QATARGATE - European Parliament to review deal with Qatar Airways as Eva Kaili scandal deepens

Eva Kaili European Parliament

European parliamentarians have demanded an investigation into whether Qatar influenced the air transport agreement which allowed Qatar Airways unlimited access to the European Union market and are looking for ways to stop the landmark deal, Politico said.

The move came after the EU has been in the midst of accusations since Friday that Qatar bought influence in the European Parliament, the report said.

European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili, who served as a member of the Parliament since 2014, is the biggest name to be arrested and several hundred thousand euros were seized from three different places during raids.

The European Parliament prosecutors’ office said in a statement that it has been working for more than four months in a probe looking at corruption, money laundering and criminal organisation.

The EU-Qatar aviation negotiations were criticised by European airlines as they feared unfair competition from Qatar Airway’s connections to destinations throughout Asia and by Qatar Airways’ direct Gulf competitors, whose connections to Europe remain capped.

Karima Delli, chair of Parliament’s transport committee which negotiated the deal, raised the alarm in an e-mail and warned that Qatar may have interfered in Parliament’s internal deliberations on the agreement, the report said.

“Given the recent developments, granting the consent to this agreement at this stage could be difficult until it is established that conditions were transparent and unbiased," she wrote in a letter to the political group coordinators.

Delli said that the committee would work with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola’s internal investigations by declassifying documents and statements “related to Qatar, if they are requested."

She said she was shocked by the revelations of payments made by Qatar and demanded full light on the interference and corruption allegedly organised by Qatar.

The deal was met with criticism earlier too.

“The agreement with Qatar is neither in the interests of European employees nor of the European aviation industry,” Maria-Pascaline Murtha, board member of German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit, said last year.

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