Who the MEPs from the League work for? They sit in the European Parliament, but they receive also money from outside. Who is paying Matteo Salvini’s men is not clear, what is certain is that the Italian sovereignists are among the main delegations for extra-activities, a study published yesterday (26 September) revealed. Members of the Parliament are not prohibited from having other jobs, but in the case of the Italian components of the Identity and Democracy group (ID) something doesn’t sound completely fair.
According to Transparency International EU, the newly elected MEPs of the UK Brexit Party and the Italian party the League have the highest combined outside earnings of any national party delegations in the European Parliament. Transparency International is the organization whose mission is to prevent corruption and promote integrity, transparency and accountability in EU institutions, policies and legislation.
According to the analysis released by the organization, 521 of the newly elected MEPs have declared 1,503 side activities, of which 842 are paid. While these only concern 30% percent of all MEPs, “taken together this amounts to a minimum combined yearly sum of at least € 6,381,924 million and potentially as much as €16,204,186 million”.
The League on the podium
Situation changes according to the estimates taken into account. Considering the most prudential scenario, MEPs from the League would get at least 369,126 euro thanks to their extra-activity. They would the third delegation for extra-parliamentary business after the Brexit Party (€2,064,468) and Civic Platform (€ 720,060), the Polish party belonging to the EPP family.
According to the highest estimates, on the other hand, the League would the second biggest delegation within the European Parliament for overall volume of external revenues (€1,067,952). In this case only the Brexit Party would be the first political force for outsiders’ financing (€4,683,916).
Who is behind these huge profits? The European Parliament doesn’t know, and the institution apparently is not in the position of making clarity. The reason is the one you could never imagine: the internal financial-check system of the co-legislator has huge flaws. As denounced by the anti-corruption organization in its report, “unfortunately, the current system still allows for declarations that contain vague or generic jobs descriptions”.
More briefly, analysts found descriptions ranging from “self-employed consultant” to “lawyer” or “partner in registered partnership”. These vague and imprecise descriptions make the monitoring and prevention exercise much more difficult, as it prevents the Parliament’s own ethics system from properly evaluating potential conflicts of interests.
Russian shadows over the League
It is impossible to say who the Italian MEPs work for, but it is possible to formulate an idea. There will be those who have a normal external job, those who silently work for lobbies, and those who are secretly paid by extra-anti-European forces. In the case of the League an internal study of the European Parliament already underlined the link between fake-narrative of the political party and its pro-Putin agenda.
It is thus easy to imagine that Russia can plot behind the scene, by financing Matteo Salvini’s MEPs. After all the “Russian connection” was unveiled by BuzzFeed earlier this year. A secret recording made public shows how Vladimir Putin tried to funnel millions to Salvini’s pockets.