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European Parliament bars Russia-backed lobbyists

The European Parliament is stripping lobbyists representing Russian state interests of their accreditation as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine drags on.

The Parliament’s Conference of Presidents opted to take the unilateral step at a meeting this morning, according to an aide to President Roberta Metsola. The move comes as diplomats debate including a ban on providing consulting and accounting services to Russia in the EU’s sixth package of sanctions.

The Parliament is also sending a letter to the European Commission and Council, calling on them to remove these lobbyists from the transparency register, according to a spokesman for the Greens/EFA Group. The group launched a petition calling for such a ban in the Parliament earlier this week — it’s since been updated to target Council President Charles Michel.

“These lobbyists still have access to other EU buildings via the EU lobby register,” the updated Greens/EFA petition states. “We call on Charles Michel as Council president to make sure they are banned from all EU premises.”

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