Top EU official switches jobs as Qatar questions linger
A top European Union transport official who accepted free flights and accommodation in Qatar has been transferred to another post at his own request, the European Commission said Wednesday, but it remains unclear whether the man is suspected of any wrongdoing.
The head of the commission's transport department, Henrik Hololei, traveled for free with Qatar Airways nine times between 2015 and 2021. Two flights were paid by Qatar; the others by lobby groups and conference organizers, according to online news outlet Politico.
The trips were made when the department, known as DG MOVE, was involved in negotiating an EU-Qatar air transport agreement, which was signed on October 18, 2021. Hololei did not take part in the negotiations, but he did lead the department conducting them.
The commission launched an investigation into whether his actions constituted a conflict of interest and the inquiry was still ongoing as of Wednesday. Top officials at the commission greenlight their own travel expenses and no other oversight is required.