Is Brussels right when the sheikhs of the oil-rich Emirates knock on its doors with their secret desires? Or are parts of the EU institutions up for sale?
After the bribery scandal became known, in the center of which was the Greek European Union Deputy Speaker Eva Kayley (44) Listed, every stone is now turned in Brussels. Doubt: More politicians and officials can be bribed. This is bad news, especially for the sheikh of Qatar Airways. Because: the aviation agreement negotiated with the EU Commission that was intended to give Qataris free access to Europe’s most important airports must now be put on hold for a long time – and could end in a crash landing.
Investigators from the Belgian judiciary seem to have a bit of a suspicion: the Sahrawi nation is said to have tried to influence decisions in the European Parliament with large gifts of money and goods.
If they provide evidence of this, then the organizers of the World Cup will be faced with much more than just the Katar Cup. Then everything is checked.
“The Attack on European Democracy”
The problem with Qatar Airways: The aviation agreement has yet to be passed to parliament. But after finding the pile of bribes, that’s out of the question at the moment. Many members of the European Parliament are boiling with anger.
Jens Gizecki (51), transport policy spokesperson for CDU/CSU deputies and a deputy on the EU Transport Committee, told BILD: “The events of the past few days are an attack on European democracy. That is why everyone should now focus on a comprehensive clarification.”
His promise: “The aviation agreement negotiated by the EU Commission will now be closely scrutinized. Parliament will certainly not approve the agreement, but it will demand maximum transparency.”
Air transport agreements make sense in principle, for example to promote competition. But: “With Qatar you cannot go back to business as usual. That is why the Council, Commission and Parliament must critically review the entire agreement.”
Background: The Open Skies agreement provides for unrestricted access for Qatar Airways in phases from the winter of 2024/25. The first stages are already being implemented. Qatar Airways is serving Dusseldorf for the first time in a few weeks.
It shouldn’t stay like this. According to Jan-Christoph Oetjen (44), transport policy spokesperson for the FDP and vice-chairman of the transport committee, the EU-Qatar deal would explode if there was evidence of illicit money flows: “If it turns out that Qatar has any influence here, don’t The agreement can remain in effect.
The commission sold the deal as global
Transport committee chair Karima Delly, 43, wants to send the EU Commission a thick catalog of questions first. Scrutiny of the deal is complicated because everything was intertwined in 2016 under EU President Jean-Claude Juncker (68). Formal negotiations began in 2019.
Recently, the Romanian Commissioner for Mobility and Transportation, Adina Flian (54), has been in charge of the Ursula von der Leyen Commission (64). Striking: The deal hailed in the skies after it was signed in 2021, bashing about a “global standard for future air traffic agreements.”
It was also important to the commissioner that the first stage should begin immediately: “The agreement still has (…) to be ratified before it formally enters into force, but it will be implemented as soon as it is signed today,” they declared their authority.
Qatar denies all allegations of illegal influence and, according to Handelsblatt, suspects a plot by a rival desert state. The presumption of innocence also applies to EU Commission negotiators.
Lufthansa criticized Brussels from the start
The main question remains: Will Sahara Airlines flatten European competition? Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, 56, sees the EU deal with Qatar as a prime example of unequal – and therefore unfair – global competition. Because: State carriers from the Middle East and Asia will be supported by government subsidies.
“In the case of Qatar, to our surprise, the European Union lifted all traffic restrictions and approved all destinations and the full number of flights,” Spohr said in Die Zeit.
In addition, Lufthansa will have to refuel expensive synthetic fuels in the future. “Our competitors from other continents populate whatever they want in their centers of origin. Not only has the environment gained nothing, but Europe as a location has lost a lot.”
It basically means the accusation: the European Union is betraying European companies. Hence European interests.
It is not clear whether the review of the Qatar deals in Brussels will also affect the company’s sports sponsorship activities in Europe. According to “SPORT BILD” information, Qatar Airways wants to extend the expired contract with its German partner, FC Bayern Munich, with at most lower terms. Separation is also possible.
According to a report by RAN, the crucial talks are scheduled for early 2023.