The long rise and abrupt fall of Greek MEP Eva Kaili

Athens – Last Monday, MEP Eva Kelli launched a new research center to promote blockchain technology in the EU.

Leading experts and policy makers from EU institutions and the Greek government were present, including the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.

“The attendance was overwhelming,”; Tweeted Callie proudly with several photos of the ceremony.

Fast forward to this Monday, when the 44-year-old – who is one of 14 vice presidents of the European Parliament – was charged with corruption in an investigation into the Qatar scandal, his responsibilities as vice president were suspended, and he was sentenced to both expelled from countries. the social-democratic PASOK party in Greece and the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament.

MEPs “caught in the act” – the only circumstance that can trigger an immediate revocation of parliamentary immunity.

Her partner of 35 years is Francesco Giorgi, an Italian MEP assistant and founder NGO Fight Impunity, was also imprisoned and accused of corruption. The couple’s property and assets, along with Callie’s family in Greece, are frozen,

No one could have imagined this downfall for perhaps one of the most glamorous couples in the European Parliament, who were at the height of their careers.

rise of a charming maverick

The blonde-haired and blue-eyed native of Thessaloniki became involved in politics early in life, joining the PASOK youth at the age of 14. A decade later in 2002, she became the youngest member of the city council of Thessaloniki. She studied architecture and civil engineering before moving to the Greek capital and earning a master’s degree in European affairs.

In 2004, he unsuccessfully bid as the youngest candidate in the national elections. Despite losing the vote, she obtained a position as a news presenter on Mega Channel, where she worked for several years. He served in the Greek Parliament from 2007 to 2012 before becoming a European Parliamentarian with the S&D in the Belgian capital in 2014.

Kaili made a name for himself with a number of bold and outspoken acts that broke with his party colleagues, such as supporting socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou in a crucial vote of confidence amid Greece’s financial crisis in 2011. to deny. Callie changed her mind. And Papandreou survived.

She has been regularly photographed with Greek-Russian billionaire and media mogul Ivan Savvidis in thessaloniki buzoukiaor the glitzy nightclub where Greek popular music is performed live amidst a sea of ​​carnations.

Callie claimed that her grandfather was murdered by communists, which later proved to be completely false. He never apologized, nor was he ever held accountable by the Greek media.

The Social-Democrat MEP became deeply involved in the EU’s increasingly digital agenda, with its complex files including artificial intelligence, cyber security and blockchain.

She worked closely with her sister Mantalena Callie – executive director of ELONtech, a non-governmental organization focusing on the impact of laws on new technologies. Eva and Mantalena were close, with the two sisters regularly seen together at EU tech conferences or on long shopping sprees in downtown Athens.

Being one of the few Greek women in a high-profile European post, Kaili received widespread support from the local media, which reported lengthy profiles devoted to her glamorous lifestyle.

His Italian partner Giorgi also worked as a sailing instructor in addition to his day job as an assistant to an MEP. Her glamorous life is documented on her Instagram profile, which is filled with pictures of her sailing in Sardinia or skiing. He can also be seen in Doha on Business in 2018.

A couple since 2020, they lived with their younger daughter Ariadni, who is one and a half years old.

from titillating to tainted

Shortly after her arrest on Friday, PASOK leader and MEP Nikos Androlakis expelled Kelly from the party, accusing her of acting as a “Trojan horse” for the ruling conservative New Democracy party.

He also said that New Democracy was preparing to put Kaili on the ballot in the upcoming national Greek elections. Some reports in recent months indicated that Kaili would run for mayor of Thessaloniki with conservative support.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou denied these claims.

Yet in recent years Kelly had drifted closer to conservatives.

“A young lady and a very good friend who is a hero in European affairs, has been appointed as Vice President of the European Parliament yesterday! Congratulations,” Tweeted Grigoris Dimitriadis, who recently resigned as chief of staff of the conservative government.

“Kali maintains very good relations and has managed to win the respect of the New Democracy party, even that of Kyriakos Mitsotakis,” the Greek pro-government newspaper proto theme Wrote a profile on him after winning the election. The newspaper reported, “The Prime Minister fought for his election as Vice President.”

In November, Kelly gave a speech in the European Parliament praising Qatar, noting how hosting the World Cup had caused “historic change” in the Gulf country, making it “one of the world’s most important countries”.pioneer in labor rights, Meanwhile, the convention was preparing to pass a resolution condemning Doha’s treatment of migrant workers. PASOK immediately distanced itself from its stance.

Also in November, Margaritis Tschinas, Vice President of the European Commission, posted a Photo With Callie in Abu Dhabi. Greece’s Commissioner Scinhas has been criticized by MEPs in recent months for his tweets on Qatar. In a recent tweet, he praised Qatar for making “remarkable and concrete progress on labor reform”, calling on those reforms to be maintained. A spokesman for the European Commission defended Schinas’s stance, pointing out that he “exactly mirrored the ILO (International Labor Organization) report.”

The Greek government, for its part, said that the case of Kaili is an example of why wiretapping of politicians is justified. “Those who have expressed an absolute position on whether law enforcement officers should monitor political figures may have to be approached with greater scepticism,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told local media on Saturday.

Sophie In ‘t Veld, the liberal Dutch MEP who is the lead report-author on the European Parliament’s investigation into spyware, rejected such claims. “This is nonsense,” she said.

though cali was reportedly one of the politicians Under the supervision of the Greek state, she herself said that the parliamentary committee she was part of shouldn’t go to greece As part of a spyware check. “That problem has now resolved itself,” commented ‘t Veld.

Several Socialist representatives have asked him to give up his seat in the European Parliament. The party’s press representative Dimitris Manjos said, “She has been distancing herself for months, and her positions and values ​​are incompatible with those of PASOK.”

Vincent Manancourt contributed reporting.