GAS : TUSK: BERLIN-MOSCOW RELATIONS ENDANGER EU SOVEREIGNTY.
Poland's prime minister is asking Germany to review its energy policy with regard to Russia
EU energy policy will be the focus of the meeting between Donald Tusk and Angela Merkel, on 12 March in Warsaw. On 10 March, the Polish prime minister was very critical of the privileged relations between the German energy industry and the Russian gas giant Gazprom. "German dependence on Russian gas can effectively limit European sovereignty," declared Tusk. His comment may seem surprising: Russian gas accounts for 40% of German consumption compared with 60-70% in Poland. But on the other hand, Berlin is in a competitive position and has negotiated a much more advantageous price than Warsaw. "In the future, we will not be in a position to stand up effectively to any aggressive expansions by Russia if so many European states are dependent on Russian gas and have a tendency to increase this dependence," added Tusk. "I will discuss these questions with Chancellor Merkel: how Germany can correct its economic position so that dependence on Russian gas will not paralyse Europe when it needs to act speedily and unambiguously." Poland is enlisting support from its European partners to see to it that EU sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion of Crimea affect oil and gas imports. This position is encountering reluctance in Berlin and London, which do not want to endanger their important economic ties with Moscow.
APPEAL TO WASHINGTON
This position came in the wake of the sending of a joint letter, on 8 March, by the ambassadors to Washington of the Visegrad Group countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) asking the US Congress to remove "bureaucratic obstacles" to the export of American shale gas to Central Europe. The request received support from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, who hopes to put pressure on President Barack Obama. But as MEP Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland) noted upon his return from a trip to the United States, "the Americans seem reluctant to export their shale gas to Europe because it would push up prices for them".
Poland, meanwhile, plans to bring into service, by the end of the year, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port terminal in Swinoujscie, on the Baltic Sea. The infrastructure, which will include two 160 km3 tanks, is expected to result in imports into Poland of 5 to 7.5 billion m3 of gas from Qatar per year. It is the first project of this kind in Central Europe and will be a centrepiece of the single gas market in the Visegrad region, expected to be completed by 2018. "With this diversification and the interconnections we are developing, I can safely say that Poland is on its way to becoming independent enough not to be subject to blackmail over gas," said Tusk.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Mar 26, 2014|
|Previous Article:||GAS : SOUTH STREAM TECHNICAL TALKS STILL ON SCHEDULE - COMMISSION.|
|Next Article:||INTERVIEW WITH URBAN RUSNAK, SECRETARY-GENERAL, ENERGY CHARTER : UKRAINE GAS DISPUTE: "EU IS NOT PERCEIVED AS AN IMPARTIAL ACTOR".|