Corruption allegations against European Parliament officials (Qatargate)

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Publication Date 2022-
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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 EP Vice-President and S&D member, Eva Kaili as well as former Member of the European Parliament (MEP), 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.

Belgium's Federal Prosecutor's Office announced on 17 January that Mr Panzeri had signed a so-called repentance agreement and pledged to share information about the cash-for-favour scheme in exchange for a lower sentence. It became known that both Qatar and Morocco were involved in this scheme. On 31 January, the European Parliament voted to lift immunity from a further two members of the European Parliament, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino. Both were eventually detained a few days later.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 11/12/2022: Qatar scandal: What just happened at the European Parliament?
The Spectator, 12/12/2022: Can the EU recover from the Qatar corruption scandal?
Duetsche Welle, 12/12/2022: EU corruption scandal exposes lobbying loopholes
El País, 13/12/2022: ‘Qatargate’: the keys to the scandal rocking the European Parliament
The Conversation, 14/12/2022: Qatar lobbying: European Parliament scandal shows urgent need for tighter regulations
Euro|topics, December 2022: What does the corruption scandal mean for the EU?
Social Europe, 16/12/2022: 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
Malta Today: Editorial, 18/12/2022: Qatargate, and what’s good for the goose
Transparency International: News, 22/12/2022: Transparency International EU calls for an independent inquiry into European Commission Qatargate links
Le Monde, 23/12/2022: 'Qatargate': How members of the European Parliament voted on Qatar
Politico, 26/12/2022: Qatargate? EU parliament's culture of impunity is its own creation
Verfassungsblog, 10/01/2023: Qatargate: The tip of the iceberg?
Deutsche Welle, 14/01/2023: After Qatargate, can the EU Parliament clean up its act?
European Law Blog, 16/01/2023: ‘Qatargate’ exposes a long-denounced inadequacy of the ethics framework for members of the EU institutions
eucrim: News, 17/01/2023: EP Reaction to “Qatargate”
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Dispatches, 18/01/2023: European Parliament: Wrong Response to ‘Qatargate’ Scandal
Foreign Policy: Argument, 19/01/2023: What Europe’s ‘Qatargate’ Is — and Isn’t
France24, 21/01/2023: Corruption, cash and confessions: Who are the key suspects in the Qatargate scandal?
UK in a Changing Europe: Commentary, 31/01/2023: What does the ‘Qatargate’ corruption scandal in the European Parliament tell us about corruption?
EurActiv: Opinion, 13/02/2023: Qatargate, Morocco and the EU
Corporate Europe Observatory, 15/02/2023: Qatargate, authoritarian backlash and Orban’s fleas
European University Institute (EUI): Transnational Democracy Blog, 20/02/2023: Qatargate: A Missed Opportunity to Reform the Union

BBC: News, 11/12/2022: Eva Kaili: Senior EU lawmaker arrested over alleged bribery by Gulf state
Reuters, 11/12/2022: Belgium charges four people in European Parliament corruption probe
EurActiv, 12/12/2022: 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
Le Monde, 13/12/2022: 'Qatargate': Pier Antonio Panzeri, from the Milanese left to European lobbying
Politico, 13/12/2022: The ‘giant’ and the Moroccan envoy tied to the EU Parliament scandal
The Independent (UK), 13/12/2022: Eva Kaili denies receiving cash from Qatar as EU corruption row grows
Associated Press (AP News), 13/12/2022: EU reels as scandal tarnishes parliament’s credibility
Deutsche Welle, 13/12/2022: EU lawmakers remove Eva Kaili from office amid Qatar scandal
Politico, 13/12/2022: Scandal pushes MEPs to review Qatar Airways’ access deal with EU
Euronews, 14/12/2022: Socialist MEPs step down from key roles as European Parliament corruption scandal widens
Kathimerini, 14/12/2022: Judge to decide on detention of EU-Qatar graft scandal suspects
Politico, 14/12/2022: European far-right cheers over Qatar corruption scandal
EurActiv, 14/12/2022: Lawyer claims Eva Kaili followed EU Parliament chief’s orders in Qatar
Reuters, 14/12/2022: EU-Qatar graft scandal uncovered by year-long, pan-Europe probe, Belgium says
Politico, 15/12/2022: EU leaders try to sideline Qatar scandal — while they still can
The Guardian, 15/12/2022: European parliament may ban Qatari officials from premises
Kathimerini, 19/12/2022: Aftershocks in Athens from Qatargate
EurActiv, 20/12/2022: ‘Qatargate’ scandal casts light on ‘untouchable’ EU lawmakers
France24, 22/12/2022: Greek MEP remains in detention as Qatargate investigations continue
Politico, 24/12/2022: Leaks are endangering Qatargate cases, warns Belgian justice minister
The Brussels Times, 27/12/2022: '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
Euronews, 10/01/2023: 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
Times of Malta, 12/01/2023: Roberta Metsola unveils 14-point parliament reform plan after graft scandal
Euronews, 12/01/2023: Corruption scandal: EU Parliament chief vows to review laws and trips in search for undue influence
EurActiv, 12/01/2023: 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
The Guardian, 17/01/2023: Ex-MEP at heart of cash for influence scandal strikes plea bargain
Euronews, 18/01/2023: Ex-MEP charged in EU corruption scandal admits links to Qatar & Morocco, lawyer says
The Guardian, 31/01/2023: EU committee votes to lift immunity from two MEPs amid ‘Qatargate’ inquiry
BBC News, 02/02/2023: Qatargate: Two MEPs lose immunity in corruption case
El País, 03/02/2023: Two members of European Parliament are stripped of immunity over ‘Qatargate’
Kathimerini, 10/02/2023: Belgium detains another MEP in ‘Qatargate’ investigation
TVP World, 14/02/2023: Broader competencies to EP special committee after Qatargate
EUObserver, 15/02/2023: MEPs scramble to declare paid trips post-Qatargate
Politico, 16/02/2023: Qatargate: Corruption scandal widens with more EU lawmakers in frame
Le Monde, 25/02/2023: 'Qatargate' at the European Parliament: Belgian courts investigate payment of 'several million euros'
Politico, 03/03/2023: Qatargate: MEPs Eva Kaili, Marc Tarabella to stay in jail longer
Politico, 06/03/2023: Shock, anger, betrayal: Inside the Qatargate-hit Socialist group

S&D EP Group: Press Release, 09/12/2022: Zero tolerance for corruption, S&Ds react to media reports on 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))
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/12/2022: 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
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/12/2022: 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
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)
European Parliament: Press Release, 15/12/2022: Corruption scandal: MEPs insist on reforms for transparency and accountability
European Parliament: Press Release, 02/01/2023: EP President launches procedure for two waivers of immunity
EPP EP Group: Newsroom, 13/02/2023: Qatargate: Don’t abuse NGOs for foreign interference

Wikipedia: Qatar corruption scandal at the European Parliament

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