In the corridors of the European Parliament, MEP Anna Fotyga, a prominent figure in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, has stirred controversy with her unwavering support for Saudi Arabia. Her stance on various issues related to the kingdom has raised questions about the European Union’s approach to the Middle Eastern nation.
A Vocal Supporter of Saudi Arabia
Anna Fotyga has made her pro-Saudi stance abundantly clear. She has openly criticized the European Union’s arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, arguing that it is counterproductive and ultimately harms the Saudi people. Additionally, she firmly believes that the EU should not interfere in the internal affairs of the kingdom.
In 2019, Fotyga was one of only 12 MEPs who voted against a resolution condemning the Saudi-led coalition’s bombings in Yemen. This resolution also called for an immediate halt to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a position she staunchly opposed.
Furthermore, Fotyga has consistently lobbied against measures aimed at holding Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights abuses. In 2020, she joined 17 other MEPs in voting against a resolution that called for an independent international investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In the same year, Fotyga co-signed a letter to the European Commission urging the lifting of the arms embargo on Saudi Arabia. Her argument rested on the belief that the embargo was counterproductive and detrimental to peace efforts in Yemen.
Anna Fotyga’s advocacy for Saudi Arabia extended beyond the legislative chamber. In 2020, she met with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the European Union to explore avenues for strengthening relations between the EU and the kingdom. This meeting occurred at a critical juncture when the European Union was contemplating imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia due to its human rights record.
Fotyga’s pro-Saudi activities have not gone unnoticed, drawing criticism from human rights organizations. Amnesty International, in particular, has labeled her a “cheerleader for the Saudi government.” They assert that her actions prioritize the interests of the Saudi regime over the rights of its people.
Unclear Influence on European Parliament
The extent to which Anna Fotyga’s pro-Saudi activities have influenced the European Parliament’s approach to Saudi Arabia remains unclear. Nevertheless, her persistent lobbying has unquestionably made it more challenging for the EU to adopt a tough stance against the Saudi government.
Anna Fotyga’s unwavering support for Saudi Arabia has ignited a heated debate within the European Parliament. While she argues that her actions aim to promote dialogue and understanding, her critics accuse her of downplaying the kingdom’s human rights abuses. The impact of her advocacy on the EU’s approach to Saudi Arabia is still uncertain, but it undeniably adds a layer of complexity to the diplomatic relationship between the two entities. The controversy surrounding Fotyga’s pro-Saudi stance underscores the complexities of international diplomacy in the face of human rights concerns.