On 9 December, Belgian authorities revealed that several individuals linked to the European Parliament (EP), including Vice-President Eva Kaili, had been arrested as a result of an investigation into corruption, money laundering and criminal organisation.
The politicians are suspected to have been involved with the World Cup host Qatar.
Consequently, MEPs voted on 13 December to strip Eva Kaili of her EP Vice-President position. Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, and other MEPs denounced the corruption allegations and emphasised the need for more transparency and accountability across the EU institutions. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged for an EU-wide ethics body to be constituted in order to monitor the upholding of integrity rules within the institutions.
Following the allegations, MEPs voted on a resolution on the matter on 15 December. The resolution calls for the suspension of all work established with Qatar as well as for restrictions on third-country contributions to MEPs and political parties at EU level. MEPs also further stressed the need to implement an independent committee to examine corruption cases by third countries as well as a special committee dedicated to ensuring transparency. Furthermore, the resolution states that MEPs would now have to register their assets through an asset declaration at the beginning and end of their mandates.
The suspension of work with Qatar was voted just three days before Parliament was expected to vote on the introduction of a visa-free travel agreement with third countries, including Qatar.