By Paul Homewood
The shambolic EU continues to lurch from one disaster to another:
Vladimir Putin’s abusive stranglehold over European gas supplies has been laid bare by explosive EU documents, exposing deliberate violations of EU law and a pattern of political bullying over almost a decade.
The longest investigation in EU history found that the Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom has used its enormous power to pressure vulnerable states in Eastern Europe, and to fragment the EU’s unified energy market with coercive pricing policies.
The report suggests that Germany has been enjoying a sweetheart deal with Gazprom, gaining a competitive advantage in gas costs at the expense of fellow EU economies and leaving front line states at the mercy of Moscow’s strong-arm tactics.
Hundreds of pages leaked from the European Commission paint an extraordinary picture of predatory behaviour, with Gazprom acting as an enforcement arm of Russian foreign policy. Bulgaria was treated almost like a colony, while Poland was forced to pay exorbitant prices for imported flows of pipeline gas from Siberia.
The stash of files slipped to Euro-MPs – in a very rare breach of secrecy rules – amounts a political bombshell. It is highly embarrassing for the EU’s exalted competition directorate. The papers imply that Brussels learned the full truth long ago, yet there are signs that officials may nevertheless be turning a blind eye as they prepare to reach a cosy understanding with Moscow, disregarding fundamental principles of EU law.
Leaked pages paint an extraordinary picture of Gazprom acting as an enforcement arm of Russian foreign policy
“This is a very big deal. What the documents show is that there was systematic abuse of dominant position, and that it was clearly done for political purposes,” said professor Alan Riley, an expert on EU energy law at the Atlantic Council.
“Gazprom was splitting the European energy market at every point. And now the Commission is minded to do a deal that treats the East Europeans as if they were not member states at all,” he said.
The political context is inflammatory. The competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has pursued an aggressive and controversial campaign against US technology companies such as Google and Apple, openly vilifying the Silicon Valley leaders as a threat to European democracy.
The construction of Nord Stream 2, the second gas pipeline which runs directly to Germany from Russia, has already created much controversy in Europe. Many have pointed out the environmental hypocrisy of Germany, who remain addicted to fossil fuels, despite demanding decarbonisation by others.
Politically though, many are worried that it provides a dangerous tool for Vladimir Putin to exert influence over the continent.
But this latest report underlines just how ready Germany is to throw European unity under a bus, if it suits its national interest.
The fact that the EU has seemingly colluded in all of this is even more shameful, though probably not surprising.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
March 26, 2021 at 04:42AM