Due to Europe’s largely self-imposed energy crisis, the continent badly needs gas from Gulf states such as Qatar.
Written by Uriel Araujo, researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts
Qatar has been into the spotlight largely due to it having hosted the Fifa Football Cup in 2022. Western notions regarding LGBT and gender rights motivated a lot of media and activism criticism against the nation. Now, Qatar is once again a hot topic in Europe because of the so-called Qatargate. It is, in short, about European authorities having received gifts from Qatari authorities in what has been denounced as a kind of bribery. In December Eva Kaili, a European Parliament vice president was arrested over such charges, and three others are being investigated.
Much has been talked about the scandal, and Ursula von der Leyen herself, European Commission President, has even stated that it undermines trust in European institutions. Similarly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has talked about European credibility being on the line. Such a statement, Caroline de Gruyter (a Foreign Policy correspondent) argues, could be premature.
One should keep in mind that, so far, there is not enough evidence linking any European institution – other than the European Parliament – to the so-called Qatargate. There are however, according to some media stories, in Germany, for example, suspicions about the problem that goes beyond European Union institutions and beyond Qatar itself, as the supposed role of Morocco is also being investigated.
In 2021, Qatar played an important role in trying to mediate between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran. The same year, a landmark “solidarity and stability” agreement was signed between Qatar on one hand, and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain on the other, thus re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Doha and ending a three-year-old Gulf crisis and blockade on Qatar. Ever since, its diplomatic soft power has been increasing in the region and beyond.
The small Gulf nation has one of the world’s largest sovereign funds and it seeks to use its wealth to secure geopolitical influence and protection. In doing so, the Qatari authorities in Doha are not alone: other Gulf states employ similar policies.
Washington’s Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft lobby expert Ben Freeman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not part of the 10 largest spenders at lobbying firms in Washington DC.
In 2017, de Gruyter reminds us, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia heavily boycotted Qatar. In response, the country, in the US alone, quadrupled its lobbying budget and, similarly, also has been sponsoring media companies, think thanks and so on in Europe. Doha has also invested heavily in paying 440,000 pounds’ worth of trips to UK law-makers over the last decade.
Bilateral relations between Doha and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) have improved, but those between the former and the UAE are still far from good.
Belgian authorities have so far charged four people linked to the European Parliament over corruption accusations regarding Qatari gifts supposedly aimed at influencing decision-making. Pertaining to this investigation, Qatari authorities deny having done anything illegal – the cultural institution of wasta (involving favors and gifts) clashes with Western notions of corruption. While there must be mechanisms to avoid decision-makers being seduced by expensive gifts or “bought off”, a very strict Western understanding of corruption in such matters can potentially hamper intercultural dialogue and diplomatic understanding with such Arab nations, thus also hampering trade.
In December 2022, the European Parliament suspended all work on legislation pertaining to Qatar. The country’s representatives have been barred from accessing the Parliament’s premises. A statement from Doha’s mission to the EU said “preconceived prejudices” were behind this suspension, which affects an EU-Qatar aviation agreement and legislation related to visa liberalization, among other things. The diplomatic statement described it as “discriminatory restriction” and added that no effort had been made to engage with Qatar’s government in order to establish the facts.
The timing is not so good: the Gulf nation, which is a major liquified natural gas (LNG) exporter, was a vital piece in the European plans for coping with its energy crisis. In October 2022, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned that by 2023 Europe is to face a tougher crisis, with the depletion of its gas reserves – a situation which can extend itself even up to 2025.
So far, the overall imports of LNG from Qatar are just about 5 percent of the European bloc gas imports, according to European Commission data. However, Doha has two ongoing megaprojects, due to be completed by 2027, which are expected to make its LNG production capacity grow tremendously. In November 2022, Berlin signed a 15-year gas contract with US company ConocoPhillips plus QatarEnergy, which is state-owned, to ensure at least 2 million metric tons of LNG annually, starting from 2026. Italy and several other European countries are eyeing Qatar too, according to Cinzia Bianco, a European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) research fellow on the Gulf.
Pragmatically speaking, energy security is usually considered to be more important than Western discourses on human rights and such a corruption scandal. This is why Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella’s lawyer claimed his client’s change of discourse on Qatar could be explained by “realpolitik” – not corruption
In post-Nord Stream Europe, amid an economic, financial and energy crisis, Europeans today suffer the consequences of anti-Russian sanctions which have backfired and also of an American subsidy and trade war waged against their companies. In this context, Europe has sought to further enhance its trade and energy ties with countries such as Qatar and Morocco (which competes with Algeria).
Much has been talked about the need for stricter European anti-corruption pieces of legislation. The exact role and the acceptable boundaries of lobbying must also be discussed. The problem however is much deeper, and even Qatar itself and other countries cannot provide an easy alternative to Europe’s woes, as shown, for example, by this latest scandal, and by Algerian-Moroccan problems.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Qatargate: Optical Illusion That Hides The Proxy Wars In North Africa
- Corrupting The European Parliament: Qatar’s Sports Diplomacy
The EU reveals itself for what it is: a union of banana republics. These corrupt parliamentarians must be of miserable origins, to sell themselves for little money. A true lord does not sell himself. These are bums and enemies of the peoples.
but you as a muzlim wouldn’t go back to your muzlim shit-hole, despite all this rhetoric from you? Have you no shame? We’ve had this discussion with you at Press TV no? over there you shy away from responding? Are you scared? Scared that we’d call yous out as a Mr Muzlim Al-Niggerdly?
Armin was more than correct in his assesions with one misunderstanding, and that is that EU paliament decides nothing, especially nothing of importance. NATO decides, relays its decisions to EU comission and EU parliament rubber stamps it. EU is a civilian wing of NATO.
but Armin ulla is a muzlim living in the EU where he don’t belong.
Your s2pidi T knows no bounds. You all could go bombing the so called “muzlim” worlds in order to steal their sweet oil,thieves like you won’t stop surprising me with your display of high level of ignorance. Islam is never your problem,but ignorance,animal.
Your Al-Baqistan is not invaded by the US. You are free to relocate over there from the West. Right? The US is no longer in Afghanistan either no? The US is in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi gubment, right? Turdo-gaan is in NATO because he chooses to be no? The loose pants Al-Gurdish want the US in Erbil and so do the Syrian Al-Gurdish no? Don’t get nervous or mad when I try to engage you.
The arrogance and stupidity of the EU tranny lovers who waved little shitstabber flags, etc, in Qatar beggers belief.
but a few decades ago yous grandpa wuz in favor of burqa no? Wanted to drink camel piss and praise the animal as a divine cure all diseases being no? Now yous progressed a little but still holding onto dear life? And refuse to go back to your muzlim shit-hole? Why is that?
Do you just repeat the same cr*p, instead of conversing in actual debate? It really helps if you know who you are insulting, if you do not wish to appear more dense than nature intended for you. There again, I suppose the UK could be described as some form of woke shit-hole. Why is that?
The crap is that you are a hypocrite. And you don’t like it when you get called out on it no? If you don’t like the west then the door is wide open for you to go back to Pakistan no? but we know you wouldn’t leave.
Are you Ahson, Arson or Arseson?
…yeah in your western filthy gay society. You created problems bombing the Muslims in their peaceful homes because of your insatiable appetite for their natural resources. Your planted that evil apartheid regime in the Muslims world to keep your evil eye 👀 on them. Leave our countries in the middle East and see if we would not stop invading your shitholes infested with HIV and STDs. Goat!
with all their money qatar can buy europe for cash with plenny-money left over
They’ve blown off fucking more than half a trillion thus far on wahabbi/ jihadi shenanigans no? killing their own stupid muzlim cunts all over da place no? Iran needs to take the south dome and put these niggers outta business. Nothing but a waste of resources.
We did vote NO to EU.
When it comes to corruption and prostitution there is nothing to compare to the sluts “running” Urupp aka the evil EUSSR. The craven, lying Uschi Van der Lyin’ and her death vaxx peddling hubby Heiko were bought like discount whores in the streets of Brussels and like the Klingon scum in USSA they walked away without a hair out of place. Now Soros owned Fatty Barebutt, so called Kraut foreign ministre$$ has declared war on Mother Russia and she is still lecturing dumb Germans about the need to support her naZi klown kousins in rump Ukrapland. When will the Euro Peon peasantry wake up and impale the filth on their pitch forks? When they have nothing left to eat and every last Aldi has been plundered and burned, that’s when.
Meanwhile Mother Russia dutifully burning Natostan is all that can save the diseased “West” from the Satanic pedovores that own it all.
Z and more Z until the demons are ash.
Banda debilov riadi EU!!! A nakoniec EU tak aj dopadne.