Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

Mr Borissov seems too certain that Bulgaria will play a primordial role in EU's energy plans. Boyko Borissov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, paid a visit to the EC and was received by Corina Creţu, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action and Energy, and Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Budget and Human Resources (EC Audiovisual Services, 12/01/2015 )

Mr Borissov seems too certain that Bulgaria will play a primordial role in EU’s energy plans.
Boyko Borissov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, paid a visit to the EC and was received by Corina Creţu, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action and Energy, and Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Budget and Human Resources (EC Audiovisual Services, 12/01/2015 )

“Energy” is a word that may sound a bit alarming in the European Union nowadays. This happens because Europe has a problem: its energy supplies are not secure. The EU’s prospects of remaining a strong, independent economic and political player in the international arena will largely depend on whether the bloc will be able to secure its supplies at the most convenient economic cost. And this is a hot topic in Brussels at the moment.

Last week saw Russia planning to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey, with a consequent cut-off of six European countries. “The decision has been made”, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated, leaving the entire EU with big, cold surprise. “The Turkish Stream is the only route along which 63 billion cubic metres of Russian gas can be supplied, which at present transit Ukraine”, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said.

“There are no other options”, he added, also reminding that the EU has to link up to Russia’s planned energy pipeline to Turkey or lose the gas, after the South Stream project has been dropped. “Our European partners have been informed of this and now their task is to create the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the Greek and Turkish border,” said Mr. Miller, according to a Gazprom statement.

The umpteenth overturn in the big Russia-EU relations story happened recently, we could say, but with space for a new element: Bulgaria. Sofia’s government wants to have Bulgaria serving as an important energy bridge for the EU, and to fill the gap left by the cancelled South Stream project. That’s what Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said last week during a press conference in Sofia, after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry. “Our common goal is to attract investments to guarantee supply and distribution, as well as to build interconnectivity with neighboring countries,” he stated last Thursday.

From his side, Mr. Kerry promised to help Bulgaria reduce energy dependence on Russia, as well as announcing plans to send the top US energy officials to protect Sofia’s energy security. The American efforts to strengthen ties with Sofia is another unmistakable sign of Bulgaria’s importance at this very moment. Bulgaria is hoping to have its proposal to create a gas hub at the Black Sea coast among the top priorities in the European agenda for this New Year. Sofia knows that this moment could be crucial for developing a new image on the international political stage and its politicians don’t want to lose momentum.

Just a few days ago, on Sunday, Deputy PM for EU Funds and Economic Policy Tomislav Donchev announced that a summit-level meeting of all EU energy ministers will be held in Bulgaria in three weeks’ time. Mr. Donchev told the Bulgarian National Television the event could produce decisions on the “new energy projects” to be carried out in the bloc. He also added that the importance of Bulgaria had “grown a lot” in the current situation, openly referring to the challenges related to the Russian “Turkish Stream” project and the EU-Russia question. Which is still far to be solved.

But the challenges for the EU on the way to a much more secure energy market are not limited to Russia. Also because Bulgaria can build bridges and soften tension, but will never be a final answer to many huge question marks. As such, there’s the EU national governments’s question, with their state-owned companies and Europe’s Energy jeopardized market. How can the EU overcome one of its biggest issues?

“Energy Union”: here is the concept that might give an entirely different sound to the word “energy” alone. Creating a real single market might be the only way to have a stronger position around any negotiation table. An exclusive revelation by Reuters, last week, made this topic even more prominent these days. In a policy paper seen by the international news agency, Germany openly backs a single European energy market, setting itself at odds with Britain at the same time.

Germany’s position paper is being circulated in Brussels by diplomats who asked Reuters not to be named and it reports Germany saying Europe’s energy union needs to be bolstered by EU laws binding on each nation. The paper seems to highlight the word “laws”, which allegedly puts Germany in a position which opposed to the stance of Britain, which has called in general for a “light-touch and non-legislative” approach. “It would not satisfy the implementation of the 2030 council conclusions, if the new energy union governance was merely a soft law process,” the paper says, according to Reuters.

That refers to the 2030 Climate and Energy Package and to the plans for targets on renewable energy and energy savings. As mentioned above, the EU’s will of remaining an influent and – most of all – independent player in the world will depend on energy security to be obtained at the lowest economic, but also environmental cost.

But whether the question was about making convenient moves for finances or for the planet, it is still part of the same big matter: energy.

Energy union can be the key for Europe to give a strong and credible reply to many questions and to raise its voice in order to tell the world it won’t simply stand and stare.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Poor diets may to be blame for 20cm height gaps among children, study says

UN agency chiefs issue ‘call to action’ on behalf of refugee children

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

UN rights chief says ‘bar must be set very high’ for investigation of murdered Saudi journalist

Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets

Statement following the European Medicines Agency review of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

How one change to shipping goods could change the way we live

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Arlington, USA: kick-off of the fifth round of the EU-US boxing match

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Job automation risks vary widely across different regions within countries

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

How COVID-19 vaccine efforts could help defeat other diseases

Who should pay for workers to be reskilled?

DR Congo President and UN chief meet at a ‘historic moment’ for democracy in the country

Strong support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into the European Union

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

Women Leadership: Paths to a Humanized Medicine

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

UN standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique as Southern Africa death toll from deadly cyclone mounts

‘Everything is still to be agreed’: informal talks between Parliament and Council on Rule of law conditionality continue

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Chile ups foreign bribery enforcement but flawed case resolutions are insufficient to ensure transparency and accountability

Mozambique’s Beira city ‘returning to life’, elsewhere UN teams assess damage, deliver assistance

Commuters in these cities spend more than 8 days a year stuck in traffic

Gender inequality in the medicine field: two commonly issues

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

State aid: Commission approves prolongation and modification of German scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources

Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach

EU to negotiate an FTA with Japan

Is academia losing its chance to capitalize on technology?

The fat from your next takeaway meal could help clean up global shipping

COP25: UN climate change conference, 5 things you need to know

This African company is producing cashew nuts sustainably. Here’s how

Can self-charging batteries keep us connected for ever? A young scientist explains

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Third review welcomes progress while identifying steps for improvement

Foreign Investment Screening: new European framework to enter into force in April 2019

Mergers: Commission fines Canon €28 million for partially implementing its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation before notification and merger control approval

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

To build cities fit for the future, we need to think differently

Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’ could save lives and cut pollution, says report

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

How businesses can navigate a global economic slowdown

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Disability inclusion, minimum wage, and LGBTI rights in Botswana

China Unlimited Special Report: at the heart of Beijing

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

Hot air behind your cold fridge? Why the future of cooling must be sustainable

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

3 reasons why most Africans aren’t on the internet – and how to connect them

Why cooperative and competitive federalism is the secret to India’s success

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

This is what Belgium’s traffic-choked capital is doing about emissions

Why we need different generations in the workplace

‘Complacency’ a factor in stagnating global vaccination rates, warn UN health chiefs

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s