Energy : Proposals for Foreign Policy on Energy

Europe-East, June 27, 2006 | Go to article overview

Energy : Proposals for Foreign Policy on Energy


Proposals from the European Commission and the EU's High Representative Javier Solana on a "foreign policy serving Europe's energy interests" are ready. EU leaders had asked them in March to sketch out a strategy for the EU's external relations in the energy sector. The document offers an uncompromising analysis of the situation and addresses a number of strategic details. It will be tabled before the June European Council. The document identifies a series of actions which should be launched forthwith, though it offers nothing new compared with the Green Paper on energy policy published by the Commission on 8 March.

EU ENERGY SECURITY

The development of a coherent, strategic and targeted EU foreign policy on energy should enhance the Union's collective external energy security. It should clearly fit in with broader EU foreign policy objectives such as conflict prevention and resolution, non-proliferation and promoting human rights. It should also provide the EU with ammunition "to more effectively counteract any efforts by leading foreign energy suppliers to distort market fundamentals" - a thinly veiled allusion to Russian foreign policy.

Transparency and good governance are key elements in reliable risk assessment. The EU might thus consider establishing a network of "energy security intermediaries", backed up by the European Observatory on energy supply. "The best means of guaranteeing secure energy supplies at affordable prices lies in the proper functioning of global markets", according to the document, which emphasises the "risk of disruption of the energy system" posed by bilateral agreements. By contrast, the establishment of multilateral strategic reserves is encouraged.

TRANSIT ITINERARIES

The diversification of sources, geographic origin and transit itineraries for energy are regarded as vital to enhancing EU energy security. …

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