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Some members of the European Parliament have ended up at the center of an investigation by the Brussels prosecutor: the accusation is that of having accepted bribes to influence decisions on Qatar. Above all, the group of Socialists is involved. Yesterday, Friday 9 December, four Italians were arrested, including the former MEP of the Democratic Party and Article 1 Antonio Panzeri and the current general secretary of the international organization of trade unions Ituc Luca Visentini. But among the people involved there is also Eva Kaili, vice president of the Eurochamber: here’s who she is and what’s happening.
According to the Brussels prosecutor’s office, a Gulf country would have attempted to influence the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament “by paying large sums of money or offering large gifts to third parties who hold important political or strategic positions within the European Parliament “. The prosecutor has not disclosed the name of the country, but according to the Belgian newspapers Le Soir and Knack it would be Qatar, which is currently hosting the soccer World Cup.
Eva Kaili was also investigated
Eva Kaili, vice president of the Eurochamber, also ended up under accusation: the Greek socialist exponent was stopped, interrogated and her home was searched. “The house of Greek Social Democrat Eva Kaili, Vice-President of the European Parliament, has been raided. Her partner was intercepted in the morning. Both are under investigation for corruption”, wrote the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. Kaili was expelled from her party, Pasok, and suspended from the Socialists group in the Eurochamber. “The Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament has taken the decision to suspend MEP Eva Kaili’s membership of the S&D group with immediate effect, in response to ongoing investigations,” the group said.
Who is Eva Kaili
Eva Kaili is 44 years old: she was born on October 26, 1978 in Thessaloniki, Greece. As told by Corriere della Sera, before dedicating yourself to politics you worked as a television journalist for the Greek broadcaster Mega Channel. She was elected to the Greek Parliament in 2007. The newspaper reports that she was “public affairs adviser and president of the Center for Gender Equality of the Greek Interior Ministry for some years”. In 2014 you were elected in Strasbourg and then reconfirmed in 2019. According to the Corriere, you “have always been very active in the intergroup of the under 40s. Your responsibilities range from corporate social responsibility to information technology and telecommunications. You also replace the president Roberta Metsola, when necessary, for contacts with European business associations, with multilateral (non-security) bodies, including the UN and the WTO, and for the Middle East ”. Her partner is Francesco Giorgi, from Milan, parliamentary assistant to Antonio Panzeri in the last legislature and also involved in the investigation.
The intervention in the Chamber of 21 November
One of Kaili’s last speeches in the Chamber is that of last November 21st. A debate was staged in Strasbourg on the situation of human rights and workers in Qatar, after the controversy over the treatment of foreign employees who contributed to the construction of the stadiums for the World Cup. Kaili defended the Gulf country’s progress in terms of rights. “Today the World Cup in Qatar is proof of how sports diplomacy can bring about a historic transformation of a country with reforms that have inspired the Arab world – he said, according to reports from Agi, in a passage from his speech -. I said Qatar is at the forefront of workers’ rights, abolishing kafala and reducing the minimum wage. Despite the challenges that even European companies are denying themselves in enforcing these laws, they have committed to a vision by choice and have opened up to the world. However, some here are calling for discrimination against them. They mistreat them and accuse anyone who talks to them or engages in confrontation of corruption. But still, they take their gas. However, they have their own companies that make billions. I was taught Greek and I remind all of us that we have thousands of dead as a result of our failure to legally migrate to Europe. We can promote our values but we don’t have the moral right to lecture for cheap media attention. And we never impose our way, we respect them, even without LNG. They are a new generation of intelligent and highly educated people. They helped us reduce tension with Turkey. They helped us with Afghanistan to save activists, children, women. They helped us. And they are peace negotiators. They are good neighbors and partners. We can help each other to overcome shortcomings. They have already achieved the impossible”. Last November 1, moreover, Kaili had met the Qatari Labor Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, “welcoming the commitment” of Doha “for workers’ rights”.