Qatargate, pressure from Panzeri to stop Di Maio’s EU nomination
Antonio Panzeri would have tried to hinder the appointment of Luigi Di Maio as the next special envoy of the European Union in the Persian Gulf. This was reported by La Repubblica, referring to the latest interceptions from the investigation into the alleged bribes paid by Qatar and Morocco to influence European politics.
The former MEP, who has decided to collaborate with the Belgian authorities, would instead have promoted the appointment of former European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, in close contact with Panzeri’s NGO “Fight Impunity”. The former Greek foreign minister was an honorary member of the board of the NGO but was not involved in the investigation.
The investigation refers to an episode in which a document was sent by mistake regarding the appointment of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell. It is a “confidential internal note prepared by Francesco Giorgi” for Avramopoulos in which reference is made to the appointment, claiming that Eva Kaili, the former vice president of the European Parliament who ended up in prison due to the investigation, could be “helpful” , also Greek like Avramopoulos. The investigators do not refer to the possibility that Panzeri and Giorgi put pressure on Borrell and give credence to the version of the error, considered instead “improbable” by Repubblica.
The appointment of Di Maio, indicated by an independent committee of technicians as the best candidate for the post of special envoy in the Gulf, has come to a screeching halt in recent months. This would be due to the doubts raised by the new Italian government.