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Challenge Clare Daly and Mick Wallace deny going on 'fake election-observation trips' following blacklisting

Ms Daly and Mr Wallace said they will be challenging this blacklisting and that it is “a political stunt by the centre right parties in the European Parliament”

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MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace are among eight MEPs who have been ‘blacklisted’ by the European Parliament (EP) for allegedly going on fake election-observation trips.

However, the two Irish politicians deny these allegations and say they did not pretend to be on an official election observation mandate during the trips in question.

The listing means they are barred from going on official EP election-observation missions until the end of this year.

Three other European politicians have been reprimanded, and have received official warnings.

Ms Daly and Mr Wallace are both members of the far-left Gauche unitaire européenne/Nordic Green Left group in the European Parliament.

They were both ‘blacklisted’ along with another Spanish MEP in this party for travelling to observe elections in Ecuador or Venezuela.

The five other MEPs who were blacklisted are French politicians from the far-right Identity and Democracy group, the EU Observer reports.

In a joint statement to Independent.ie, Ms Daly and Mr Wallace said they will be challenging this blacklisting and that it is “a political stunt by the centre right parties in the European Parliament.”

They added: “These were not ‘fake election-observation trips’.

"We made abundantly clear by public announcement at the time that we were not visiting Ecuador or Venezuela with an official election observation mandate.

"Our decision to go was not influenced by the governments in question. Both of us have a long-standing interest in affairs in both countries, and are vocally opposed to EU and US policy in the region.

“We travelled on our own initiative as part of larger delegations of the European left to see for ourselves how these elections were conducted, and to build solidarity with left wing movements in these countries.”

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Stefanie Schiffer, head of the European Platform for Democratic Elections told the EU Observer that the fake monitoring trips involved MEPs being invited by autocratic host-governments on all-expenses-paid junkets a few days before elections took place and who proclaimed, while brandishing their EP credentials, that the votes were free and fair.

According to the publication, the eight MEPs who were blacklisted and the three that were reprimanded for going on fake election-observation trips were called out at a Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) meeting last week.

The names were read out by a DEG co-chair, centre-right Swedish MEP Tomas Tobé, according to several sources at the briefing.

He noted the fake missions were especially "worrying" because the pandemic had prevented the EP from doing its real monitoring work.

The group consists of 15 MEPS who oversee the EP’s efforts to support democracy beyond the EU.

Every year, the Parliament sends 10-12 short-term election observation delegations to countries outside the EU and each mission is headed by an MEP.

However, due to Covid-19, the DEG has been prevented from doing its real monitoring work. The chair of the group, MEP Tomas Tobé told the EU Observer this is what makes the fake trips especially “worrying”.

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