Due to claims that World Cup host Qatar had paid Greek legislator Eva Kaili to influence decisions, which she has denied, the European Parliament removed her from her senior assembly position on Tuesday.
Four persons were detained and accused in Belgium over the controversy that has caused uproar in Brussels and threatens to harm the reputation of the European Union (EU), including Kaili, one of the 14 vice presidents of the parliament.
The case, in which investigators found heaps of cash, throws a shadow over the European Parliament, which aspires to be a moral compass, denouncing human rights violations throughout the world and calling out EU governments for any indication of wrongdoing.
Qatar has refuted all accusations of impropriety.
With 625 MEPs voting in favor, one voting against, and two abstaining, the parliament moved swiftly to sever relations with Kaili.
According to President Roberta Metsola’s tweet, “The integrity of @Europarl EN comes first and foremost.”
Her view is that she is innocent, I can tell you that, Kaili’s lawyer in Greece, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, stated earlier on Tuesday.
In his first interview with the media, Dimitrakopoulos stated, “She has nothing to do with money from Qatar, nothing, officially and unambiguously.
The credibility of the 27-nation union, according to a number of EU member states, including Germany, is in jeopardy. The assembly has come under fire from several nations, particularly EU member Hungary, who claimed it had lost its moral clout.
Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister of Hungary, posted on Facebook that the European Parliament “will no longer be able to speak against corruption in a legitimate manner.”
Belgian police searched 19 houses and the parliament’s offices from Friday to Monday as part of their investigation, seizing laptops, mobile phones, and cash, some of which was discovered in a bag in a hotel room.
Although Kaili’s identity was quickly leaked to the public, none of the four accused have been legally named.
Belgian prosecutors claimed they had been worried about a Gulf state seeking to sway Brussels for more than four months. Prosecutors would not officially identify the country, but a person familiar with the investigation claimed it was Qatar.
Kaili was asked to resign by many European MPs.
“Given the scope of the corruption scandal, it is the least we could ask of her,” said MEP Manon Aubry, co-chair of the Left group.
“Our colleagues at the European Parliament have been very horrified,” said Manfred Weber of the conservative People Party of Europe. These new developments come with a great burden.
On Monday, the Greek government froze Kaili’s assets in her native country, and the socialist PASOK party in Greece declared that it would oust her from its ranks.
In the crippling debt crisis that gripped Greece from 2010 to 2015, where the nation needed three foreign bailouts, Kaili, a 44-year-old Socialist MEP, emerged as one of a group of young aspirant Greek politicians.