Polish MEP loses his immunity in traffic case

Jacek Kurski.jpg

The European Parliament decided to waive immunity for Polish MEP Jacek Kurski so that he could defend himself against accusations that he committed a traffic offence in his country. 

Explaining its decision, the European Parliament said on Tuesday (11 June) that the charge against Kurski's was not connected with his work as an MEP. 

"It would have been much easier to send me the fine instead of informing half of Europe," said Kurski (Europe of Freedom and Democracy group), who explained he never received a fine. He is accused of ignoring a left-turn ban and crossing a double line while driving in January 2012.

The MEP called the case a provocation by a Polish newspaper. According to Kurski, the police were notified about the alleged offence by a journalist who followed him in the northern city of Elbl?g. It was only then that the proceedings started.

He also stressed that his political party, the centre-right Solidarity Poland, is against MEPs being granted immunity.

In January, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that the Polish prosecution asked him to waive Kurski's parliamentary immunity in connection with proceedings against him in Poland.

Another Polish case

This week, the Parliament refused to waive the immunity of another Polish MEP, Ma?gorzata Handzlik (European People's Party), accused of presenting false documentation to reimburse the costs of a language course at which she failed to appear.

In her case, the Parliament concluded that there was insufficient proof. According to the Parliament, the case may have been launched against Handzlik to hinder her future political career, or make it impossible for her to be a candidate in next European elections.

“I feel relieved that the whole thing came to an end, that it turned out to be an administrative error which should have never happened," said Handzlik after the vote in Strasbourg.

She underlined that she had never submitted any false documents to the EP. "I also never got this money, and we are talking here about €1,446.23," Handzlik added.

Bulgarian MEP Dimitar Stoyanov, who was the rapporteur for the Committee on Legal Affairs, said that in 2007 the Parliament's administration didn't contact the Polish MEP in order to explain the doubts about the documents.

"It was highly unusual for the administration not to notify the MEP concerned if there was a problem with documents submitted for reimbursement. They never asked her for an explanation,” said Stoyanov.

In Handzlik's case the committee heard Giovanni Kessler, director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). 

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