Another Italian leftist MEP may be exposed in Brussels corruption scandal
There have been a lot of names floating around since the scandal broke, with everyone on the Left pointing fingers at each other to save their own skin. Among the many, the name of Alessandra Moretti – an MEP known for turning a blind eye, or speaking only when she had to – has also come up.
The corruption scandal surrounding Brussels, which has shaken the confidence of European citizens to the core, is becoming more complex by the day. Although the case was triggered by the exposure of VP Eva Kaili, a Greek national, sofar it appears that the main mastermind behind the scandal is former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, who has been in pre-trial detention since early December. However, he recently made a plea bargain with the authorities and promised to name all those involved in exchange for a more lenient sentence. The immunity of two other suspected MEPs, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino, could be lifted soon.
The name of another Italian MEP, who has already been on the authorities’ radar, has emerged of late. La Repubblica points out that an assistant to the Italian centre-left MEP Alessandra Moretti could have been part of Panzeri’s network. It adds, however, that the politician is not being investigated formally because there is insufficient evidence that she had knowledge of the years-long corruption. However, her actions seem to suspiciously dovetail with the work of those already exposed in the case.
There have been a lot of names floating around since the scandal broke, with everyone on the left pointing fingers at each other to save their own skin. Among the many, the name of Alessandra Moretti, a champion of women’s rights, also came up. In 2020, she visited Qatar, where she gave a presentation at a conference on this topic. She then immediately felt the need to launch her own little campaign, claiming in every forum that Qatar had made progress on women’s rights. She wrote about this even in her Facebook post that appeared to cover the event.
„Here in Qatar, progress is being made in the protection of women’s and workers’ rights,”
her entry reads.
She went on to claim in several additional forums that what she had experienced in Qatar was a huge progress. The NGO Human Rights Watch, however, was of a different opinion. In a study published a year later, they wrote about how oppressed women still are from a Western perspective. The situation of Qatari women is perhaps little discussed in the West. To this day, they can exercise most of their rights only with the consent of a male guardian, including getting married, studying abroad, leaving the country, or making decisions in terms of reproductive rights (e.g. contraception). For example, they still can’t say no to their husband if he wants to sleep with them.
The discriminatory system also denies women the right to act as primary guardians of their children, even if they are divorced and have legal custody,
according to the 94-page report published by Human Rights Watch. The authors added that
„male guardianship reinforces men’s power and control over women’s lives and decisions, and can promote or fuel violence, leaving women with few viable options to avoid it.”
These are just a few examples of what MEP Alessandra Moretti described as „a big step forward.” This already raises the question of what her reasons were to try and prove a non-existent point immediately after visiting Qatar. However, if we examine what else she did after the aforementioned conference, the suspicion grows further.
In the Facebook post we already mentioned, the Italian politician also said that she had visited one of the stadiums being built for the World Cup in Qatar to see for herself how workers’ rights and living conditions were being protected. As Qatar was awarded the hosting rights without most of the stadiums, support buildings and infrastructure in place, the country embarked on an immense, nationwide construction project, during which it relied heavily on some 2 million guest workers arriving from abroad.
According to The Guardian, around 6,500 migrant workers may have died as a result of poor working conditions. The Qatari state, on the other hand, knows of 4-500 people. The legal basis for the exploitation of workers is the so-called „kafala” system, which gives disproportionate rights and control to Qatari employers who ‘sponsor’ incoming workers. For example, in many cases they take away the guest workers’ passports, or have the right to decide whether the worker can leave the country, change jobs. hey even have the right to make them work for just one pound an hour.
When asked on her thoughts about these staggering figures, Ms Moretti said that her main focus was women’s rights.
„I cannot find a link between participation in the women’s rights initiative and the tragedy of the workers,”
said the Italian MEP, evading the answer, as if she her both her eyes and ears closed when the subject of the thousands of dead was raised. Somewhat later, in a brief remark, she did acknowledge though that this was wrong.
In light of all this, it comes as no surprise that Ms Moretti’s name also came up, but the truth is that the authorities first became suspicious of her assistant, against whom they have not found enough evidence yet to open an official investigation. However, the question remains: what did Ms Moretti receive, and from whom, in return for speaking up when she needed to, and turning a blind eye when that was required?
Ms Moretti has repeatedly stated that she has never gained any advantage or received anything from anyone in exchange for a positive image. For now, her her biggest argument is that she „has already made one negative, slamming statement about Qatar.” As the case is full of too many Italian suspects, one more would not be surprising. On 1 December, the politician was also present when the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs voted to waive the visa requirement of Kuwaiti and Qatari citizens when entering the EU. She voted in favour of the initiative along with Eva Kaili, who was only there as a substitute, and not a committee member. We explored in detail what Eva Kaili may have received from Kuwait in one of our earlier articles.