Germany has signed a huge new deal with Qatar to import two million tonnes of liquefied natural gas from the country every year for the next 15 years. It’s ridiculously hypocritical, says Ulf Poschardt in Die Welt. Our World Cup team has made a big fuss over being banned from wearing rainbow armbands to protest against Qatar’s anti-gay laws. But what’s the point of these gestures when our businesses are funding the regime through trade deals? Are we all to sit around wearing OneLove armbands to prove “how outraged we are” about Qatar’s rejection of human rights, while heating our homes with gas that funds this exact persecution?
It’s true the withdrawal of Russia’s gas supply has left Germany in a mess. But our leaders had other options: loosening rules around fracking, say, or tightening ties with oil-rich developing nations. Instead, we’ve made ourselves dependent on another “unsavoury regime”, while simultaneously shouting about how much we disagree with their “slave-like working conditions and exploitation”. Politicians can only get away with bare-faced hypocrisy like this in a country like Germany, “where moral arrogance immunises us against any form of personal responsibility”. Of course, Berlin may surprise us all by insisting that the tankers bringing over Qatar’s LNG are daubed in rainbow colours. But until that day, “when it comes to morals, we should just shut up”.