A former French MEP has accused the current Moroccan prime minister of attempting to bribe him during his time in the European Parliament, as the ongoing corruption scandal rocking the EU legislature deepens.
José Bové, told the France Inter news outlet on Friday that he himself had been a victim of an attempt at corruption during his time as a “rapporteur for the Foreign Trade Commission between 2009-2014.”
Bové, who served two terms as a member of the European Green Party claimed the current Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, had attempted to bribe him over his opposition to specifics of a negotiated free trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union.
“As rapporteur on the free trade agreement on fruit and vegetables with Morocco, I opposed this project because it was harmful for Moroccan and European producers,” the former MEP environmentalist told the French news outlet.
He explained that Akhannouch, who at the time was Morocco’s agriculture minister, did not appreciate his opposition and made contact with him over a proposed gift during negotiations.
“He offered to bring me a present in Montpellier, in a discreet café,” he claimed, explaining the meeting was to take place between Christmas and the new year.
When asked if this gift was money, José Bové quipped: “It was not a teapot, that’s clear.”
Bové explained that when he replied to the invitation by providing the address of his lawyer, all communications ceased.
Discussing the wider culture of corruption within the European Union that has recently been put under the microscope following the arrest by Belgian police of several leading politicians, and the recovery of large suitcases of cash at their homes, Bové stated: “When there are colossal economic interests at stake, states put pressure on it and some crooked MPs have taken advantage of that.”
He recalled the incestuous nature of the European framework, which he referred to as a “private club, within the framework of friendship associations, bringing together MEPs of all political tendencies.”
On the ongoing scandal that reportedly revolves around European decisions being influenced by the Arab nation of Qatar, Bové “welcomed” plans by President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola to implement significant reform to mitigate corruption, and called for “revisiting the votes” taken by the European legislature on matters related to Qatar.