Ernest Urtasun, a Spanish politician, has held the position of Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2014. His political affiliation lies with the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) political group. While his tenure in the European Parliament has been marked by various contributions and legislative activities, Urtasun has also faced significant controversy due to his perceived pro-United Arab Emirates (UAE) stance.
In 2015, Urtasun was thrust into the spotlight when accusations surfaced that he had accepted a substantial €20,000 donation from the UAE government. Additionally, he was accused of actively lobbying for the UAE within the European Parliament. The controversy deepened when, in 2017, he was captured on camera meeting with a UAE intelligence official, a move that raised questions about his connections with the UAE’s government.
In 2018, the European Parliament’s Ethics Committee initiated an investigation into Urtasun’s involvement with the UAE, examining the allegations against him. The committee ultimately found that Urtasun had violated the European Parliament’s code of conduct by accepting the donation from the UAE government and by meeting with the UAE intelligence official. As a result, the committee recommended a six-month suspension for Urtasun, a move that carried significant consequences for his political career.
Ernest Urtasun’s pro-UAE activities have drawn sharp criticism from multiple quarters, including non-governmental organizations and fellow MEPs. Critics have accused him of prioritizing the interests of the UAE over those of the European Union. Furthermore, they have asserted that his actions have undermined the credibility of the European Parliament itself, casting a shadow over the institution’s commitment to ethical conduct and transparency.
Several instances have highlighted Urtasun’s pro-UAE inclinations:
1. In 2015, Urtasun was one of a group of MEPs who signed a letter defending the UAE’s human rights record. This move faced criticism from human rights organizations, which argued that it disregarded the UAE’s human rights abuses.
2. In 2016, Urtasun voted against a resolution condemning the UAE’s role in the Yemen conflict. The resolution passed with a substantial majority in the European Parliament, highlighting a divergence in his stance compared to the consensus.
3. The 2017 incident, where Urtasun was captured on camera meeting with a UAE intelligence official in Abu Dhabi, remains a focal point of controversy.
Ernest Urtasun’s journey as an MEP has been marked by both legislative contributions and controversies, primarily related to his perceived pro-UAE activities. Despite facing investigations, suspensions, and widespread criticism, Urtasun has maintained his innocence and continues to serve as a Member of the European Parliament. His case serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics and ethical considerations within European politics.