EP President to Al Mayadeen: Qatar-related work suspended
President of the European Parliament asserts to Al Mayadeen envoy that the Parliament has suspended since last Monday the legislative work related to Qatar until judicial investigations provide clarity.
The European Parliament "has suspended talks with Qatar on granting Qataris visa-free entry to European Union countries," European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said in response to a question by the Al Mayadeen envoy to Brussels on Thursday.
The response "was immediate and firm, as we have stopped since last Monday negotiations with Qatar on exempting Qatari citizens from entry visas to European Union countries, and we handed this file to a special investigation committee to see if a potential illicit influence campaign by Qatar had occurred or if there were any pressures on European parliamentarians in this field," Metsola said.
"The investigation committee formed a few days ago will investigate every file that may be suspected of involvement in corruption with Qatar," the President of the European Parliament stressed to Al Mayadeen, stressing that "the discussion is still ongoing on the air transport agreement with Qatar, and we will later take the appropriate decision in this regard."
Immediate suspension of legislative work related to Qatar
Earlier in the day, the European Parliament called for "temporarily blocking access to parliament for representatives of Qatar's interests" and decided to "suspend the work on all legislative files related to the Gulf state", at the end of a week overshadowed by a corruption scandal at the heart of the European establishment.
In the resolution passed on Thursday, the EU MPs almost unanimously adopted the resolution (541 votes were in favor and just two were against, while three refrained from voting) and said they were "appalled" by the possible involvement in corruption.
This comes after Metsola said on Monday that democracy "is under attack" after Belgian investigators charged a senior Greek MEP with corruption, money laundering, and involvement with a criminal organization.
Read: Belgium detains 4 over suspected corruption at EU Parliament
Greek MEP Eva Kaili was charged with corruption on Sunday and remains in custody after Belgian investigators discovered "bags of cash" in her home.
Kaili was suspended as Vice-President of the European Parliament over "corruption allegations involving Qatar" at the World Cup.
Kaili's lawyer insisted on her innocence after she was imprisoned in Brussels, since last Sunday, on corruption charges, as part of an investigation by a Belgian judge regarding large sums that Qatar may have paid to influence the EU policy debates.
Belgian police have been investigating alleged corruption allegations that figures working on behalf of Qatar paid considerable bribes to European politicians in order to influence the policy debate in Brussels.
This affair is "shameful and intolerable" and "very seriously" damages the Parliament's reputation, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Sunday.
Investigators have for several months "suspected a Gulf country of influencing the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament, and this by transferring consequential sums of money or giving sizeable gifts to third parties with a significant and/or strategic position within the European Parliament," the prosecutor's office said.
Allegedly, according to the police, this was done "by paying large sums of money or offering large gifts to third parties with a significant political and/or strategic position within the European Parliament."