26 November 2020
Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, Vice-Chairperson on the Committee on International Trade, has expressed his discontent regarding the article titled 'Beijing's influence in European Parliament draws fresh scrutiny’, published by POLITICO on Thursday 26 November 2020.
In a letter addressed to European Parliament President David Sassoli, Mr Zahradil stated “The article is full of indirect accusations, tricky suggestions and even a few personal attacks from some fellow MEPs.”
According to Jan Zahradil, “The EU-China friendship group does not engage in any activities which might result in confusion with the official activities of the Parliament and its bodies, according to the official rules of the European Parliament.”
In the letter, Mr Zahradil affirms he had already informed the EP President about the activities and profile of the Group, as required per EP rules.
Further to this, MEP Zahradil has clarified that, as Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on International Trade, he does not cover files specifically related to China. Zahradil does not serve as rapporteur nor shadow rapporteur to any China dossiers, nor has he have requested access to any classified, reserved or confidential information on this topic.
Moreover, he strongly and categorically denies that sensitive information is being communicated to the Chinese side via this Group.
Mr. Zahradil has also defended his assistant - who was also named in the article, against any kinds of implications:
“My assistant has been employed as my part-time accredited EP assistant with full awareness and permission of the relevant EP authorities. He has been living and working in Belgium for at least 14 recent years with the full awareness and permission from the relevant Belgian authorities, including appropriate security checks.”
For Mr. Zahradil, the article is an attempt to undermine his personal credit, trustworthiness and credibility, as well as the value of unofficial friendship groups as a whole.
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