BRUSSELS - Several MEPs on Tuesday (20 March) expressed outrage that ex-International-Monetary-Fund-chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been invited to a debate in the European Parliament next week, just one day before French prosecutors decide whether to press charges over his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring.
"In the name of our struggle for the dignity of women, we are opposing this invitation," Hungarian Socialist MEP Zita Gurmai and Belgian Green deputy Isabelle Durant said in an open letter to Parliament President Martin Schulz, asking him to ban the event.
"When an MEP organises an activity inside the European Parliament, the rule is that it must not cause problems. Seeing the legitimate reactions that Strauss-Khan triggers in every place he appears at today, these problems are guaranteed," they noted.
They called the invitation "indecent."
Derk-Jan Eppink , a Dutch conservative MEP, also warned the invitation is "inappropriate and premature" and may damage the parliament's reputation.
"The European Parliament should not offer a platform for the rehabilitation of a public figure still under criminal investigation," he said in a written statement, urging Schulz to get the event re-located outside the legislature.
The meeting - a debate on the financial crisis - is not organised by the EU parliament as such, but by a network of 'young' MEPs called EU40 and led by German Liberal deputy Alexander Alvaro. It is to be closed to media and also features former European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet and outgoing Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker.
Adam Mouchtar, a consultant working for Alvaro and in charge of organising the event told this website that they have no intention of un-inviting Strauss-Kahn.
"Our idea is to cater for the needs of young MEPs, so they can understand the right political response to the crisis. It is about learning from the elder generations. Mr Strauss-Kahn, Mr Trichet and Prime Minister Juncker remain invited as some of the main people in power when the financial crisis started, in 2008," he said.
As for Schulz, he tweeted on Tuesday evening that he "took note" of the issues raised by the MEPs and that he "passed on concerns to organisers for them to find a solution."
Last month, Strauss-Kahn was held in police custody for two days over his alleged part in a prostitution ring. French prosecutors are to decide on 28 March, one day after the Brussels debate, if they will press charges for pimping and misuse of company funds.
Investigators have already interviewed prostitutes who claimed they had sex with the former Socialist politician, once tipped as a serious challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential elections.
The French case comes less than a year after Strauss-Kahn abruptly resigned from the International Monetary Fund after being arrested and put on trial for allegedly attempting to rape of a hotel maid. The case was later dropped, but the maid is still pressing a civil action.
Another case of alleged attempted assault against a French journalist was also dropped because of the statute of limitations.