In an email sent to Italian MEP Maria Angela Danzì, dated January 22 and seen by POLITICO, Parliament President Roberta Metsola confirmed that the institution’s security department would launch an “internal investigation to shed light on the behaviour and possible security breaches of interest representatives on this occasion.”
Socialists & Democrats MEP Mohammed Chahim accused lobbyists of following his colleagues into the toilet or entering their offices without permission ahead of a crucial vote in the Parliament in November. “I think that’s really too much,” he told reporters at the time. French Renew MEP Pascal Canfin, who chairs the Parliament’s environment committee, labeled the industry lobbying “almost unethical.”
The extreme pressure from lobbyists came as the Parliament was reeling from the Qatargate cash-for-influence scandal that cast doubt on the integrity of the institution. The dramatic revelations pushed MEPs to change their own transparency rules last year, requiring them to declare their assets and log more of their meetings with lobbyists.
In a written statement to POLITICO, Danzì said she has been “heard by officials who are investigating this case and I have provided them with all the elements in my possession. … The European Parliament’s investigation will have to ascertain whether the lobbies have respected the most stringent and fair rules that were decided after the Qatargate scandal.”
EU rules on the mandatory transparency register, approved in 2021, require anyone on the register to abide by an official code of conduct — including that lobbyists “respect, and avoid obstructing, the specific access and security rules and arrangements established by the signatory institutions.”
In the most extreme instances of violating the code, lobbyists could be “declared ineligible to remain on the register,” limiting their access to MEPs.