Friday, 27 February 2015

EU "Energy Union": A Real Monster

The blockbuster Energy Union Package hatched this week by the new Commission has been a while in the creation, signalled by Master Mandelson last year.  Obviously one's first reaction is that this would be an appalling extension of the Acquis, with massive potential for corruption of all kinds, to be resisted at all costs.

But there are a very large number of components in this monstrosity, making it it worthy of more detailed consideration, which I propose to give it in the coming days.  Here are a few initial observations, in no particular order.
  • some of its proponents are very critical of  the 'ever closer union'-supporting countries whom one might imagine a priori would be most in favour of another acqui-grab: critical of France, and particularly of Germany.  That's because a major strand of this is about Eastern Europe looking for the help of the Big Brothers in their hitherto one-sided dealings with Gazprom, in which they feel they've been hung out to dry
  • there is a strong strand of anti-Russian 'energy revanchism' in play here - if only as a smokescreen (security of supply being the last refuge of a scoundrel) - and one cannot but note the timing relative to recent setbacks suffered by the EU expansionistas in their Ukrainian policy 
  • France has always wanted the rest of us to pay its astronomical nuclear decommissioning bill, so a 'CEP' was always going to be on the table to join the CAP at some stage
  • the UK has worked wonders behind the scenes, over more than a decade, to drive the open energy market agenda across the EU - with considerable success, given the entrenched opposition from France and Germany.  The Package contains a lot of commendable open-market rhetoric - again, maybe as a smokescreen
  • the politics of all this will be epic.  Why would Germany give up its direct gas links with Russia?  Why would France give more power to anti-nuclear forces within Europe?  Why would the fervent anti-nukes allow France the opportunity to enshrine the nuclear option in an EU charter? (as they surely will - an absolute red line for them). Why would the UK accept such a blatant extension of centralisation from Brussels, enough perhaps to make us quit altogether?  (well OK, we know Mili would love it)
  • the greens will be wetting themselves at the whole prospect, seeing it as the perfect instrument for implementing their wildest fantasies
And so it goes on.  More than can be addressed in a single post, that's for sure.

ND

13 comments:

Elby the Beserk said...

Splendid!More bureaucracy. More regulations. More jobs for the boys. The EU monster grows and grows. Like Topsy

Dick the Prick said...

What's the strategic benefit other than,as Elby states, brown envelopes and sinecures for bums? Why would Blighty or Germany agree as they're all still gonna be susceptible to the same pressures as they are now.

Obviously, I don't know anywhere near as much as ND but why would a supplier want to deal with one body unless there's cash in it - divide and conquer usually being more profitable and how would a bloc benefit from economies of scale when there's no particular reduction in the operating costs etc?

Cheers Nick - defo to be continued - I can feel myself getting taxed in advance....

hatfield girl said...

"In May 2014 the Commission set out in its Energy Security Strategy8 how the EU
remains vulnerable to external energy shocks and called on policy makers at national and
EU level to make clear to citizens the choices involved in reducing our dependency on
particular fuels, energy suppliers and routes. The Energy Union builds on this strategy."

This isn't about an energy policy; it's about a European foreign and war policy. And as for 'a developing Mediterranean gas hub' that involves Africa, north and sub-saharan, too in a European strategic stance.

European gas and oil are under other, non-European, people's sand and sea, as we know. Not that I'm against taking what we need but perhaps we should discuss it in those terms, not pretend we're talking about household gas and electricity bills.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I do admire the French. Their technocrats are simply so much smarter than our dilettante PPE bunglers. It's amazing what can be achieved by patriotic intelligent grown-ups.

hovis said...

HG: Are there not larg (ish?) conventional as deposits in the Eastern Med? Always easier to force thins through when people believe they iare in bankrupcy?

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