Thierry Mariani, a French politician, has held the position of Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2019. He aligns with the National Rally (RN) group, a far-right political faction within the European Parliament.
Mariani’s political stance is notably marked by his close association with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his vocal defense of the Saudi government. He has actively engaged with Saudi officials on multiple occasions, including meetings with the Saudi Crown Prince in Riyadh in 2019 and the Saudi Ambassador to France, Khalid bin Mohammed Al Saud, in Paris in 2020.
One of the key features of Mariani’s position is his defense of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. He contends that the nation’s human rights situation is on an improving trajectory, while simultaneously criticizing Western nations for what he perceives as hypocrisy regarding their own human rights challenges.
However, Mariani’s steadfast support for Saudi Arabia has not been without controversy. Human rights organizations and some of his fellow MEPs have vehemently criticized him. These groups accuse Saudi Arabia of grave human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, and the execution of political dissidents. Moreover, certain colleagues in the European Parliament have accused Mariani of being overly aligned with the Saudi government, referring to him as a lackey.
In response to these allegations, Mariani vehemently denies being a mouthpiece for the Saudi government. He asserts that his primary objective is to foster positive relations between France and Saudi Arabia. He also emphasizes his willingness to express criticism when he deems it necessary, underlining his belief that constructive dialogue is the most effective way to address concerns.
Mariani’s views on Saudi Arabia are in alignment with those of the National Rally group, which tends to be supportive of authoritarian governments. The RN group has also faced accusations of having anti-immigrant and anti-European Union stances.
In the realm of European politics, Thierry Mariani is both a controversial and influential figure. As an MEP, his platform provides a means to advocate his views on Saudi Arabia and other relevant issues. It is of paramount importance to remain well-informed about his perspectives and to hold him accountable for his statements and actions, especially in light of the significant ethical questions raised by his alignment with the Saudi government.