European MEPs denounced for breach of code of conduct favoring Moroccan interests and occupation of Western Sahara

PUSL.- Philippe Lamberts, co-chair of the Greens / ALE Group in the European Parliament, wrote a letter to Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, on 27 November denouncing fourMEPs who have been active in defending Moroccan interests without having informed the Parliament on its conflicts of interest and requests that the matter be referred to the Advisory Committee on the Code of Conduct.

Lamberts alerts to the fact that “to date, none of the above-mentioned MEPs appear to have disclosed their involvement in this Foundation within their declaration of financial interests, despite the obligation to do so under article 4.2 (d) of the Code of Conduct[1].

This is particularly disturbing given that all of these MEPs have been directly involved in the ongoing parliamentary consent procedure of the EU-Morocco Trade Liberalization Agreement in relation to Western Sahara and the EU-Morocco Partnership Fisheries Agreement.”

According to the letter, Lalonde, Manescu and Ries are part of the Board of Directors of the EuroMedA Foundation, a foundation with direct links with the Moroccan leadership, and of which also MEP Gilles Pargneaux is president and co-founder as can be confirmed in the statutes of that organization.[2]

Lamberts alerts that ”the foundation EuroMedA is not listed in the EU’s lobby register, which also raises questions given its past activities within the European Parliament.”

The vice-president of EuroMedA is Salaheddine Mezouar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Finance Minister, as well as former Minister of Trade and Industry of Morocco. Until 2016, he oversaw a political party founded by King Hassan II’s brother-in-law. Another of the founders of EuroMedA is the former Moroccan Health Minister, Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah. Biadillah was elected Secretary-General of the PAM, a Moroccan political party dubbed the “palace party”.

Alain Berger is the general secretary of EuroMed and CEO of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, a company that in 2016 had the Kingdom of Morocco as one of the biggest clients in Brussels.

In the letter, Lamberts also informes about EuroMedA that  “According to the above-mentioned article, this Foundation appears to have direct ties with the Moroccan leadership; its governance includes several high-profile former Moroccan Ministers and it has organised several events within the European Parliament in partnership with Moroccan State-owned Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP). A Moroccan media, Le Desk, has described this foundation as “dedicated to promoting Morocco for which it multiplies soft power actions within the European Parliament”.[3]

French MEP Patricia Lalonde of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Union des Démocrates et Indépendants (France) is a member of the Committee on International Trade and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean and a substitute member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Romanian MEP Ramona Nicole Mănescu is a Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a substitute member of the Committee on International Trade and the Subcommittee on Human Rights, and the Belgian MEP Frédérique Ries of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe is a member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and a substitute member of the Committee on International Trade, MEP Gilles Pargneaux of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and of the French Socialist Party is a member of the Delegation to the Union Parliamentary Assembly for Mediterranean Conference and substitute Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union.

Key positions to defend the interests of Morocco with regard to agreements and partnerships with this country and failure to comply with the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the non-inclusion of Western Sahara and its products and resources.

“Indeed, MEP Lalonde does not appear to have disclosed her relationship with the Foundation before speaking in several Parliament’s bodies – notably the International Trade committee and the Foreign Affairs committee, and in her capacity as rapporteur of the two INTA reports (consent and accompanying report). This would appear to be at odds with the requirement under article 3.3 of the Code of Conduct9. MEP Pargneaux does not appear to have disclosed his relationship with the Foundation before speaking in several Parliament’s bodies – notably the Foreign Affairs committee and the Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries, and in his capacity as shadow rapporteur for the S&D group on the two reports. This would also appear to be at odds with the requirement under article 3.3 of the Code of Conduct.

Also, MEPs Lalonde, Pargneaux, Ries and Manescu have tabled amendments in relation to these reports.” wrote Lamberts.


[1] Artigo 4.2 (d): Os deputados devem divulgar “a participação em qualquer conselho ou comité de quaisquer empresas, organizações não governamentais, associações ou outros órgãos estabelecidos na lei, ou qualquer outra actividade externa relevante que o Membro empreenda, seja a qualidade de membro ou atividade em questão remunerada ou não remunerada “.
[2] https://www.wsrw.org/files/dated/2018-11-23/euromeda-statutes.pdf
[3] https://ledesk.ma/ Artigo de 23 de novembro de 2018

 

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