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Uncommon Decency

Mar 8, 2023

Since mid-December, a corruption scandal has been unfolding in Brussels that could soon begin rock the European Union's (EU) very foundations. Eva Kaili, a 44-year-old Member of the European Parliament (MEP), was detained by Belgian authorities along with three other suspects—including fellow MEP Marc Tarabella and Kaili’s partner, an assistant to another MEP—for allegedly accepting large bribes from foreign government officials in exchange for whitewashing the image of those governments in Brussels. Qatar was frontline in the scandal, but so was Morocco, and more recently, even Mauritania. As this episode goes to press, no less than 1.5 million EUR in cash have been seized, much of which was lying around the house of Kaili’s father, who is also ensnared. With the World Cup then about to take place in Qatar and amid widespread allegations of unsafe working conditions for migrant workers hired to build the facilities, Kaili and her fellow suspects had their work cut out for them. Now—the scandal’s implications cannot be overstated. While the EU has long labored under critiques of its democratic legitimacy, the moral legitimacy of its leaders has largely gone unquestioned. That all changes now. To discuss the repercussions of this scandal, we have with us Frank Furedi, executive director of Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) Brussels and Thomas Fazi, a columnist at UnHerd and Compact.

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