Now Reading
Qatar Airways Air Transport Deal With Europe in Jeopardy Following ‘Bags of Cash’ Bribery Scandal Revelations

Qatar Airways Air Transport Deal With Europe in Jeopardy Following ‘Bags of Cash’ Bribery Scandal Revelations

A landmark air transport deal between the European Union and Qatar is in jeopardy of collapsing following a ‘bags of cash’ bribery scandal that has rocked the EU and has resulted in the arrest of at least one MEP by Belgian police, as well as numerous other individuals linked to the corruption investigation.

Greek MEP Eva Kaili has been remanded in custody after Belgian prosecutors claimed they had found ‘bags of cash’ in her apartment. Prosecutors are investigating claims that the small but incredibly wealthy Persian Gulf state made ‘substantial’ payments in order to influence MEPs.

The European Parliament has already moved to delay the implementation of visa-free travel rules for visitors to the bloc from Qatar and Kuwait following the bribery allegations being made public.

Announcing the decision, parliamentary rapporteur Erik Marquardt said Europe would not “proceed towards visa liberalisation for Qatar” until lawmakers could be reassured that the deal had not been “influenced by corruption”.

“There must be strict consequences for those who bribed and for those who have been bribed,” Marquardt continued.

A delay could also be slapped on ratifying a historic air transport agreement signed between the EU and Qatar last year. Qatar hailed the agreement, which would have given flag carrier Qatar Airways free and unrestricted access to every EU market.

Some elements of Europe’s aviation industry slammed the agreement, however, saying the agreement gave Qatar Airways an unfair advantage.

On Tuesday, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola warned that European “democracy is under attack” following the bribery allegations, accusing unnamed “autocratic third countries” of ‘weaponising’ members of the European Parliament.

Chief executive of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker had said last year that he was ‘convinced’ that his airline convinced would play an “ever-increasing role in the further development of the European air transport industry.”

The wide-sweeping agreement, the first reached between the EU and a Gulf State, now hangs in the balance as police and lawmakers continue their investigations.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.