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Belgian right-wing MEP cleared in harassment probe

Belgian right-wing MEP cleared in harassment probe

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A European Parliament probe into harassment allegations against Belgian EU lawmaker Assita Kanko has been dropped, she said Friday.

“Today I was informed that a complaint filed against me … has been dismissed,” the 43-year-old MEP said in an emailed statement.

“The competent committee has decided, on the basis of all the arguments, facts and results of the investigation, that the accusations against me of improper demanding behavior have proved to be unfounded. The president of the European Parliament follows the opinion of this committee and consequently dismisses the complaint,” Kanko added.

Kanko is one of the six vice chairs of the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, and her policy specializations include the EU’s migration policy.

POLITICO reported in May — based on documents and testimonies from several parliamentary officials — that there was a culture of fear within Kanko’s office as she issued orders that were impossible to meet and made personal demands that were not appropriate for members of her staff. 

Since the Qatargate corruption scandal erupted last December, the EU assembly has been under intense scrutiny, with two confirmed cases of harassment by European lawmakers this year.

Kanko said she was very pleased the case had been dropped and that she wanted to put the experience behind her and her family. She took an anti-harassment course, organized by the European Parliament, in 2020. “It’s something I’ve always taken very seriously,” she added.

The person who filed the complaint said that they “take note of the committee’s ruling, but cannot agree with its conclusions and recommendations.”

The European Parliament’s press service declined to comment and said that “these procedures are confidential.”

Tim Ross contributed reporting.

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