Press play to listen to this article
Expressed by artificial intelligence.
ATHENS — No one wants anything to do with Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP at the center of the Qatar corruption scandal — and that includes her own party leader, who believes the former vice-president of the European Parliament was all way closer to the Conservatives.
Shortly after Belgian police announced Kaili’s indictment, the Pasok party led by Nikos Androulakis expelled her and accused her of acting as a ‘Trojan horse’ for the ruling conservative party. , New Democracy.
In an interview, Androulakis said there had been no contact between Kaili and the party since July, and “I even instructed the party secretary never to invite him to the Central Committee.”
“We were never close,” he said, “but things changed quickly after July 26.”
This is the day that Androulakis, also an MEP, went to the Supreme Court of Greece and filed a complaint for an attempt to hack into his phone using the spyware Predator, detected during a check in the European Parliament.
Days later, it was also revealed that his phone had been monitored by the Greek spy service (EYP), a move the government called “legal” but flawed.
Two government officials – EYP chief Panagiotis Kontoleon and government chief of staff Grigoris Dimitriadis (who is Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ nephew) – resigned over the spyware incident, which has since morphed into a major scandal with dozens of civil servants, ministers, journalists and businessmen allegedly under surveillance, and the political opposition and independent bodies blaming the government for covering it up.
Androulakis said that within hours of his court visit, Kaili gave an interview saying that surveillance is common and occurs in many European countries. She also said it happened to her and it was not a serious problem.
This, Androulakis said, was the exact same “line used by New Democracy”, and “we knew very well that his phone had been checked with mine and nothing had been found”.
Later, Kaili, who was a member of the European Parliament’s spyware inquiry – the PEGA commission – said the commission should not travel to Greece as part of its investigation.
“She kept trying to downplay the issue,” Androulakis said.
When it came to voting for the new Secretary General of the European Parliament, a powerful post overseeing the institution’s expansive bureaucracy, Kaili did not join the rest of the Socialists and Democrats in abstaining but voted for Alessandro Chiocchetti, the speaker of the center-right Parliament Roberta Metsola. leader.
“I cannot say that his actions were guided by New Democracy, but it is obvious that politically, over the past few months, his behavior has in fact been to the benefit of New Democracy,” Androulakis said.
Panic and pettiness?
New Democracy denies Kaili was close to them, with Prime Minister Mitsotakis accusing Androulakis of “panic and pettiness”.
“Kaili has been in Pasok almost since she was a child, she would never give up… she is an active force,” said an official of the European People’s Party, of which New Democracy is a member. “EPP never approached her, she didn’t approach them either. There are rumors in Greece that New Democracy approached her, but those are rumours. They are baseless. It was not not even a political flirtation.
Yet in recent years Kaili had apparently moved closer to the conservatives.
“A young woman and a very good friend, protagonist of European affairs, was appointed Vice-President of the European Parliament yesterday! Congratulations,” tweeted Grigoris Dimitriadis, who recently resigned as chief of staff of the conservative government in Athens.
“Kaili has very good relations and has managed to win the esteem of the New Democracy party, even that of Kyriakos Mitsotakis,” pro-government Greek newspaper Proto Thema wrote in a profile. “The Prime Minister fought for her election as vice-president.”
Pasok opponents have a question for Androulakis: why didn’t he kick her out?
“Expelling someone from Pasok can be an easy process, but it is very difficult to do the same thing to political groups in the European Parliament, especially if you are vice-president,” he explained. In addition to this, she held a leadership position on the PEGA committee.
“We were afraid that this would be perceived… as a sign of weakness in relation to the outcome of the report [of the committee]. We didn’t want to give that impression.
However, Androulakis said he had a meeting with S&D leader Iratxe García Pérez in late September during which he discussed Kaili’s behavior and demanded drastic action be taken. Androulakis also informed the group that Kaili would no longer be on the Pasok ballot.
“Ultimately, the responsibility rests with the S&D leadership,” he said.
Greece’s political parties have a long history of political scandals – and many have implicated Pasok, including the case of former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who was convicted of fraud and served time in prison.
The leftist party, which has swung to power for decades with New Democracy, has been punished by voters in recent years and is now the third force in Greece’s parliament.
“It is a mistake to consider that he [Pasok] is the only party that has such problems,” Androulakis said, arguing that the Qatargate affair is “not even a Greek but European scandal, it concerns the European Parliament.”