Neil Barnett writes about Russia energy disaggregation of Europe in the Spectator:
Brussels, to its credit, is starting to wake up to this. Rules are being drafted to prevent companies which do not adhere to the EU’s energy charter — Gazprom for one — from buying into the European market. The Russian response to this provides an interesting insight into its thinking. In a letter to the FT a couple of weeks ago, Russia’s energy minister Viktor Khristenko wrote, ‘Russia stretches across more than one geographical region and we can diversify our industrial and energy co-operation by turning to Asian and Pacific countries. Incidentally, the eastern vector has an important economic dimension — such co-operation will help us develop eastern Siberia and east Asia.’ Which is a polite way of saying, ‘Let Gazprom and Rosneft buy up your energy assets, or we’ll cut you off and sell our gas to China.’ This is hardly a realistic threat in the medium term, but it illustrates the importance of reducing reliance on and exposure to Russia; just as US generals now view global warming as a hard security issue, so we should view energy the same way.