The European Parliament revises its proposal to abolish the visa requirement for Qatar | Abroad
The European Parliament is considering an opinion to abolish the visa requirement for travelers from Qatar and Kuwait. Parliament came under heavy fire last weekend as some members may have been bribed by Qatar.
One of the main suspects in the corruption scandal is Greek parliamentarian Eva Kaili. She is a member of the Social Democratic Group and one of the 14 Vice-Presidents of Parliament.
According to his colleagues, Kaili lobbied vigorously for the lifting of visa requirements for travelers from Qatar and Kuwait to the EU. The parliamentary committee responsible for this theme therefore recommended this measure to the entire parliament. MPs will vote later this week. The proposal then had to be assessed by EU member states.
But so far, none of that is happening. Roberta Metsola, speaker of parliament, announced Monday to loud applause that the plan would come back to parliamentary committee. “We must ensure that this process has not been influenced by corruption,” said Erik Marquardt, the MEP in charge of the file.
Twenty house searches in the case
The European Parliament has come under heavy fire over the scandal. On Friday, the Belgian public prosecutor (OM) carried out sixteen home searches. In addition, the public prosecutor’s office arrested four people, including MEPs. Twenty searches were carried out, including one in an office of Parliament.
Belgian authorities do not want to confirm who the suspects are and what country they come from. But the Belgian media write that everything points in the direction of Qatar. The Gulf state is said to bribe parliamentarians to polish the country’s reputation in the European Parliament. Qatar has so far denied all the allegations.
Earlier today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacted to the corruption scandal. She pleaded for an ethics committee that would draw up uniform rules of conduct for all European institutions. The European Commission already has such an ethics committee, but Von der Leyen also wants it for the European Parliament, among others.
The credibility of the EU undermined
The scandal puts the EU in a bad light. Today ministers from several member states said the EU’s credibility had been significantly damaged by the scandal.
Several senior EU officials also spoke on Monday. Von der Leyen’s colleague and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke of “very worrying news”. President Metsola opened Monday’s plenary debate with a statement on events in her parliament. “I think it’s no exaggeration to say that this has been one of the longest days of my career,” she began.
She also spoke of the “enemies of democracy” who “attack” the European Parliament and European democracy.
Improvement: Previously, the title stated that the proposal was intended to facilitate travel to Qatar, but it is precisely for travelers from Qatar who wish to travel to the EU. The title has since been changed.
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