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Dutch MPs involved in promoting Russian propaganda

Information obtained from Czech intelligence authorities has shown that politicians from several European countries, including the Netherlands, are involved in a Russian bribery scandal. Wim Voermans, Professor of Constitutional Law, comments on this in Dutch newspaper ‘NRC’.

Russia is attempting to influence European Parliament elections by paying politicians, the NRC reports. This also appears to be taking place within national parliaments. Rumours have been circulating about the involvement of Dutch political party Forum for Democracy (FVD) since news of the bribery scandal initially emerged. The payments were allegedly made by Czech online news site 'Voice of Europe'.

State secrets

Experts in constitutional law Voermans and Broeksteeg both consider it unlikely that the Dutch cabinet will share the information from the Czech intelligence service, claiming that the ‘information concerns state secrets’. The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) could inform party chairs about the investigation through the parliamentary committee of the Intelligence and Security Services (CIVD, known in Dutch as Commissie Stiekem). However, as Voermans explains, the information shared must remain confidential and MPs are not permitted to act on it.

An abuse of office

Voermans and Broeksteeg refer to the bribes as a potential abuse of office, which could result in the politicians in question being prosecuted. Prosecution could only be initiated by the government or the House of Representatives through a complaint procedure filed with the Supreme Court rather than the Public Prosecution Service.

A catch-22

Voermans says it’s a catch-22 situation: ‘the government has the information but can't share it, and the House of Representatives could do something but doesn’t have the information. Filing a parliamentary complaint and appointing an investigation committee – subject to certain conditions – could be potential next steps.

Photo: Kristina Flour through Unsplash

More information

Read the full NRC article (in Dutch) (€)

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