EU corruption scandal might hit ties with Doha, Qatar diplomat warns

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A senior Qatari diplomat has warned that the EU’s dealing with of a corruption scandal that has rocked the European Parliament threatens to “negatively have an effect on” safety co-operation and discussions about world vitality safety between the bloc and the gas-rich Gulf state.

Nonetheless, Qatar was not threatening to chop LNG provides to Europe or politicise fuel exports, the diplomat, who has information of the place, instructed the FT on Sunday.

The scandal centres on allegations that Qatar and Morocco sought to bribe EU legislators to affect coverage. 4 folks have been charged with corruption, cash laundering and being a part of a prison gang after police seized virtually €1.5mn in money on the houses of 1 present and one former MEP in Brussels.

The Qatari authorities has denied being concerned. It has closely criticised the EU’s resolution to droop legislative work associated to Qatar however not Morocco, believing it has been unfairly singled out.

“The choice to impose such a discriminatory restriction that limits dialogue and co-operation on Qatar earlier than the authorized course of has ended, will negatively have an effect on regional and world safety co-operation, in addition to ongoing discussions round world vitality poverty and safety,” the diplomat stated.

The diplomat added: “Regardless of Qatar’s dedication to rising the partnership additional, it’s deeply disappointing that the Belgian authorities made no effort to interact with our authorities to ascertain the details as soon as they turned conscious of the allegations.”

However the diplomat stated: “We aren’t threatening to chop provides or something. We’re merely saying [that] to cease communication within the EU parliament this manner limits co-operation.”

The European Parliament scandal follows sustained criticism in Europe of Qatar’s internet hosting of the Fifa World Cup. Qataris have been angered by what they regard as an unfair singling out of the Gulf monarchy over points similar to labour and LGBT+ rights.

Officers in Doha have been getting ready a evaluate of abroad ties after the barrage of damaging media protection and demanding statements from some politicians, folks briefed on the matter stated.

Qatar is the world’s greatest exporter of LNG and has sought to construct a status as a steady and dependable provider. Officers level out the state has by no means abused its pivotal function in fuel markets for diplomatic acquire.

For instance, when it was positioned underneath a harmful financial embargo by a quartet of its neighbours, together with Abu Dhabi, Doha didn’t disrupt its fuel provides to the United Arab Emirates.

Its significance in world fuel markets has elevated after the vitality disaster triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Doha being courted by European governments as they search alternate options to Russian vitality.

Final month, Qatar agreed to a long-term contract to provide Germany with LNG, and is in talks with different international locations, together with Belgium and the UK, on related offers

The Qatari diplomat instructed the FT on Sunday that Doha didn’t combine enterprise and politics. “LNG negotiations should not influenced by politics,” the diplomat stated.

Qatar is an enormous world investor, together with in Europe, and will channel its extra revenues elsewhere if it felt unfairly handled by its companions, the folks briefed on the matter stated.

Two senior EU officers instructed the FT they had been involved the scandal would hit ties with Doha, probably together with the bloc’s vitality relations.

“Actually, after the beginning of the struggle by Russia, Qatar performed an essential function for us . . . they helped us with fuel,” stated one. “Nations [such as Qatar] are able the place they will select who they work with.”

“I do know that, due to what occurred, it’ll have an impact. It’s going to make the connection rather more troublesome, rather more powerful. It’s completely sure,” the official added.

A spokesman for the Belgian authorities declined to remark.

Extra reporting by Valentina Pop in Brussels

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