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Russia-Belarus Gas War is a Wake Up Call

From the Independent:

Oil market gets the jitters after Russians close Belarus pipeline By Michael Harrison, Business Editor … The EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebags said there was no immediate risk to Europe’s energy supplies. Nevertheless, Russia’s action will intensify pressure on the European Commission to take steps to bolster the security of Europe’s energy supply when it unveils its EU energy review tomorrow. The review, carried out by the EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, has principally been about opening up Europe’s energy market by tackling the monopolies that continue to exist in many member states. However, Brussels is facing calls for the remit of the review to be widened to take account of Russia’s actions. Robert Amsterdam, defence lawyer for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed Russian oligarch and former head of oil giant Yukos, said: “The dispute between Belarus and Russia should act as a wake-up call to the EU Commission. It cannot allow Russia to retain its stranglehold over Europe’s energy supplies without any transparent agreement to legal principles. The European Commission must use its Strategic Energy Review to address concern over EU energy security. This will be the most important policy statement on energy in the Commission’s history.” Mr Amsterdam added that the relationship between the EU and Russia had become “seriously unbalanced” in Moscow’s favour and said the Commission needed to negotiate a restructuring of the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom and market entry into Russia by European energy companies. The EU energy review is expected to point to evidence of collusion and market failure in a number of member states and hasten efforts to break up vertically integrated monopolies in countries such as Germany.