European Parliament VP arrested for corruption previously accused Poland of ‘authoritarianism’

Socialist lawmaker Eva Kaili in the Greek parliament. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, who was arrested on Friday on suspicion of having participated in money laundering and corruption involving the state of Qatar, has previously accused the Polish government of an “alarming turn towards authoritarianism” and recently praised Qatar as a leader in promoting labor rights. 

In 2016, Kaili criticized the Polish government for the fact it took action against the illegal election of two constitutional court justices ahead of schedule by the previous parliamentary majority in 2015, and for the fact that the ruling party ensured there was pluralism in the media by removing opposition influence over public broadcasters and newspapers. She demanded the use of Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty against Poland involving sanctions and the suspension of voting rights.

Polish social media users were keen to remind Kaili of her stance on Poland back in 2016.

Kaili’s stance on Qatar was radically different. She participated in a European Parliament debate ahead of the FIFA World Cup in a country accused of tolerating the virtual slavery of migrant workers and paying them far less than domestic workers. The European Parliament resolution highlighted these practices and also the high number of deaths of migrant workers responsible for building the stadiums in which the World Cup is being held. 

In her speech at the parliament, Kaili said that Qatar is an example of “sports diplomacy that led to a historic transformation, which is inspiring the whole of the Arab world.” She praised Qatar for tackling low pay and the lack of workers’ rights. She complained that Qatar is facing persistent discrimination, claiming those who engage in dialog with it are accused of corruption. 

Kaili was arrested in Brussels over the weekend on suspicion of corruption in which Qatar is suspected to have been involved. A search of the MEP’s home reportedly found bags full of cash. Four other individuals have been detained with regard to this case, including Kaili’s life partner. 

The Greek MEP was suspended from her role as vice-president of the European Parliament by its president, Roberta Metsola, who suspended her with immediate effect; however, she does not have the power to permanently remove Kaili from the top post.

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