"In view of the very serious events of the last few days, and until we get to the bottom of the matter, I am announcing the suspension of the EU-Qatar Friendship Group," said former Balearic leader Jose Ramon Bauza, now a European Member of Parliament, after Greek lawmaker Eva Kaili was stripped of her senior assembly post on Tuesday over allegations that World Cup host Qatar had bribed her to influence decision-making, charges she has denied. Kaili, one of 14 vice presidents in the parliament, was among four people arrested and charged in Belgium over the scandal that has triggered outrage in Brussels and risks damaging the European Union's image.

Bauza has denied any wrongdoing and has said that he acted in good faith.

The case, in which police discovered stacks of cash, casts a shadow over the European Parliament which seeks to be a moral compass, criticising global rights abuses and taking EU governments to task over any hint of impropriety.

Qatar has denied any wrongdoing.
The parliament acted quickly to loosen ties with Kaili, with 625 MEPs voting in favour of the move, only one against and two abstaining.
"The integrity of @Europarl_EN comes first and foremost," President Roberta Metsola tweeted.