Saturday, October 14, 2006

The EU-Russia energy connection

Source: Commission calls for stronger EU policy on energy security -

The EU’s European commission has recently urged Euro leaders to improve its relationship with “strategically important neighbors” such as energy-supplying Russia. Russia currently supplies roughly 25% of the EU’s gas and oil, making it’s role key in continuing economic growth in the region.

However, concerns over human rights violations in the former super-power have complicated negotiations and led to uneasiness on both sides; a spokeswoman for the commission assured the public that it has not put aside those concerns because of its dependence on Russian energy. She further noted that the energy dependence goes both ways – the EU is Russia’s largest energy client. The spokeswoman also insisted that the EU use its economic link to Moscow as a means of influencing it on human rights issues.

Meanwhile, the EU’s “European Institute of Technology”, part of an effort to spur innovation in the field of energy and other technologies, and its development have been delayed due to a less than enthusiastic response from the business and academic sectors in the EU. The commission says that plans for the EIT will now be agreed upon by October 18th.

- Would development of alternative fuel technologies serve to improve or destroy relations in the region between Russia and the EU?

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