Author: Seyedhamidreza Alavi
Date of Publication: 04/01/2023
Recent allegations of Qatar's influence within European democracy have reached high levels of the European Parliament. After a collection of allegations including criminal organization, corruption, and money laundering made the European Parliament and in particular, Brussels shocked. In the meanwhile, the list of people who are under investigation by the Italian and Belgian police is continuously growing. So, the first figure who became viral in the case was Eva Kaili, a former European Parliament vice president who was removed from the position after the accusations. Although Eva Kaili has already declared that she’s not guilty and that she has nothing to do with the case of bribery from Qatar, some sources said that 150,000€ was found in her flat.
What was the mission?
The main mission for Miss Kaili was to influence European Union policies towards Qatar in exchange for receiving suspected bribes. She is a Greek politician and a former vice president of the European parliament which has 14 vice presidents in total. Although Miss Kaili had no official business in Qatar, she was seen there apparently on a private trip while a day later she was delivering a speech in France defending Qataris.
In her wholehearted speech, she mainly talked in favor of Qatar against many criticisms of its exploitation of migrant workers who were dealing with the world cup stadiums. Shortly after, she was put into jail while being accused of exchanging political decisions and influence for money. Belgian authorities also charged her life partner and two others dealing with the Qatari influence case. In fact, this is a very important case as it highlights the vulnerabilities in a non-transparent well known bureaucratic system. A system that decides policies for over 450 million people within the world’s richest council of nations.
Mr. Antonio Panzeri, a former member of the European parliament was another figure related to the case who was arrested recently at his home in Brussels. By now the authorities indicate that Mr, Panzeri played an important role in making relations with Qatari and Moroccan officials and made the flow of money to Brussels easier. The authorities add that these facilitations regarding the flow of cash were made through a non-governmental organization led by Mr. Panzeri.
How this scandal would affect ties between the EU and Qatar
With the EU desperate for Russian gas importation, the European parliament corruption case shows that the alternatives aren’t much better. The alleged Qatar scandal seems to be happening at an awkward time for gas-poor EU countries such as Germany. On one hand, those accusations have had a major bad effect on EU democracy and rattled it to its deepest. On the other hand, Qatar is a major exporter of liquified natural gas which makes it vital for European countries coping with the current energy crisis. However, recently Roberta Metsola, the president of the parliament has said ‘ we would rather be cold than bought’ toward Qataris officials.