Qatar pushes back on EU over bribe scandal with fear of energy backlash

Qatar pushes back on EU over bribe scandal with fear of energy backlash

Qatar’s energy threats might derail the EU’s efforts to combat bribery and corruption in the European Parliament.

The European Union’s decision to bar all Qatari officials from the EU Parliament grounds has generated strong anger from Qatar, which has threatened to respond with a new energy war.

The EU Parliament is facing a serious bribery inquiry after Belgian police searches revealed €1.5 million in Qatar-related houses and offices.

According to a Qatari diplomat: “The decision to impose such a discriminatory restriction that limits dialogue and cooperation on Qatar before the legal process has ended, will negatively affect regional and global security cooperation, as well as ongoing discussions around global energy poverty and security.”

“We firmly reject the allegations associating our government with misconduct.”

“Qatar was not the only party named in the investigation, yet our country has been exclusively criticised and attacked.”

“We have observed this week’s selective condemnation of our country with great alarm.”

“It is deeply disappointing that the Belgian government made no effort to engage with our government to establish the facts once they became aware of the allegations.”

Qatar says it thinks it has been unjustly singled out, as MEPs have been accusing the Gulf Kingdom of human rights issues after it discovered more than 6,000 migrants perished while constructing World Cup stadiums.

Continuing with the Qatari statement:”The decision to exclusively ban representatives from a single nation at the EU Parliament 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.”

It is unclear how Qatar’s energy threat would affect the EU’s anti-corruption and bribery effort. The union has hurried to find alternate sources of energy, as it seeks to wean itself off Russian gas during Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

According to European Commission data, global imports of Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounted for little under 5% of total EU gas imports this year.

But the EU’s energy imports from Qatar is likely to expand owing to a mega-expansion of its LNG production capacity, with two big projects slated to be completed in 2026 and 2027.

Eni, an Italian energy company, also has a stake in Qatar’s LNG project.

Terminating these contracts might put the EU’s energy security into upheaval, raising worries about whether European Parliament would deliver on its commitment to implement new transparency measures to stop bribery and corruption.