Former FrP politician banned from the European Council
The former Progress Party (FrP) Member of Parliament, Karin Woldseth, has been banned from the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council because she has been lobbying for Azerbaijan.
The policy council of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council (PACE), has decided that Woldseth will be banned for life and to be deprived of the title as an honorary member. According to an independent review, she has used her access to the assembly to conduct lobbying in favour of Azerbaijan, reports NRK.
– I made a minor offence against an ethical guideline and is being judged as stringent as someone accused of being corrupt, Woldseth tells the broadcaster.
Woldseth sat on the Hordaland bench in the Norwegian Parliament from 2001 to 2013 – and was one of five permanent members of the Parliament to attend the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. She had this role for eight years. To NRK, she says that the only mistake she has made is not to return her access card when she started as a lobbyist. She denies a point in the accusation stating that she was part of a network that worked for Azerbaijan.
– I have not conducted any lobbying on behalf of any country other than Norway, says Woldseth.
Allegations of bribery
PACE consists of 324 representatives and as many deputy representatives from the 47 member states’ National Assemblies. They are working for the strengthening of human rights, parliamentary democracy and just laws in the member states.
Azerbaijan has over the last few years bribed PACE politicians to make the assembly soften its criticism of the country, according to several media.
Woldseth headed the Norwegian Parliaments’ delegation from 2009 to 2013. The following year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was critical of her involvement as a lobbyist in the Council of Europe, but Woldseth denied at the time to Klassekampen that she was a lobbyist for Azerbaijan and described the claim as being outrageous.
Ingjerd Schou (Conservatives), who succeeded Woldseth as the Head of the Delegation, has told both Klassekampen and Aftenposten that Woldseth in 2014 told her that she was lobbying for Azerbaijan and that she would very much like to work for Russia.
Woldseth admitted to Aftenposten in 2017 that she, through her private company Policy Consulting, had been lobbying in Strasbourg until then, but did not want to say which sources and assignments she had had.
In 2014 the former parliamentary representative acknowledged that she had contact with the Scientologists, but refused to have received any payment from the controversial sect. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) warned that Woldseth’s activities could harm Norwegian foreign policy interests, but the Strasbourg delegation established at the time that she had not done anything illegal.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today