European Parliament President Roberta Metsola announced at the plenary session in Strasbourg on Monday that she had received a request from the competent Belgian authorities to lift the parliamentary immunity of MEP Alexis Georgoulis.
“I received a request from the competent Belgian authorities to lift the parliamentary immunity of Alexis Georgoulis. The request is referred to the legal affairs committee,” Metsola said.
The request is over a case of alleged sexual harassment that dates back three years ago and the victim filed a complain in 2020.
According to state broadcaster ERT, the Belgian authorities did not disclose the content of the file or explained why the request to EP has taken so long.
While media initially wrote of the complaint about “sexual harassment,” some claim on Tuesday “beating and rape.”
Procedure to lift Georgoulis’ immunity will take 2 to 3 months, ERT reported.
48-year-old actor Alexis Georgoulis, elected as a member of the European Parliament with SYRIZA in 2019, denied the allegation but submitted his resignation from the party.
“Unfortunately, we live in difficult and dangerous times. In the face of this false and insulting attack, which is carried out – probably not by chance – a few days before the national elections, I intend to fight my battle in justice, for the truth and the restoration of my name, requesting the removal of my MEP immunity.
In this context and because I do not at all want to influence the fight of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, at all levels, with a purely personal issue, I am placing myself at the disposal of the party’s bodies and submitting my resignation as a member of the party as well as from the EP of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance,” Georgoulis said.
The issue is being considered as particularly serious by the SYRIZA leadership as according to media information the complaint against the MEP for sexual harassment was “for an incident that allegedly happened three years ago,”and Georgoulis did not inform the party in time.
Greece’s main opposition party has reportedly cancelled Georgoulis’ party membership.
The complainant is a close associate of PASOK leader Androulakis
The complainant is not only a legal advisor to the European Socialists but at the same time she is reportedly a close associate of PASOK leader, Nikos Androulakis, and also a member of the party’s higher collective body.
According to some media, the woman is planned to be included in the state ballot of PASOK in the upcoming elections on May 21.
It is not clear whether the alleged victim had informed the leadership of PASOK on the harassment and the complaint to Belgian authorities.
Meanwhile, the majority of Greek media and websites have already on Monday published the victim’s name and pictures.