April 1, 2023

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Suspicions of corruption: European Parliament condemns “attack” on democracy

Suspicions of corruption: European Parliament condemns "attack" on democracy

“European democracy is under attack”: Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, vowed on Monday to reform the institution rocked by an alleged corruption scandal involving Qatar.

• Also Read: Greece’s Vice President Eva Kailey has been jailed

Belgian police raided the parliament compound in Brussels on Monday after Greece’s elected representative, Eva Kaili, was jailed on Sunday.

This Socialist MEP, who occupies one of the 14 vice-presidencies, is suspected of paying Doha to protect the interests of the emirate currently hosting the World Cup.

Three more people were jailed in this investigation.

The sums seized in the 20 searches carried out so far are staggering: “600,000 euros at the home of one of the suspects, several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a room in a Brussels hotel and about 150,000 euros in an apartment of an MEP”, according to the calculations of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

Roberta Metsola expressed “anger, rage and sadness” at the Strasbourg Hemicycle on Monday afternoon. “There will be no impunity (…) nothing will be swept under the carpet,” she promised, announcing an “internal inquiry” to examine all the facts regarding the European Parliament and ensure the institution improves its procedures.

“We ask for more transparency on who has access to our premises, how these institutions, NGOs and people are funded, what kind of relations they have with third countries, meetings with foreign actors,” assured Smt. Methsola.

As of Saturday evening, Eva Kylie has been stripped of all duties assigned to her by President Roberta Metsola, including the responsibility of representing her in the Middle East region.

On Tuesday morning, the Conference of Presidents, the political body of the European Parliament, was to begin the process of withdrawing the function of vice-president due to “serious misconduct”.

Excluded from the Greek Socialist Party (Pasok-Kinal), where she is already a controversial figure, but also on Monday her political group (S&D, left) in the European Parliament, Eva Kelly did not benefit from her parliamentary immunity because she was found guilty in flagrante delicto. “Bags of tickets” were found in his apartment.

Whether he will be kept in detention like the three other men in prison will be considered before the Brussels council chamber on Wednesday.

His assets were also frozen by Greece’s anti-money laundering authority on Monday.

“These allegations are very disturbing. It is a question of trust in the people at the heart of our institutions,” responded European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, recalling that she had proposed the creation of an “independent authority” on ethical issues.

Doha has denied any involvement in corruption attempts. “Any allegation of misconduct by the State of Qatar is seriously false information,” a Qatari government official said on Saturday.

The prospect of the calendar forced the European Parliament to scrutinize visa facilitation for Kuwait and Qatar. Item removed from agenda. And Wednesday’s debate on “the defense of democracies against foreign interference” promises to raise concerns.

“We must be firm against corruption,” called Iratxe García Pérez, president of the S&D group, whose members are members of Eva Caille.

“We will not let our work be dirty, we will not let this parliament be dirty, we will not let Europe be dirty,” said French Stéphane Céjournay, president of the Renew group (centrists and liberals).

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Former television presenter at the age of 44, Eva Kelly, MEP since 2014 and elected Vice-President of the European Parliament in January 2022, in early November she went to Qatar where in the presence of the Minister of Labor Qatar, the Emirates reforms in this sector.

Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is testimony to the “historic transformation of a country whose reforms have inspired the Arab world”, Ms Kelly also told parliament on 21 November.

The new case seems to have amused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “Hail to the European Parliament!”, he joked on Twitter after his country was recognized by European institutions for its level of corruption.