EU lawmakers have raised security concerns after it was revealed the daughter of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson is working at the institution.
Elizaveta Peskova is the daughter of Dmitry Peskov, a long-serving Kremlin spokesperson. She has been working as an intern for a French right-wing lawmaker, Aymeric Chauprade, in the European Parliament which is the EU’s legislative body. Elizaveta Peskova, who has more than 85,000 followers on Instagram, reportedly started the job late last year but it’s raised security concerns among some lawmakers in Brussels.
French socialist politician, Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy, told news agency AFP this week that she was “dismayed” with the revelation. “The daughter of the Kremlin spokesman is not just any person,” she said.
Latvian lawmaker Sandra Kalniete told her country’s public broadcaster that this “is contrary to any security standards” and compared it to more stringent checks at NATO.
“Every NATO employee or intern, as they start work at the NATO headquarters, is required to receive a number of security clearances from the relevant agencies. Unfortunately, the European Parliament has no such security net,” she said.
In emailed remarks, Chauprade defended the appointment, telling CNBC there is no conflict of interest or security risk.
“Before being the daughter of his father, Miss Peskova is herself. She is a young law student in France and is perfectly qualified for an internship in a European institution,” he said via email.
The French politician belonged to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party and advised her on international affairs. However, he left the party due after some disagreements and created a new right-wing party Les Français Libres in 2016. He said that Peskova, who is reportedly studying law in France, does not work on issues related to Russia.
“She works on the geopolitical situation in other countries,” he said.
“I will be severe with the few deputies who do not respect this girl … I am going to study the measures of sanction against the obsessionally Russophobic deputies who led this policy,” Chauprade said in an email to CNBC, suggesting he will seek action against lawmakers that have raised concerns against the appointment.
A spokesperson for the European Parliament told CNBC that Elizaveta Peskova does not work for the institution directly and that she was hired, like other interns, by a specific member of parliament.
“It is the member (of the European Parliament) that is responsible for the trainee,” the spokesperson told CNBC over the phone. The spokesperson also confirmed that trainees only have access to public events and public documents.
Chauprade has publicly backed Russia in recent years and reportedly supported the country’s annexation of Crimea. In 2014, he said that “Russia has become the hope of the world against new totalitarianism,” the New York Times reported.