© Bill Wirtz
Monica Semedo, MP of the Democratic Party and MEP, has been suspended for bullying staff and has now resigned. Here are some of the reactions of Luxembourg’s politicians.
Earlier article: Semedo resigned on Wednesday morning.
Corinne Cahen, DP president
The DP president strongly condemned Semedo's behaviour and said that bullying was not consistent with the party’s values. She said the MEP never acknowledged what she had done and did not appreciate the severity of her misconduct.
The DP is unequivocal about the implications of Semedo’s resignation from the party. She was given the seat due to the DP’s success in the European elections and must now relinquish it. Legally, Semedo can sit as an independent and see out the remainder of her term. Cahen said that the final decision is up to Semedo, but she stressed that it would be right to give up the seat.
Semedo said in a Facebook post on Monday that she felt she had suddenly lost the support of the party and would therefore resign from it. She did not say whether she would resign her seat in the EU parliament.
Cahen disputes this version of events and said that the party was in constant touch with Semedo after it was informed of her misconduct. Their last meeting took place on Monday.
Only last week, DP chairman Claude Lamberty said that the affair was considered to be over after Semedo issued an apology. However, questions remain as to why the disciplinary committees were not convened earlier given that the party had been aware of Semedo’s misconduct for some time. According to Cahen, the party wanted to hear out Semedo’s version of events and study the decision of the EU parliament to suspend the MEP.
Cahen said Semedo alerted her after Christmas that the president of the EU Parliament would issue a verdict in January. Cahen was not aware that Semedo had replaced her original staff last year, nor did she ask at the time. The bullying happened over the course of last year.
Christophe Hansen (CSV) disagrees with the DP’s version
The CSV MEP said that there were already rumours of bullying making the rounds in Brussels last year when Semedo replaced her staff.
Hansen said it could not be true that the DP only became aware of the affair this year. Already last year it became clear that the affair was going to be heard in a disciplinary committee in the EU parliament. It would be unfathomable that the DP was unaware of it at the time.
Hansen also accused the DP of only reacting to the affair when the public became aware of it and when tensions were steadily rising, particularly on social media.
More reactions from LSAP and CSV
LSAP MEP Marc Angel said he would give up his seat if he resigned from the party or if he was about to be expelled. He stressed how MEPs are sent to Strasbourg based on the performance of their party. He declined to comment on the DP’s handling of the affair.
Asked whether Semedo’s bullying would harm the country’s international reputation, he could not say whether that is the case. Due to the pandemic, physical contacts between MEPs are limited. He said it was definitely a loss of prestige for the EU parliament.
The former CSV MEP and current CSV president Frank Engel publicly demanded Semedo’s resignation from the parliament in an RTL interview. He has also criticised Semedo’s refusal to announce whether she would want to keep her seat.
He also insisted that Semedo exclusively owed her mandate to Xavier Bettel who used her as a "cart horse" in the EU election campaign.
Former parliamentary leader heavily criticises DP
Jean-Paul Rippinger, the former DP parliamentary leader, said the affair was a “tremendous humiliation” for Luxembourg. He is calling on Semedo to give up her seat and criticises her for remaining silent on the matter.
Rippinger also expects the public prosecutor’s office to launch an investigation into Semedo’s offences. He stressed that laws were broken and that we owed it to the rule of law to investigate any wrongdoing.
Rippinger left the party after almost 40 years of membership and has regularly criticised the performance of the current cabinet for its handling of the pandemic and regarding the failed bids of Luxembourgers for EU offices in the past.
The Semedo affair is a symptom of failed leadership and the loss of values that underpin the party, says Rippinger.