As the European Socialists and Democrats’ European Parliament group continues to grapple with corruption charges, the centre-right European People’s Party wasted little time in getting on the front foot. The party group pulled no punches, calling out the S&D’s “holier-than-thou” attitude and “hypocritical” lecturing.
We need to discuss hypocrisy: The holier-than-thou S&D Group is at the epicenter of #Qatargate. It’s time they are held accountable. Their lecturing on rule of law has now been proven to be hypocritical. 1/ pic.twitter.com/QkNhax2sjM— EPP (@EPP) December 15, 2022
They went further, saying “[the scandal] has a name. It has an address. And that’s the S&D group”, arguing it shows “how deep the left’s disdain for democracy is”. The criticisms even received the backing of EPP heavyweight Manfred Weber. It’s certainly a powerful line of attack…
Or at least it was. Within mere hours of the statement, the European Public Prosecutor’s office announced it was probing two MEPs. One of whom is Maria Spyraki: a member of the EPP…
“Today, in accordance with the procedures laid down by Union law, the European Chief Prosecutor requested the lifting of immunity of Ms Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, and Ms Maria Spyraki, Member of the European Parliament.
Based on an investigative report received from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), there is a suspicion of fraud detrimental to the EU budget, in relation to the management of the parliamentary allowance, and in particular concerning the remuneration of Accredited Parliamentary Assistants.”
Spyraki, a former “MEP of the year”, is not even the only EPP figure to come under scrutiny. Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský has also been criticised for an undisclosed trip to Bahrain. Clearly Brussels’ issues with corruption are deep-rooted. To quote the EPP’s own statement, “if this is not systemic, then what is it?”