Director General of the EU's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei is to step down from his position, news portal Politico reports, following reports he had accepted flights paid for by the Qatar state.
Politico cites three sources, all of them EU officials, who told the portal that he would be resigning following the revelations, which were published by Politico itself.
The sources also said that Hololei, an Estonian, will not be leaving the European Commission overall, and will continue working there in its department responsible for international partnerships, as an advisor, Politico reports.
A spokesperson for the Commission declined to provide Politico with comment, saying it was not Commission policy to discuss human resources matters.
While Hololei had not broken any European Commission rules in accepting the flights, and also accommodation, over the years 2015-2021 and in connection with the EU's Open Skies, critics had said this represented a conflict of interest.
Hololei denies any conflict of interest was involved in the procedures.
In effect the rules were such that Hololei was judge and jury on whether the trips represented a conflict of interest or not, and he decided on the latter option and signed off on them.
The saga, which broke earlier this month and in the wake of the "Qatar-gate" revelations which engulfed the European Parliament at the end of 2022, while that country was hosting the FIFA Football World Cup, has also prompted the Commission to examine its own regulations, with a view to amending them.
Estonia has featured disproportionately heavily in Politico's online pages in recent weeks; a separate story arc concerns an article which claims Estonia gamed the European Peace Fund (EPF) system in obtaining remuneration for the donation of aging military equipment to Ukraine, not on the basis of that equipment's present market value, but on the basis of state-of-the-art equivalents, instead.
Again, Politico makes the point that Estonia had not engaged in any wrong-doing in the matter, so far as regulations go, and adds that Estonia is one of half-a-dozen countries, including Finland and Lithuania, to have done the same.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Karl Kivil