The European Parliament (EP) has suspended the post of vice-president of Greek Social Democratic Party MEP Eva Kaili, who was arrested in Belgium on Friday.
“In light of the judicial investigations being carried out by the Belgian authorities, the President [do Parlamento Europeu, Roberta] “Metsola has decided to suspend with immediate effect all powers, duties and functions conferred on Eva Kaili as Vice-President of the European Parliament,” a spokesperson for the President of the EP said today.
MEP Eva Kaili was arrested in Belgium on Friday along with four other people as part of an investigation into illegal lobbying by Qatar to influence political decisions in Strasbourg.
The arrests followed at least 16 raids in an investigation into suspected “substantial” payments from Gulf countries to influence MEPs’ decisions.
The federal public prosecutor did not name the country, but a judicial source close to the case confirmed to AFP that it was Qatar, as revealed by media outlets Le Soir and Knack.
The case comes in the middle of the 2022 World Cup, when the host nation has had to make efforts to protect its reputation for respecting human rights, particularly workers’ rights.
The case took on an additional dimension when the identity of the fifth person arrested on Friday night was confirmed, namely Greek MEP Eva Kaili, a 44-year-old former TV presenter who has become a figure of social democracy in your country. He is also the Vice-President of the European Parliament with 13 MEPs.
Today, the trials of the five suspects continued in Brussels, a spokesman for the federal public prosecutor said.
The move led Green and Social Democratic Party MEPs to announce on Monday that they would oppose talks on liberalizing visas for Qatari nationals in the European Union because of corruption suspicions involving the country.
On Monday, in Strasbourg, MEPs must approve the start of negotiations between the European Parliament and EU member states to finalize a text easing the visa regime for travelers from Qatar and Kuwait.
The text, which has already received the green light from member states at the end of June, will exempt Qatari and Kuwaiti nationals traveling to the EU bloc from visa requirements for a maximum of 90 days, subject to mutual agreement with the two countries. Countries.
“No tolerance for corruption. The Green Party will oppose the mandate to start visa liberalization talks with Qatar on Monday,” Green MEP Terry Reintke said on Twitter.
For its part, the Social-Democratic Group (S&D) is calling for “the suspension of work on all documents and votes related to the Gulf countries, especially visa liberalisation”.