Listening to Medvedev

European Voice has an editorial about the importance of continuing the dialogue that Dmitry Medvedev opened during his last visit to Finland – namely that proposals to draft a new Energy Charter Treaty and to put the energy trade into a rule-based, non-political structure, deserve to be taken seriously.

The Russian president’s attempt to rewrite the world’s energy rules are reminiscent of his similarly bold proposals for a new European security architecture that would include Russia and would render NATO obsolete. Together they are a sign of Russia’s wish to revive its influence in the world. Although Russia is not the most neutral player in the energy trade and is infamous in the business for its strong-arm tactics, it does not follow that the EU should dismiss Medvedev’s ideas out of hand. It is time for the EU to admit that the Energy Treaty Charter never flew, not just because Russia did not complete its ratification, but because it did not include some other important energy players, such as the United States, China, India and Norway. The EU should give Russia’s ideas serious consideration. International talks on energy co-operation that include all the major countries in the energy business are desirable. A preliminary discussion of Medvedev’s plans at the G8 meeting in Italy in July would be welcome. The world needs a comprehensive set of coherent, transparent, legally binding rules to protect the trade in one of the most sought-after commodities, energy. Medvedev’s plan gives the world the chance to think seriously about de-politicising energy.