EU calls on Baku to abandon the principles of democracy?
    Corruption overtops common sense

    ANALYTICS  13 February 2023 - 12:10

    Vadim Mansurov

    Pro-Armenian deputies MEPs are uncomfortable again, and all because of the interesting letter of Roberta Metsola, chairman of the European Parliament, addressed to Sahiba Gafarova, speaker of Azerbaijan Milli Majlis. In a letter, Metsola expresses her "strong disapproval" of the statement made in December 2022 by the co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Tural Ganjaliyev.

    Why is the European Parliament speaker so indignant and why has the ant hill in Brussels started to stir now, almost two months after this statement?

    In her letter, Metsola claims that the European Parliament is committed to continuing to establish relations with Azerbaijan's Milli Majlis in a spirit of mutual respect. But she also laments that Ganjaliyev has accused the European Parliament of "creating a mechanism for financing MEPs through corruption". The President of the European Parliament is unhappy that, without, in her view, "providing any basis for his accusations", Ganjaliyev has said that "profits from looted gold mines in Karabakh go into the pockets of parliamentarians critical of Azerbaijan's actions".

    The Speaker also blames Ganjaliyev for publishing on Twitter an article attacking the co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Marina Kaljurand, "falsely accusing her of corruption".

    Falsely, you say? But we do not think so - on the contrary, we are convinced that Ganjaliyev constructively and convincingly explained the mechanism of working off "their" money, that is received from lobbying "sponsors" on certain issues. And no more than that.

    However, let us assume that MEPs are still shaken by the purging of their ranks by the Belgian State Security Service (VSSE) in cooperation with other EU countries, and the charges of the Azerbaijani politician may have somehow intensified the ongoing investigation. Ms. Metsola was finally forced to get involved. That is why, apparently, such "strong disapproval" of the Azerbaijani deputy's December accusations was expressed. The European Parliament, apparently, afraid of new outrageous statements of Azerbaijani politicians, decided to rein in Ganjaliyev by contacting his boss Gafarova, and to clear themself of suspicion. 

    However, it is possible that the statement of the Azerbaijani MP seriously undermines the positions of corrupt MEPs, many of whom are still under investigation. But why bother so much, and why claim Ganjaliyev speaks without proof? After all, it is already impossible to deny that some MEPs already have a criminal record.

    Apparently, Metsola has forgotten that in December 2022 a corruption scandal rocked Brussels and even Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili and five others were detained on charges of involvement in bribery and "attempting to influence European Parliament decisions with significant sums of money and gifts" by the organiser of the 2022 World Cup.

    Also in December, all European media reported shocking details of the searches carried out at 16 addresses in the Belgian capital. Police seized computers, mobile phones, and 600,000 euros in the offices of some MEPs. Investigators found bags full of cash in Eva Kaili`s flat as well as a briefcase full of cash in the hands of the politician's father Alexandros Kaili as he tried to flee the Sofitel hotel.

    Investigators in the case said that the said corruption network had been trying for months to influence various economic and political decisions of the European Parliament in the interests of the "said" Gulf country. This latest scandal in the European Parliament has shown that bribery and corruption have already become a systematic phenomenon in European institutions.

    So, Metsola is absolutely wrong - everything that MP Ganjaliyev has said has exactly the strongest grounds. Moreover, he shed light on what the investigation in Brussels has already uncovered - the links between MEPs and the Armenian mafia.

    Eva Kaili was found to have worked closely with Armenian lobbyists in recent years, in particular with the head of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Kaspar Karampetian, who was born in Greece and has triple citizenship (Greece, Luxembourg, and Armenia). This cooperation explains a number of anti-Azerbaijani statements by groups of MEPs. Another oligarch of Armenian origin who paid huge bribes to MEPs was Vartan Sirmakes. Swiss citizen Sirmakes carried out illegal commercial activities in Karabakh in various spheres, such as banking, agriculture, and mining during the occupation, and expanded his business empire, plundering the wealth of Azerbaijan. So, there is nothing unsubstantiated in Ganjaliyev's statement.

    So now, when the European Parliament is accused of pushing through the interests of the Armenian and other lobbies, Ms. Metsola's desire to speak out in defence of the pro-Armenian lobbyist Marina Kaljurand looks suspicious and strange, to put it mildly. The President of the European Parliament is clearly concerned by the persuasive arguments of the Azerbaijani politician. Apparently, it is all too logical, including for the investigation.

    As Ganjaliyev notes in his arguments, Kaljurand often visited Armenia, but never visited Azerbaijan, the largest country in the South Caucasus. He also recalled Kaljurand's openly anti-Azerbaijani speeches in the European Parliament and called for a thorough investigation into this. After all, Kaljurand has groundlessly accused Azerbaijan in the European Parliament more than once, thereby confirming her connection with Armenian sponsors. As Ganjaliyev rightly notes, the co-chair of the European Parliamentary Committee responsible for the South Caucasus region turned a blind eye to Armenia's 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani territories, ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis, mass killings of tens of thousands of innocent people, destruction of Azerbaijani cultural heritage, mining of Azerbaijani lands and harmful damage to the environment. It is clear that the MP with such a clearly biased position represented the interests of the Armenian lobby, which Ganjaliyev unequivocally accused her of.

    The final message of Ms. Metsola's address to the Speaker of the Milli Majlis Gafarova is expressed in an interesting phrase: "For this reason, I would appreciate it if you could take all possible steps to avoid a repeat of similar incidents in the future." That is, in this way, the President of the European Parliament, practically without hiding his intentions, calls on the chairman of the Azerbaijani parliament to put pressure on the Azerbaijani deputy, to influence his point of view.

    That is, no less than Ms. Metsola is aiming at what the European political establishment likes to flaunt so much – the democratic right to express its opinion. However, as it turns out when it's getting really tough, the President of the European Parliament completely forgets about freedom of speech. Is this possible? Or did we see it in some kind of bad dream?  Well, everything is set out in black and white on behalf of Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament.

    I would like to immediately recall what the European democratic structures have always appealed to when Azerbaijan wondered about this or that unfair statement of MEPs addressed to our country. At that time, first of all, we were reminded of what is "sacred and inviolable" – the independent opinion of deputies. And how many Islamophobic, absolutely biased accusations, sometimes reaching the point of utter absurdity, have been made in recent years on behalf of the European Parliament against Baku? This, we were assured, is democracy. But it turned out that if the leadership of the European Parliament does not like something, it can shut up someone's mouth. So maybe, before advising something, the European Parliament will learn simpler things - to separate black from white, a corrupt deputy from an honest deputy, and democracy from legal bacchanalia under the guise of Europe?



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