CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2022– Source: EP

Qatar: EU corruption accusations could harm vital energy deals

Qatar has slammed the European Parliament for banning its diplomats and representatives visiting the body, dubbing the move “discriminatory.”

Last week, the European Parliament moved to bar representatives of the Qatari government from entering its premises, and suspended legislation which would have offered more liberal visa policies to the Gulf State.

This was done in the wake of the unfolding alleged EU corruption scandal, in which Greek vice president of the European Parliament Eva Kaili and several others were arrested on charges of taking money from Qatar in exchange for influence within the EU.

Belgian authorities even reportedly found a briefcase full of cash during the course of their investigations.

Both Qatar and Kaili have denied any wrongdoing, although Kaili’s partner has allegedly confessed to involvement in the alleged corruption according to a report by Reuters.

However, Qatar has hit out strongly at the allegations, and implied that the restrictions could jeopardise EU-Qatar cooperation in vital areas, such as energy.

“The decision to impose such a discriminatory restriction…will negatively affect regional and global security cooperation, as well as ongoing discussions around global energy poverty and security,” a Qatari diplomat said in a statement, adding that the decision “demonstrates that MEPs have been significantly misled.”

“It is unfortunate that some acted on preconceived prejudices against Qatar and made their judgments based on the inaccurate information in the leaks rather than waiting for the investigation to conclude.”

They added that the Qatari government “firmly” rejects any accusations “associating our government with misconduct.”

This could have wide-reaching implications, as the EU has become highly reliant on Qatar for energy in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis.

Last month Germany signed a 15-year contract with Qatar to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Gulf State. Qatar alone provided a quarter of the EU’s LNG imports in 2021.

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