In Brussels, authorities have raided the homes and offices of European Parliament lawmakers, accusing them of accepting bribes from government officials in Qatar. Belgian police have so far arrested four people and recovered hundreds of thousands of euros in cash. Among those arrested is European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili. In the lead-up to the World Cup, Kaili repeatedly defended Qatar against critics who pointed to the monarchy’s dismal record on workers’ rights and its persecution of LGBTQ people. Qatar has denied bribing European officials. Katarina Barley, head of the Socialists and Democrats bloc, on Monday called the scandal a major test of accountability for the European Parliament.
Katarina Barley: “For us, this of course is the greatest possible disaster. We, as the European Parliament, and especially we, as a party and a parliamentary group, have dedicated ourselves to the fight against corruption. And when something like this happens in our own ranks, it is a serious crisis for us.”