Maria Arena’s Untouchable Role in Qatargate Corruption

All the key players in the Qatargate Corruption Scandal had experienced arrest and being released. However, someone who is connected to all of them by different means is not only arrested but also not questioned by Belgian authorities. Maria Arena continues to work unabated in the European Parliament as a socialist MEP. 

This development paints an even darker picture of the conditions that we have seen so far at the heart of the European Union. Maria Arena has not only escaped arrest but also police interrogation So far.  Arena is also known as famously close to former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri. The authorities identified Panzeri as one of the main actors in the corruption. He was also in connection with other actors in the scandal.

According to the investigators, Arena is almost the centre of the corruption circle. However, they still cannot prove whether she was innocently involved in Panzeri’s schemes or whether she was an aware player in the corruption. Arena has defended his innocence from the very start. The Belgian prosecutor’s office has not officially asked for the suspension of his immunity despite the fact that she has close links with the case.

Arena had a very close working connection with Panzeri, the main offender who confessed to the corruption he committed. According to the police,  the Panzeris not only gave him advice but even organised meetings for her. Another suspect in the investigation, Francesco Giorgi, also claimed that Arena was one of the most noteworthy members of the network. In December 2021, Belgian secret services also intercepted a conversation between Panzeri and Arena. 

Moreover, Arena played an active role in stopping the draft resolutions of the European Parliament condemning Qatar. Her name also appears 16 times in the document the investigators discovered on Giorgi’s computer, in which she specifically assisted the “work” conducted for foreign clients in Qatar and Morocco.

Nevertheless, according to Eva Kaili‘s testimony, Panzeri has helped Arena to get a human rights position at the UN. It led to possibly becoming the European Union’s high representative for human rights. Arena also revealed that she was approached for the position in the UN. 

Therefore, Marie Arena is the luckiest one because the authorities have not caught her so far.  Arena’s untouchability from investigation despite her involvement would be a blow to the EU’s credibility. It could be an indication that the Brussels establishment is unwilling to reform. It’s also a reminder that the EU needs more robust ethical standards and more transparency when it comes to its decision-making process.

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