Qatari diplomat warns EU corruption scandal could hit ties with Doha

A senior Qatari diplomat said the EU’s response to a corruption scandal that rocked the European Parliament would “adversely affect security cooperation and discussions on global energy security between the bloc and the gas-rich Gulf states. ‘ warned of the danger.

But Qatar has not cut LNG supplies to Europe or threatened to politicize gas exports, a diplomat with knowledge of the position told the FT on Sunday.

of scandal It focuses on allegations that Qatar and Morocco bribed EU lawmakers to influence policy. Four people have been charged with corruption, money laundering and gang membership after police seized around €1.5 million in cash from the homes of current and former lawmakers in Brussels.

The Qatari government has denied any involvement. It strongly criticizes the EU’s decision to suspend legislative work relating to Qatar but not Morocco, believing it to be unfairly singled out.

“The decision to impose discriminatory restrictions that would limit dialogue and cooperation with Qatar before legal proceedings are completed is a critical step in regional and global security cooperation, as well as on global energy poverty and security. It will adversely affect ongoing discussions,” the diplomat said.

The diplomat added: “It is very disappointing that, despite Qatar’s commitment to further expand the partnership, the Belgian government made no effort to engage with the government to establish the facts after becoming aware of the allegations.”

However, the diplomat said:we are just saying [that] Stopping communication in the EU parliament in this way limits cooperation. “

European parliament scandal continues criticism Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup in Europe. Qataris are outraged at what they see as an unfair monopoly on the Gulf monarchy over issues such as labor and LGBT+ rights.

Officials in Doha are preparing to review ties with foreign countries after a barrage of negative reports and critical rhetoric from some politicians, the person briefed on the matter said. rice field.

Qatar is the world’s largest LNG exporter and has sought to build a reputation as a stable and reliable supplier. Officials say the country has never abused its pivotal role in the gas market for diplomatic gain.

For example, Doha did not suspend gas supplies to the United Arab Emirates when it was placed under a damaging economic embargo by a quartet of neighboring countries, including Abu Dhabi.

Its importance in the global gas market has increased after the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Doha being cited by European governments seeking alternatives to Russian energy. .

Last month, Qatar agreed to a long-term contract to supply Germany with LNG and is in talks with other countries, including Belgium and the UK, about similar deals.

A Qatari diplomat told the FT on Sunday that Doha does not mix business and politics.

Qatar is a large global investor, including in Europe, and was briefed on the matter, saying that if it feels it is being treated unfairly by its partners, it can divert surplus earnings elsewhere. Officials said.

Two senior EU officials told the FT they were concerned that the scandal would hurt relations with Doha and could include EU energy ties.

“Certainly Qatar played an important role for us after the start of the war by Russia…they helped us with gas,” said one. “Country [such as Qatar] I am in a position to choose who I work with.”

“I know it affects because of what happened. It makes the relationship much harder, much harder. Absolutely certain,” the insider added.

A Belgian government spokesman declined to comment.

Additional report by Valentina Pop from Brussels Qatari diplomat warns EU corruption scandal could hit ties with Doha

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