EU Parliament VP charged with corruption

Eva Kaili, one of the European Parliament’s Vice Presidents has been charged alongside three others with corruption, following a major investigation into an alleged influence campaign conducted by Qatar.

Kaili, who serves as a Greek MEP, was arrested on Friday as part of the probe by Belgian authorities into alleged illicit lobbying by Qatar. According to the prosecutor’s office, it is believed that third parties within political or strategic positions in the European Parliament were paid large sums of money or offered gifts to influence the Parliament’s decisions.

Whilst the prosecutor did not name any individuals who had been arrested, Kaili’s name was first reported by L’Echo, a Belgian newspaper. 

Kaili was suspended from her role as vice president, and has been expelled from centre-left party Pasok in Greece.

Kaili’s arrest comes off the back of several eye-brow raising comments she has made in the past, including comments about Qatar being a ‘front-runner in labour rights’ after meeting with the country’s labour minister. 

That Kaili felt comfortable making these comments despite the international concern involving the deaths of stadium workers during the build up to the 2022 World Cup, and the the treatment of migrant workers more generally, suggests that either she was painfully naive, or had been bought.

To heighten concern is the fact that before her arrest, Kaili was a member of the S&D parliamentary group, which was incredibly soft on Qatar, despite their so-called social and democratic beliefs.

It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out in the coming weeks and months, especially as Qatar denies doing anything to try and curry influence. 

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