Qatar Warns Europe, Gas Supply Cut Off Over Corruption Allegations
- 10-Jan-2023 12:40 PM
- Journalist: Peter Schmidt
Doha (Qatar): Last year, Qatar made history when it hosted the football World Cup. It put on a show, with Argentina's fluke defeat to Saudi Arabia, Morocco's run to the semi-finals and Lionel Messi's Argentina eventually claiming the trophy. Despite fears that Qatar was unable to handle such an event, the games went off without a hitch.
However, there were issues surrounding human rights as many of the workers employed for constructing infrastructure were not treated properly and did not receive their promised wages. This frustration was only made worse by contractors who had over-promised wages back home. As such, Qatar and its allies firmly believed this was just the West’s prejudice against the small nation showing itself in their reaction to Qatar’s attempts at greatness. Ultimately though, Qatar emerged stronger and more confident after hosting such a monumental tournament successfully.
Qatar has long sought to prove it could achieve great things. As a result, they launched Al Jazeera, a channel that engages an extensive pan-Arab audience between North African and West Asia. The country's increasing self-assurance meant they weren't willing to accept any allegations levelled against them, as happened with their bid for the World Cup. Reports of bribery and buying hosting rights sparked investigations into twenty high-ranking officials, including the Vice President of the European Parliament and a Greek Member of European Parliament. Cash in the amount of $ 1.6 million were discovered in slush funds leading authorities to believe it was paid for Kaili's assistance in securing the 2022 tournament for Qatar.
Qatari officials were denied access to the European Parliament and accused of bribery in what has become an international scandal. Reports indicate that this case goes further than just football, alleging bribes paid to help European nationals escape Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Qatar has rebutted these allegations, claiming they are being unfairly targeted and denied access to the EU with no concrete evidence. A statement by a Qatari official to Euro News made it clear that this decision will have wide-reaching effects on global security cooperation as well as energy poverty and security discussions if not overturned soon. With gas reserves of around 871,585,000 million cubic ft, Qatar has the world's third-highest reserve of liquefied natural gas next only to Russia and Iran.
In the wake of the war in Ukraine, Russia faced stringent sanctions from the United States and its allies that left Europe without their long-trusted source of natural gas. With President Vladimir Putin's ability to finance his war efforts at stake, Europeans have been urgently searching for an alternative supplier. This has caused many to turn their attention to Qatar, which boasts an impressive 871,585,000 million cubic ft reserve of liquefied natural gas. French President Emmanuel Macron was quick to visit Qatar in 2021 and sign a memorandum of understand on development and economic growth.
The EU also opened delegation offices in Doha the following month while Germany is looking into long-term LNG supplies. Although Qatar has threatened to cease sale of fuel to Europe unless its grievances are satisfied, resilient European leaders remain determined that Russia will not receive unchecked financial support for its war.
Diplomatic efforts to purchase gas from Qatar have been underway, with France leading the charge. After the end of 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Qatar and signed an agreement on economic growth and development. The Ukraine War had not yet started at this time but became increasingly tense after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. European leaders have become wary of Moscow's actions, as tensions continue to rise between Kyiv and Moscow.
To strengthen diplomatic ties with Qatar, the EU opened delegation offices in Doha in September. Germany too is seeking agreements for long-term LNG supplies from Qatar. Despite threats from Qatar to curtail their supplies to Europe, no action has been taken yet. Ultimately, it will come down to the results of investigations into the matter. Determined to respond to what it sees as unfair treatment by western media outlets, Qatar is determined to make its case heard.