Polish MEP receives USD 100,000 annually from UAE: Dutch press

Polish MEP and former Defence Minister Radosław Sikorski has been receiving USD 100,000 a year from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Dutch daily NRC. The journalists are claiming that Sikorski’s voting in light of the payments, “raises suspicions”.

The daily NRC also noted how contact between European politicians and foreign countries are presently under scrutiny after the bribery scandal in the European Parliament came into the spotlight and is being investigated. The Dutch daily reported that Sikorski had received fees from the UAE for participating in the Sir Bani Yas conference.

“The conference was established by the Emirates just over 10 years ago as a way to conduct international diplomacy with ‘soft power’,” the daily reads.

The newspaper points out that the conference at present holds the status of an institution, and is closed to the presswhere all meetings are held in secret.

The daily mentioned how Sikorski would describe the Sir Bani Yas conference as “the most famous conference in the Middle East”.

“He has been on its advisory board since 2017, as a result of which he has already received almost half a million euros from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates,” reports NRC.

The newspaper points out that Sikorski, who is Poland’s former Foreign Minister, failed to inform the European Parliament that he went to the UAE conference at the end of last year at the expense of that country. All MEPs are obliged to report trips of this kind, according to the EP regulations.

In a letter to NRC, Sikorski explains that the reporting of the conference was not necessary since he was not making the trip as a MEP.

Voting in favor of UAE

The Dutch daily is questioning Sikorski’s voting activity and claims that he took a position favorable to the Emirates and their most faithful ally Saudi Arabia. The newspaper then goes on to explain that Sikorski supported the European Parliament's opposition to the suspension of arms deliveries to countries involved in the “destructive war in Yemen”.

NRC also indicated that an enemy of the Emirates, Iran, is regularly attacked by Sikorski, yet at the same time the MEP shows more leniency “to the repressive regimes” of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“This can be seen, for example, when the European Parliament wants to call on member states to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2020. Sikorski votes against,” wrote NRC, recalling that in 2021, the MEP also opposed a call for action against the UAE over the imprisonment of a critical blogger, and supported an attempt of watering down a resolution on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Fuel for Putin’s narrative

Sikorski has been recently notably criticized for fuelling Russian propaganda with his remarks. Last year he suggested that the U.S. had been responsible for the leaks in the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 and 2. And at the end of January, Sikorski hinted that the Polish government was considering taking over the western part of Ukraine at the very start of the Russian invasion. Both remarks were speedily picked up by Russian propaganda as their proof of ill-doings by Western countries.