Over a year ago, the European Parliament asked Marine Le Pen to pay back 300 000 euros, suspecting her from having cheated on the financial support given to members of the European Parliament.
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Le Pen had appealed the sanction from the European Parliament, but last month, the Court of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, backed the decision of the Parliament. She will therefore have to pay back 300 000 euros, as requested. She can still appeal the decision in front of the highest court of the EU.
Between 2010 and 2016, Marine Le Pen employed a woman named Catherine Griset as assistant in the Parliament, as well as a second person. When Le Pen was asked to justify the work of this assistant, she was unable to provide any proof of said assistant working on EU-related matters. The Parliament had therefore started to retain part of her wage to repay the amount asked. In 2017, Marine left the Parliament, ending the repayments on her wage, with barely 60 000 euros paid back out of the 340 000 euros asked by the Parliament.
To get back the rest, the European Parliament has gone in front of the French justice as civil party. The French justice has launched a procedure against Marine Le Pen’s political party, the “Rassemblement national” [“National Rally”]. The French justice has already frozen 2 million euros of public subsidies that were going to be paid to the “National Rally”, as a prevision of the estimated 2 million euros the party owes to the European Parliament.
The political party is now short on funds to continue operating and has requested donations from their supporters. According to the RN [Rassemblement national], they have managed to collect over 500 000 euros, but this amount would only allow them to continue operating until September.
The European Parliament estimates the total damage at some 7 million euros, spanning over a period of 8 years, between 2009 and 2017. Around 10 other members of the RN are involved in the case, all accused of having cheated on the European subsidies. Their assistants didn’t work on European matters, but for the RN in France.
Other Eurosceptics are in similar situations, such as the well-known Nigel Farage. The European Parliament had concluded the assistant he had hired wasn’t working on EU-related matters, estimating the damage to some 40 000 euros. Since the beginning of 2018, the wage of Farage has been divided by two, and the Parliament expects that he will finish paying back his debt by October 2018. Some 10 other Eurodeputies from the Eurosceptic party “UKIP” are involved in the case.
Both Farage and Le Pen think that the European Parliament is persecuting specific Eurodeputies in a selective manner, but the reality is that the Parliament has been extremely tolerant up until now, allowing people who are opposed to the European project to enter the institution. This is corrupting the institution little by little. In a few words, the Eurosceptics present in the European Parliament are thieves who should be happy of being able to profit from the European dream (and the money) while this one lasts, as well as of the tolerance towards them.
What is sad in this story is the fact that these thieves steal the money from Europeans, and then lie to them and turn them against the Union. They will then use those votes for their own political objectives. Their only hidden goal is to manipulate the voters to turn them against the Union and the democracy.
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