EU Energy Update
Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about EU energy news.
Last month, President Vladimir Putin issued a sinister, 6,900 word articles The insistence that the Russians and Ukrainians are “one people” seems to open the door for Russia to further intervene in its neighbors.A few days later, the Biden administration Reach an agreement Berlin allowed the completion of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which poses a serious security and economic threat to Ukraine, in exchange for fragile guarantees and compensation for Kiev. The “deal”-actually just a statement-caused serious damage to Ukraine.
Nord Stream has always been a geopolitical project. It will give Russia the ability to transport almost all of its current exports of natural gas from the Baltic Sea to Western Europe directly to Germany, bypassing the transit pipeline through Ukraine. This will reduce Ukraine’s annual gas transportation costs by US$2 billion, which is crucial for an economy of only US$155 billion.
Gazprom said that supplies across Ukraine may continue if European customers buy more Russian gas (EU policy is to reduce dependence on Russia). Putin warned Ukraine must show “goodwill”-read: in accordance with the requirements of the Kremlin-to allow the transit to continue. Kiev has reason to worry that, for Moscow, no longer relying on Ukrainian pipelines for lucrative energy exports will remove key restrictions on further aggression.
Joe Biden in May Abandoned the long-touted U.S. sanctions At the pipeline company, saying that they have no meaning to this project 90% complete When he became president. The agreement was announced a few days after he received the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel) at the White House, promising to take measures if Moscow uses energy as a weapon or takes “further aggression” against Ukraine Restrict Russia’s energy exports to Europe. It provided a $1 billion “green fund” to support renewable energy in Ukraine, and stated that Berlin, with the support of the United States, will use its influence to “promote up to 10 years” of Russian gas transportation.
The agreement has flaws at all levels. The promise to combat Russian misconduct is vague, the Green Energy Fund will not make up for Kiev’s losses, and Germany’s help to expand natural gas transportation is just a “trial promise”.
The optics are bleak. For Washington and Berlin, agreeing to an agreement vital to Ukraine’s interests without Kievans in the room is a gift to Putin’s narrative that big powers can determine the fate of small countries. Even the timing of the German election in September is strange. It will definitely make sense to engage with the next government in Berlin—perhaps including the Green Party against Beixi.
So why did the White House reach an agreement that also aroused opposition from both parties in Congress? The answer seems to be that some advisers are pushing to “set aside the Russia issue” to allow the United States to focus on the main threat: China. They said that Russia is a declining power, and its influence, in addition to its fossil fuel reserves, also comes from its practically unusable nuclear arsenal. This argument is also flawed. In recent years, Russia has threatened the security of Europe and the world.It retains a A large conventional army It can be used.
This agreement is far from uniting democracies as Biden promised, but splitting the East and West of the European Union. Neighboring countries such as Poland and the Baltic countries are deeply concerned about its impact. Most importantly, the failure to resist Russia’s annexation of Crimea and attack on Ukrainian sovereignty has created a dangerous precedent. Beijing will take note of this precedent and Beijing’s own territorial claims against neighboring countries. Responding to the threat from China means responding to the threat from Russia correctly—not hoping that it disappears.