Two drivers chauffeuring European Parliament bureaucrats around the heart of European Union (EU) were allegedly found with Islamic State propaganda, prompting the parliament to approve a €10 million budget to expand and bring the driver service in house.
The drivers were found with compact discs (CDs) containing terrorist related material, one in Strasbourg, where the parliament holds its plenary sessions, and the other in Brussels, where most of its work is conducted.
The European Parliament decided not to comment, but it has been announced that the police have opened an investigation and both employees have been fired, Spiegel reports.
The drivers have traditionally been hired on contractual bases via a private firm, and when EU officials began to look into the case they found that one of the drivers also had a worrying criminal record.
Consequently, as of the April 11th, the European Parliament decided to discontinue the use of private driving services and will instead hire its drivers as direct employees of parliament in the future.
The decision to switch from a private driver services is expected to cost the European Parliament an additional €3.7 million (£2.9 million) a year for a total €10 million service.
The controversy will raise further questions about security and the possibility of Islamist radicals infiltrating the EU. It follows the revelation that one of the perpetrators of the Brussels attacks had also worked for the European Parliament.
Najim Laachraoui was a prolific Islamic State operative who managed to obtain two seasonal jobs with the institution.
He was one of the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up at Brussels airport on 22 March, as well as a bomb maker behind the Paris terror attacks.
During the summers of 2009 and 2010 he worked for a cleaning company contracted by the Parliament. It is likely that he had access to the heart of the EU during this time.
Commenting on the revelation after the Brussels attacks, the Parliament once again blamed the private firm. They said: “As required by contract, the cleaning company had demonstrated to the European Parliament the lack of criminal history of the individual”.