Europe’s Lack of Coherence on Energy Becomes Embarrassing

From Judy Dempsey’s article in the IHT, titled “Gazprom’s bold moves lay bare EU’s disarray“:

“Each EU country has its own bilateral relationship and special deals with Russia over energy,” said Pal Dunay, an energy expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. “We don’t have to rebuff Russia’s moves into the EU’s energy sector. What we need is more harmonization among the EU countries and reciprocity when it comes to foreign companies wanting to have access to Russian pipelines. None of this is happening.” … Energy experts, however, say that as EU energy companies are being told to break the links between production and distribution, Gazprom is adopting the opposite strategy in Europe while in Russia continuing to prevent foreign companies from using its pipelines for shipping natural gas to Europe. Because the energy playing field between the EU and Russia is so uneven, said Agata Loskot-Strachota, an energy expert on Russia at the Center for Eastern Studies in Warsaw, the Russian gas industry could gain a stronger position in the markets of individual EU member states and reduce competition. “In some member states, the gas market could become dominated by supplies from Russia, competition would be restrained, and freedom of access to these markets would shrink,” Loskot- Strachota said in a new report on the Russian natural gas sector. Gazprom, she added, could also gain more influence over the terms and conditions under which Russian gas is sold in Europe.