution directly elected by the European people. It should still not bring its own laws on the way. "In the current crisis situation, the Commission and the member states often ignore it. Parliament is all the more convinced in its role as guardian of true European values. The House also represents these values ​​when it comes to abuses outside the EU - for example in a resolution who condemned the football World Cup in Qatar as a disgrace. And now you suddenly get an idea why some social democrats weren't so fired up about this resolution."

The "Handelsblatt" also fears that the role as a moral authority is no longer quite right. "The EU Parliament sees itself as a pioneer against bribery and corruptibility. For years, MEPs have been demanding that the Union take action against kleptocrats in their own ranks - especially against Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is undermining the rule of law and fostering favoritism," comments the Newspaper. Now, of all times, when the Commission is finally acting and is not paying out funds from the EU budget and the Corona reconstruction fund to Hungary due to a lack of rule of law standards, the corruption case is shaking Brussels. "Orban will find it easy to portray his critics as hypocrites. He could become the great beneficiary of the affair."