The European Parliament on Monday voted in favour of a proposal to send back the Schengen visa-waiver file of Kuwait and Qatar to its committee on civil liberty, justice and interior affairs. Ahead of the vote, the rapporteur on the file Erik Marquardt told the full parliament in Strasbourg this evening, “I have decided with the agreement of the political groups a referral back to the committee.”

“First of all we must ensure that there has not been any influence in that process, and ensure that we are drawing the right lesson, and ensure that we don’t get into negotiations into visa liberalisation. “So we appeal to rule 198 for referral back to the committee,” the German MEP said.

President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said, “I was also scheduled today to announce the opening of the negotiating mandate for the visa-waiver report with Qatar and Kuwait.”

“In light of the investigations, this report must be sent back to committee,” she told the MEPs Metsola then put the proposal to the vote and declared, “The motion is adopted and the file is referred back.” On the ongoing investigations by Belgian authorities into corruption in the European Parliament, Metosla said, “The enemies of democracy for whom the very existence of this Parliament is a threat, will stop at nothing.”

“These malign actors, linked to autocratic third countries have allegedly weaponised NGOs, Unions, individuals, assistants and members of the European Parliament in an effort to subdue our processes.”

“As a precautionary measure, again with full respect for the presumption of innocence, I have stripped the Vice-President (Eva Kaili) mentioned of any tasks and responsibilities related to their role as Vice-President and I have convened an extraordinary meeting of the Conference of Presidents to launch an Article 21 procedure to bring their term as Vice-President to an end in an effort to protect the integrity of this House,” she explained.

On December 1, the EP committee on civil liberty, justice and interior affairs had voted in favour of lifting the Schengen visa requirement for Kuwait, but under a condition.

“In the case of Kuwait, MEPs support visa freedom on condition of a moratorium on the application of the death penalty, which should be in place before visa freedom is implemented through bilateral negotiations,” said the amended text, which was approved in the Committee by 42 votes in favour and 16 against. The Committee has also approved the proposal for a visa-free travel for Qatar. – KUNA

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