Brussels, 20th of March 2014.
Office of H.Van.R.
To the hands of: UK government
Regarding: EU summit
Thanks for your contribution, UK! Great idea, this: “The EU needs to wean itself off its dependence on Russian energy.”
To think no one has thought of that before!, … oh, yes, that´s right. The Brussels bureaucracy did.
Planning for how the EU can wean itself off its dependence on Russian energy has been going on for some time now.
The European Commission produced a plan in 2006, for example. Remember, the cold winter when Russia turned off the gas taps for Bulgarians and Poles? It seemed obvious for anyone interested not only in what´s going on under their noses, that the EU needed such a plan.
You may have noticed the subject coming up at every Energy Council where it is a standing point on the agenda?
Too bad you haven´t had the opportunity to support it until now. The EU might have come a long way already, since 2006.
But let´s not be petty, at least the idea came to you now. (I´m just a tiny bit surprised, seen as you normally feel that the EU shouldn´t meddle so much…but we can all change, can´t we?)
You even have new ideas on how this can be done, UK. Great. And your idea is that we buy more energy from the USA, some of their surplus shale gas and also buy natural gas from Iraq.
As I mentioned, the European Commission had a plan too, back in the days.
It did not involve simply getting more dependent on another foreign source of energy, such as you propose.
What´s that?, not so foreign really, seen as your British companies are heavily involved in American shale gas and in Iraqi natural gas?
Good for you. I believe however, it still means that non-European states hold a key to energy supplies.
Thanks anyway, for giving the whole thing a thought.
But while we´re on the subject of weaning-off-Russia, may I suggest that you also start weaning yourselves off your dependence on Russia?
I´m not talking energy anymore. You don´t buy energy off the Russians so your plan would, of course, not force you to change anything at all.
Your plan asks only of others to change.
Nor would it demand any effort, by the way, of the two EU governments that have come out in support of your weaning-the EU-off-Russian-energy-dependence-plan, Sweden and Denmark.
Sweden buys no energy from Russia and Denmark next to nothing.
(Incidentally, both countries are doing exactly what we suggested the whole of EU should go for back in 2006 – they have been expanding the renewable sector so much they´ve heavily reduced their need of importing energy.
How much have you raised your share of renewables, UK – from just under 5% in 2009 to…really? 4.1% last year?)
Sorry, lost the plot there for a while, I was saying… yes, about the weaning-off-thing. Russian money, you are extremely dependent on it, I understand?
* Russia’s oligarchs, business people and senior officials have become one the largest national groups of buyers for London properties worth £10m or more.
* These individuals have also become a key customer segment for London’s wealth management industry.
* There are now 113 companies from Russia and the broader CIS region with shares quoted on the London Stock Exchange.
* City-based banks are also engaged in Russia, through funding lines.
(I´m just quoting your press here, the Financial Times.)
So, if you do your homework and – if I may be as bold as to suggest – try not to get in the way of others doing their homework with your constant bickering about how Brussels interfere in national matters – I think we will be able to get somewhere.
But thanks for joining in, for once.
Best H. Van R.
P.S. Yes, yes. Of course, I will add your paper to the summit documents and I have no doubt many heads of state will applaude your contribution heartily so you can declare yet another victory in front of your national press.