Euractiv / How the Mitsotakis group “works” in Brussels

Euractiv / How the Mitsotakis group “works” in Brussels

EPP leader Max Weber’s close ties to Kyriakos Mitsotakis cast a shadow over upcoming elections in Athens, reports Euractiv

In the network of political advisors who work for him Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party but it seems that they have very close relations or are advisers to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, focuses Publication of EURACTIVin view of parliamentary elections of May 21.

It is noted that the Kyriakos Mitsotakis is one of the closest allies and Weber’s supporters on the “European right” and was one of three center-right leaders to sign Weber’s candidacy for the leadership of the EPP. For his part, recalls the publication, Weber has publicly support Mitsotakisdespite the recent reports of telephone tapping of journalists and political opponents; of the Greek state.

THE A Bavarian politician was elected head of the EPP group in the European Parliament, on May 31, 2022, while at the same conference he was appointed as secretary general the former adviser to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Thanasis Bakolas.

Shortly after Weber took over, a team was hired “special” advisers For assess the staff of the EPP era. According to well-informed sources quoted by EURACTIV, two of the four advisers were the two close collaborators of the Greek Prime Minister: The Greek-American Digital Media Consultant Eric Parks and Jerry Zagoritis, WHO they have contracts after a series of personnel changes and reorganizations at EPP headquarters in Brussels.

The same sources told EURACTIV that another A Greek, Giorgos Botsis, participated in the organization of recent meetings of the EPP convention in Lisbon, Helsinki and Munich, with Greek media reporting that Botsis is considered a trusted partner of Mitsotakis.

Two independent EPP sources told EURACTIV that Mr. Eric Parks informed party staff that on February 24 it was the last daily meeting “until further notice”which implies something was wrong.

Zagoritis, meanwhile, he is the “veteran” of a series of campaigns in the EU and national and was a member of Jean-Claude Juncker’s campaign for the presidency of the European Commission in 2014. A list of participants at the event even mentions Zagoritis as “communications manager” of the EPP, even if it was generally not his role.

The companies are not based in Greece, but the owners are Greek

But the problem is that senior European Parliament officials have told EURACTIV that the part of parliament west political party finance officer he disputed recently the terms and content of contracts related with the two companies in which the EPP party had delegated activities to external partners.

“The companies are not based in Greece, but the owners are Greek”, a parliamentary source told EURACTIV.

An EPP source added that “One of them also offers consultancy services to the ruling New Democracy party in Athens.”

THE EPP party budget for the period 2022-2023seen by EURACTIV, shows that more than 1 million euros were spent on websites and digital publications, as the party prepares for next year’s European elections to be held in May or June 2023.

Asked about contracts, EPP General Secretary Thanasis Bakolas told EURACTIV that “we believe that questions in regards to staff and employees of the EPP is essentially a private matter and that the EU General Data Protection Regulation guarantees that “everyone has the right to the protection of personal data”.

Bakolas added that “the EPP subject to very strict scrutiny of all contracts and offers. All contracts are reviewed and approved by accredited audit offices, internal auditors, as well as by the financial authorities of the European Parliament.”

Since European political parties became independent in July 2004, when new EU regulations allowed them to receive annual funding from the European Parliament, the total EU funding available to them increased from 6.5 million euros in 2004 to 46 million euros in 2021.

Although commas are allowed to draw a small part of the financing of their member parties, the vast majority of their income comes from the EU budget and parties are therefore required to justify the amounts each year.

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