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Roberta Metsola on Qatargate: It’s terrible to wake up

Speaker of Parliament about the money in the bag: “Terrible news we must wake up to”

European Parliament President Roberta Mizzola has had to deal with the corruption scandal that has become known as...

Brussels On December 9, 2022, police carried out dawn raids in 20 locations around Brussels. Eight people were arrested on charges of accepting bribes from Qatar and Morocco. They included senior union leaders and several members of the European Parliament.

European Parliament President Roberta Mitsola was at her home in Malta when she received the news.

-The corruption scandal was terrible to wake up to. “I had to make some very difficult decisions, including lifting the political immunity of the accused,” says Mitsola.

Arrest of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament

She sits cross-legged on a high chair in the European Parliament’s largest meeting hall, with its domed ceiling and glass wall overlooking Brussels. It’s just nine o’clock in the morning, and the sharp sunlight mercilessly reveals how difficult it is to wash the wall of windows on the twelfth floor.

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The most prominent detainee was Eva Kayle, vice president of Mitsula. The police arrested her father while he was trying to escape. He had a bag containing hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.

– The full picture of the credibility of the European Union and the European Parliament… Everything depends on how the crisis is dealt with, says Mitsola.

“I have no choice”

Kylie’s political immunity has been lifted by the European Parliament. The same applies to the other arrested parliamentarian, Belgian Marc Tarabella. Roberta Mezzola became the one who dealt with the crisis. She quickly decided to get tough with her colleagues.

– It wasn’t about courage. She says: I had no choice.

In February, Roberta Mitsola presented 14 points with proposals to increase transparency in Parliament. Longer quarantines for outgoing MEPs, forcing guests to announce who they will meet in Parliament, and requiring politicians to declare other incomes were among these.


But just one year after the corruption scandal broke, the results are no longer impressive. Some transparency proposals were approved, but many were significantly watered down.

The European Parliament never appointed its own investigation committee into what happened. Politicians still do not have to report other sources of income. Even parliamentarians convicted of corruption are entitled to a good pension.

The arrests that took place on that December morning were sensational, but they seem to have been quickly forgotten in the European Parliament. Memory is short.

Even Eva Kylie and Mark Tarabella Vote for New rules. In next year’s EU elections, we will see whether voters think that is enough.

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Have you started thinking about the EU elections yet? What is your image of Parliament? Live chat with Susanna Kierkegaard opens at 09.00, but you can already submit entries now.

  • Susanna Kierkegaard


    Unfortunately we don’t have time to chat more today. Many thanks to all who participated. It is fun to see that the topic interacts!

    I hope you have a lovely week.

  • I think the biggest problem is our visionless politicians. Sweden’s European policy has been non-existent since we became members.

    If we had pursued an aggressive policy and built alliances, our influence would have been much greater and we would have had the opportunity to influence how the European Union developed. Then we will be able to push forward issues such as corruption within the European Union and make others listen to us.

    Instead, we have become a marginal state that other member states view mostly as an automated teller machine.


    truly. There is a short-termism in Swedish policy towards the EU, which unfortunately makes it difficult to be heard when we want something.

  • What is a challenge in the European Union is that the media is generally bad at following what is happening in the European Union.

    You stick to following the speakers in the US Congress, but by keeping track of the EU regulations set in 2018 that are now being implemented and the 20% electricity tax hike, you more or less magically fall asleep.

    70% of laws were enacted in the European Union. A lot of time is devoted to covering the political game in Sweden through an endless number of podcasts, but if the EU…

    What do the Swedish parties want from the European Union? More federal coordination or less? How will Ukraine’s EU membership affect power relations in the EU? etc.

    Wake up media!


    Totally agree! In fact, the Swedish journalists received a mild rebuke from Mitsola. The number of Brussels dogs is decreasing, and we are bad at writing about the EU except when it is negative. Even in those cases, we usually write too late, when the laws are essentially ready.

  • Yes, it is a very important election in 2024 and to break the development in the European Union that has become. In Europe we are living with increasing inequality and increasing racism. A left-wing majority is required in this right-wing European Union. If there is to be any change, more solidarity is needed. Less selfishness. Destiny. Greater security for employees, less power for capital.


  • Good morning Susanna!

    Although Mitsola’s 14 proposals did not help in the fight against corruption, how can we, the ones who vote, influence it?

    There must be stricter rules and greater controls to prevent this corruption.

    People who have a lot will always want more, and greed increases as power increases.

    But, how can we influence his prevention, when even Mitsula could not…..

    Admiring her courage.


    Hello BJ! Honestly, I don’t really know. Obviously you can always try to make it an issue in the EU election campaign, emailing MEPs and asking how they can get involved. You can also look up how different Swedes vote (I should do that, I haven’t had the time yet).

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