February 12, 2014 - 10:54 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Parliament's ethics committee is set to censure a group of nine lawmakers who are suspected of accepting favors from Azerbaijan during an electoral observation mission there in October last year, according to EurActiv.
Kriistina Ojuland (ALDE, Estonia), Jacek Włosowicz (EFD, Poland), Slavi Binev (EFD, Bulgaria), Jirí Maštálka (GUE/NGL, Czech Republic), Ivo Vajgl (ALDE, Slovenia), Alexandra Thein (ALDE, Germany), Hannu Takkula (ALDE, Finland), Oleg Valjalo(S&D, Croatia) and Nick Griffin (non-attached, UK), all flew to Azerbaijan last October to monitor the elections.
However, they "forgot" to tell Parliament that they had been invited by the Azeri government and did not declare the trip on their website, as required by the Assembly's new code of conduct.
The Parliament advisory committee on the conduct of members, which oversees ethics in the EU Assembly, was expected to look into the cases of the seven MEPs on Tuesday, Feb 11, and to adopt sanctions against them.
The committee is also questioning whether the MEPs were remunerated for this task, on top of the paid trip.
After their mission, the group produced a report describing the elections as “free and fair”. Embarrassingly, their assessment was radically different from the mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which found “serious problems” related to freedom of expression and assembly.
According to the European Parliament’s new code of conduct, adopted last July, any kind of present, invitation to a football game, show or trip must be mentioned on the lawmaker’s website if its price exceeds 150 euros.
“We are happy to see that the European Parliament actually is doing something about the caviar diplomacy snaked in Brussels,” said European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (ANCA Europe) Executive Director Bedo Demirdjian. “I hope they will open their eyes on falsifications of history and facts that are being committed by Azerbaijan.”