Arrests of European Parliamentary Officials Suspected of Corruption and Bribery by Qatar

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Publication Date 2022-
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Summary:

Information Guide providing an overview on the corruption and bribery allegations against officials of the European Parliament (EP) over their positions on Qatar - in what became known as Qatargate - as well as the institutional reactions to this case.

Further information:

In early December 2022 Belgian police announced they had arrested and charged four people on suspicion of corruption and bribery, including European Parliament (EP) Vice-President and member of the European Social Democratic Group (S&D), Eva Kaili as well as former Member of the European Parliament (MPE), Pier Antonio Panzeri. An investigation was launched over the alleged reception of cash and gifts from Qatar in exchange for influence in the EP.

In response to the arrests, S&D requested a suspension of all plenary votes related to the Gulf states, including a vote on visa liberalisation with Qatar. EP President Roberta Metsola convened a meeting of the Conference of Presidents to launch procedures according to Article 21 of the Rules of Procedure of the EP, during which time members voted to immediately terminate Eva Kaili's term as Vice-President.

Moreover, Ms Metsola announced on 12 January 2023 a package of fourteen proposals aimed at preventing such practices to ever occur again within the European Parliament.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 11/12/2022: Qatar scandal: What just happened at the European Parliament? https://www.politico.eu/article/eva-kaili-doha-panzeri-qatargate-what-just-happened-at-the-european-parliament/
The Spectator, 12/12/2022: Can the EU recover from the Qatar corruption scandal? https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/can-the-eu-recover-from-the-qatar-corruption-scandal/
Duetsche Welle, 12/12/2022: EU corruption scandal exposes lobbying loopholes https://www.dw.com/en/eu-corruption-scandal-exposes-lobbying-loopholes/a-64072124
El País, 13/12/2022: ‘Qatargate’: the keys to the scandal rocking the European Parliament https://english.elpais.com/international/2022-12-13/qatargate-the-keys-to-the-scandal-that-rocked-the-european-parliament.html
The Conversation, 14/12/2022: Qatar lobbying: European Parliament scandal shows urgent need for tighter regulations https://theconversation.com/qatar-lobbying-european-parliament-scandal-shows-urgent-need-for-tighter-regulations-196515
Euro|topics, December 2022: What does the corruption scandal mean for the EU? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/293219/what-does-the-corruption-scandal-mean-for-the-eu
Social Europe, 16/12/2022: After ‘Qatargate’: how to protect democracy in the EU https://www.socialeurope.eu/after-qatargate-how-to-protect-democracy-in-the-eu
Politico, 17/12/2022: Anatomy of a scandal: How ‘Qatargate’ crisis shook EU to its core https://www.politico.eu/article/scandal-qatargate-crisis-european-union-corruption-crisis/
Malta Today: Editorial, 18/12/2022: Qatargate, and what’s good for the goose https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/comment/editorial/120345/qatargate_and_whats_good_for_the_goose
Transparency International: News, 22/12/2022: Transparency International EU calls for an independent inquiry into European Commission Qatargate links https://transparency.eu/independent-inquiry-into-commission-qatargate-links/
Le Monde, 23/12/2022: 'Qatargate': How members of the European Parliament voted on Qatar https://www.lemonde.fr/en/les-decodeurs/article/2022/12/23/qatargate-how-members-of-the-european-parliament-voted-on-qatar_6008799_8.html
Politico, 26/12/2022: Qatargate? EU parliament's culture of impunity is its own creation https://euobserver.com/rule-of-law/156566
Verfassungsblog, 10/01/2023: Qatargate: The tip of the iceberg? https://verfassungsblog.de/qatargate-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/
Deutsche Welle, 14/01/2023: After Qatargate, can the EU Parliament clean up its act? https://p.dw.com/p/4M9RB
European Law Blog, 16/01/2023: ‘Qatargate’ exposes a long-denounced inadequacy of the ethics framework for members of the EU institutions https://europeanlawblog.eu/2023/01/16/qatargate-exposes-a-long-denounced-inadequacy-of-the-ethics-framework-for-members-of-the-eu-institutions/

News
BBC: News, 11/12/2022: Eva Kaili: Senior EU lawmaker arrested over alleged bribery by Gulf state https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63921002
Reuters, 11/12/2022: Belgium charges four people in European Parliament corruption probe https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/belgium-charges-four-people-european-parliament-corruption-probe-2022-12-11/
EurActiv, 12/12/2022: EU Parliament suspends work with Qatar as MEPs demand corruption probe https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-parliament-suspends-work-with-qatar-as-meps-demand-corruption-probe/
The Guardian, 13/12/2022: Greek MEP stripped of EU vice-president role amid Qatar scandal https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/13/eu-vice-president-eva-kaili-faces-stripped-role-amid-qatar-corruption-scandal
Le Monde, 13/12/2022: 'Qatargate': Pier Antonio Panzeri, from the Milanese left to European lobbying https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2022/12/13/qatargate-pier-antonio-panzeri-from-the-milanese-left-to-european-lobbying_6007670_4.html
Politico, 13/12/2022: The ‘giant’ and the Moroccan envoy tied to the EU Parliament scandal https://www.politico.eu/article/qatargate-giant-moroccan-envoy-alleged-scandal-corruption-eu-parliament-antonio-panzeri/
The Independent (UK), 13/12/2022: Eva Kaili denies receiving cash from Qatar as EU corruption row grows https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eva-kaili-qatar-eu-corruption-b2244117.html
Associated Press (AP News), 13/12/2022: EU reels as scandal tarnishes parliament’s credibility https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-politics-european-union-business-europe-61c134d03b5617d54a2861fc0d7b4d38
Deutsche Welle, 13/12/2022: EU lawmakers remove Eva Kaili from office amid Qatar scandal https://p.dw.com/p/4KrEU
Politico, 13/12/2022: Scandal pushes MEPs to review Qatar Airways’ access deal with EU https://www.politico.eu/article/scandal-european-parliament-qatar-airways/
Euronews, 14/12/2022: Socialist MEPs step down from key roles as European Parliament corruption scandal widens https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/12/13/socialist-meps-step-down-from-key-role-as-european-parliament-corruption-scandal-widens
Kathimerini, 14/12/2022: Judge to decide on detention of EU-Qatar graft scandal suspects https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1200238/judge-to-decide-on-detention-of-eu-qatar-graft-scandal-suspects/
Politico, 14/12/2022: European far-right cheers over Qatar corruption scandal https://www.politico.eu/article/qatar-corruption-scandal-far-right-european-parliament/
EurActiv, 14/12/2022: Lawyer claims Eva Kaili followed EU Parliament chief’s orders in Qatar https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/lawyer-claims-eva-kaili-followed-eu-parliament-chiefs-orders-in-qatar/
Reuters, 14/12/2022: EU-Qatar graft scandal uncovered by year-long, pan-Europe probe, Belgium says https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/judge-decide-detention-eu-qatar-graft-scandal-suspects-2022-12-14/
Politico, 15/12/2022: EU leaders try to sideline Qatar scandal — while they still can https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-leaders-sideline-qatar-scandal-corruption-election-european-council-euco-summit/
The Guardian, 15/12/2022: European parliament may ban Qatari officials from premises https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/15/european-parliament-may-ban-qatari-officials-from-premises
Kathimerini, 19/12/2022: Aftershocks in Athens from Qatargate https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1200530/aftershocks-in-athens-from-qatargate/
EurActiv, 20/12/2022: ‘Qatargate’ scandal casts light on ‘untouchable’ EU lawmakers https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/qatargate-scandal-casts-light-on-untouchable-eu-lawmakers/
France24, 22/12/2022: Greek MEP remains in detention as Qatargate investigations continue https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20221222-greek-mep-remains-in-detention-as-qatargate-investigations-continue
Politico, 24/12/2022: Leaks are endangering Qatargate cases, warns Belgian justice minister https://www.politico.eu/article/qatargate-vincent-van-quickenborne-leaks-corruption-belgian-justice-minister-warning/
The Brussels Times, 27/12/2022: 'It reminds me of a Tintin cartoon': MEP compares Qatargate to classic Belgian comic https://www.brusselstimes.com/341845/it-reminds-me-of-a-tintin-cartoon-mep-compares-qatargate-to-classic-belgian-comic
EurActiv, 02/01/2023: Qatargate: EU parliament chief moves to lift two MEPs’ immunity https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/qatargate-eu-parliament-chief-moves-to-lift-two-meps-immunity/
Euronews, 10/01/2023: Qatargate: Judge has 'no evidence' against MEP Eva Kaili, her lawyer says https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2023/01/10/qatargate-judge-has-no-evidence-against-mep-eva-kaili-her-lawyer-says
Politico, 11/01/2023: EU Parliament chief readies plan to prevent Qatargate 2.0 https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-parliament-roberta-metsola-transparency-qatargate-corruption-scandal/
Times of Malta, 12/01/2023: Roberta Metsola unveils 14-point parliament reform plan after graft scandal https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/roberta-metsola-unveils-14point-parliament-reform-plan-graft-scandal.1006840
Euronews, 12/01/2023: Corruption scandal: EU Parliament chief vows to review laws and trips in search for undue influence https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2023/01/12/corruption-scandal-eu-parliament-chief-vows-to-review-laws-and-trips-in-search-for-undue-i
EurActiv, 12/01/2023: EU Parliament head sets out transparency plan in response to ‘Qatargate’ scandal https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-parliament-head-sets-out-transparency-plan-in-response-to-qatargate-scandal/
EUObserver, 14/12/2023: EU Parliament to present 14 point anti-corruption reform https://euobserver.com/eu-political/156594

Official
S&D EP Group: Press Release, 09/12/2022: Zero tolerance for corruption, S&Ds react to media reports on Belgian investigation https://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/zero-tolerance-corruption-sds-react-media-reports-belgian-investigation
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for Resolution on on suspicions of corruption from Qatar and the broader need for transparency and accountability in the European institutions (2022/3012(RSP)) https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=en&reference=2022/3012(RSP)
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/12/2022: EP President Metsola on the ongoing investigations by Belgian authorities https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221212IPR64532/ep-president-metsola-on-the-ongoing-investigations-by-belgian-authorities
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/12/2022: Eva Kaili no longer Vice-President of the European Parliament https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221213IPR64610/eva-kaili-no-longer-vice-president-of-the-european-parliament
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/12/2022: Corruption allegations: MEPs call for full internal investigation https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221213IPR64605/corruption-allegations-meps-call-for-full-internal-investigation
EPRS: At a Glance, 13/12/2022: Parliament votes on termination of the office of a Vice-President https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_ATA(2022)739260
European Parliament: Statement of the Conference of Presidents on the ongoing criminal investigations in corruption schemes involving Members and staff of the European Parliament (13 December 2022) https://www.europarl.europa.eu/resources/library/media/20221213RES64612/20221213RES64612.pdf
European Parliament: Press Release, 15/12/2022: Corruption scandal: MEPs insist on reforms for transparency and accountability https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221212IPR64541/
European Parliament: Press Release, 02/01/2023: EP President launches procedure for two waivers of immunity https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230102IPR65402/

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