“energy Diplomacy: Europe’s Gas Relations With Russia” – The council has proposed 5 ways to tackle the energy crisis – here’s how countries can keep the ideas alive ahead of an emergency energy council meeting on Friday.

Energy Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, will consider five proposals to solve energy costs. Getzo Photos via Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

“energy Diplomacy: Europe’s Gas Relations With Russia”

EU energy ministers descend on Brussels on Friday to discuss their options as Europe faces a catastrophic energy crisis.

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On Wednesday, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will consider the five proposals and the proposals of the member states.

Ministers are expected to agree on at least a few areas, including capping power companies’ profits from not generating electricity with expensive natural gas and funding health services.

But other ideas, including lower Russian natural gas prices and mandatory energy conservation, are highly controversial.

Ministers are unlikely to formally accept any of the proposals, EU diplomats said. Instead, the Council will formally present its proposal next week, with a final decision to be made by national leaders next week.

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The goal of the summit, diplomats said, is to advise the Council on its proposal, calm highly volatile energy markets and reassure Europeans that everything is under control.

A key part of the council’s proposal is to limit the profits made by companies that use technologies such as wind and nuclear to produce energy, known in Brussels as “inframarginals”, but which currently make large and unexpected profits as electricity prices are set. with very expensive natural gas. That reduced cash will help consumers deal with higher energy bills.

The proposal has been widely welcomed by countries including Germany, Greece, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Poland, Italy and the Netherlands, which either show transparency behind the proposals or throw their weight behind them, EU and national diplomats said.

But there are challenges. Countries have different energy mixes, and gas-dependent people like Italy may receive less because revenues from gas producers are not included in the scheme.

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The council has proposed setting the scheme at £200 per megawatt hour, but France has argued that different energy producers should be subject to different rates, according to an energy ministry official.

Von der Leyen also called on countries to reduce energy demand through mandatory “smart savings” during peak hours.

Countries such as the Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia and Germany are open to such a policy in principle – some want it to be voluntary rather than mandatory.

Poland’s Environment Minister Anna Moskwatold told Poland’s Polsat television that “we do not plan to implement the government’s restrictions,” adding that the Council has no authority to make such demands. “I understand that the president of the European Union wants us to save energy, and he can appeal, encourage, show good examples, but he does not have the power to force any country.”

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On Wednesday, von der Leyen proposed capping the price paid for Russian gas, saying it was aimed at protecting vulnerable consumers and squeezing the Kremlin’s profits.

But some countries, particularly in Central Europe, worry that Russia’s small gas pipeline could be completely cut off from the continent.

France, Estonia, the Netherlands and at least three other countries are said to be open to curbing Russian gas. But others – including Poland, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Italy – want the Commission to go further and lower the price of imported gas. Some warn that they will abandon the price targeting only Russia.

“Cutting off Russian gas is just a political goal,” Belgian Energy Minister Tinne van der Straetensyde said. We will not agree to that,” he said.

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“Germany is very concerned,” van der Straeten said. “We don’t feel strong support from Germany.”

As many utilities face bankruptcy and seek bailouts, von der Leyen also said EU countries could “help support liquidity” for utility companies.

This could mean government credit lines for companies that need to trade in some, EU state aid rules have temporarily suspended these subsidies.

Countries such as Germany, Belgium and Poland have said they are open to it, but others such as Slovakia are said to be skeptical.

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The council also called for a tax on the profits made by fossil fuel companies, and those funds were distributed to consumers.

“Oil and gas companies have also made huge profits. We will therefore offer a solidarity contribution for fossil fuel companies,” von der Leyen said.

At least three national diplomats said they did not have enough time to prepare a position on the idea. One senior national diplomat called the wording of the commission’s proposal “unclear” and said further discussion was needed.

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The European Union’s Competitive Globalism

Sign in to access content and manage your profile. If you don’t have an account, you can register here. The Green Deal launched by the new Commission in 2019 will fundamentally change the energy diplomacy of the European Union (EU). However, while the EU must adapt to the new policy direction set by the Green Deal, it cannot be discounted. EU energy diplomacy will have to deal with the deep and diverse geo-economic and geo-political changes driven by the energy transition, which include and even exceed the Green Deal goals. The current EU Energy Diplomacy Action Plan should be revised. In setting new priorities, the Alliance will need to strike a balance between global demands and limited financial resources. The upcoming German EU Presidency is called upon to strengthen the EU’s efforts to promote energy diplomacy in three areas. First, review existing priorities in light of new challenges. Second, expand the geographic radius of their actions beyond their immediate neighbors by focusing on the 12 anchor partners along the Afro-Eurasian-Asia ellipse. Third, update the toolbox of tools in five new areas, avoiding a more realistic and country-specific normative-ideological approach.

EU priorities are changing: In 2019, the von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. The Next Generation Recovery Plan was implemented in May 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

This policy clearly speaks to the European climate and will inevitably influence EU foreign policy as it positions the EU as a global leader to take the Green Deal agenda to other corners of the world. The external dimension of the energy policy implemented within the framework of the EU’s Energy Diplomacy Action Plan introduced in 2015 will have to adapt accordingly.

As traditionally defined in the 2015 action plan, ensuring the availability of fossil fuel supplies and strengthening multilateral energy governance, EU energy diplomacy should not only adapt to the new policy direction set by the Green Deal. to the profound geo-economic and geopolitical changes set in motion by the (various) energy transitions across the globe. These changes are driven by new strategic technologies and the value chain around renewable energy sources; Hydrogen and its by-products, batteries and modern storage technologies through the production, trade and transport of (pure) gases; by further digitizing energy system(s); with the increasing electrification of economies as a result of the energy transition and the new industrial revolution (Industry 4.0); through cross-border power grids and new ‘cell communities’; by changing the dynamics in the financial and investment environment.

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In addition, alternative (and competing) visions for a future energy system are being promoted by powers such as China and the United States. This has led not only to global transformation processes, but also to cooperation within the EU and with third countries, thereby eliminating multilateral energy governance mechanisms in favor of economic fragmentation and technological-regulatory competition.

As a result, an additional challenge has emerged – the crisis linked to the Covid-19 outbreak – which has already had a major impact on European and global energy systems in recent months and will have long-lasting consequences for years to come. As we can see from the drop in world oil, gas and electricity prices, the corona crisis will affect not only the stability of economies dependent on fuel exports, but also the European energy industry. In addition to this immediate shock, medium-term impacts globally include the disruption of wind and solar value chains; reduced investment flows to the energy sector; delays in the construction of critical infrastructure and renewable electricity generation facilities; significant changes in consumption behavior; rapid and uncontrolled digitization of the energy sector; and additional harm to health due to lack of access to clean food fuel for landlocked populations (eg, India). Given that –

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