Qatar: EU probe to 'negatively' affect relations, natural gas supplies
The EU parliament is suspending Qatar's access to the European Parliament alongside the vote introduced by Kaili to grant Qatari nationals visa-free travel to Europe.
A probe by Belgium against Qatar for involvement in corruption and in an attempt to suspend its access to the EU parliament has been decried by Qatar on the basis that it could "negatively" affect relations alongside natural gas supplies.
An unidentified Qatari diplomat called out Belgian authorities for employing "inaccurate" information to base their investigation on.
European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili is one of six individuals who were detained following raids that uncovered at least 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in cash - which were reportedly connected to a Gulf state at the time.
Investigators have for several months "suspected a Gulf country of influencing the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament, and this by transferring consequential sums of money or giving sizeable gifts to third parties with a significant and/or strategic position within the European Parliament," the prosecutor's office said.
Allegedly, according to the police, this was done "by paying large sums of money or offering large gifts to third parties with a significant political and/or strategic position within the European Parliament."
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Last week, the EU parliament suspended Qatar's access to the European Parliament and suspended the vote introduced by Kaili to grant Qatari nationals visa-free travel to Europe.
"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," relayed the Qatari diplomat, adding in a statement, "We firmly reject the allegations associating our government with misconduct."
The statement further read that even though other countries were involved in the investigation, Qatar was the only one that was called out.
"We have observed this week's selective condemnation of our country with great alarm," the statement said, as Belgian prosecutors claim to have been looking into EU parliament corruption for over a year before the arrests began to take place earlier this month.
"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," said the diplomat, stressing that Belgium and Qatar have strong ties that go back to Covid-19 and the fact that Qatar is a major supplier of liquified natural gas (LNG) to Belgium.
'Immediate and firm'
In the latest update, the European Parliament "has suspended talks with Qatar on granting Qataris visa-free entry to European Union countries," European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said in response to a question by the Al Mayadeen envoy to Brussels on Thursday.
The response "was immediate and firm, as we have stopped since last Monday negotiations with Qatar on exempting Qatari citizens from entry visas to European Union countries, and we handed this file to a special investigation committee to see if a potential illicit influence campaign by Qatar had occurred or if there were any pressures on European parliamentarians in this field," Metsola said.
"The investigation committee formed a few days ago will investigate every file that may be suspected of involvement in corruption with Qatar," the President of the European Parliament confirmed to Al Mayadeen, stressing that "the discussion is still ongoing on the air transport agreement with Qatar, and we will later take the appropriate decision in this regard."