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There are calls to reform lobbying laws in the EU

Brussels: After the shocking scandal related to the Qatar World Cup came to light, there were calls to reform the lobbying rules in the European Parliament.

Last week, members of the European Parliament were arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes from Qatar, which is hosting the FIFA World Cup. The scandal involving members of the European Parliament came to light after raids by the Belgian Federal Police.

This has prompted widespread calls to reform lobbying rules for EU institutions.

During the investigation, police charged four people, including a Greek MEP and Parliament Vice President Eva Kylie.

Kylie was arrested after raids by Belgian police uncovered around €600,000 and seized computer equipment and mobile phones.

According to the BBC, Qatar may have had influence over the European Parliament’s economic and political affairs for months. There have already been allegations of corruption in Qatar’s bid to host this year’s FIFA World Cup.

What exactly is lobbying?

Lobbying is currently defined by the EU as “all activities carried out directly or indirectly with the aim of influencing the decision-making processes of EU institutions.” There are laws regulating lobbying, but these are now being criticised as ineffective. According to 2016 figures, corruption costs the EU up to €900 billion in tax losses and lost investment each year.

Transparency at the European Union level should be improved.

The Commission has proposed the formation of a new independent European Union ethics body to investigate and harmonise rules across all European Union institutions and agencies.

“The rules must be transparent, and all European institutions must strictly adhere to them,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

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