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Europe’s Energy Domain Extends Beyond its Borders

  • November 20th, 2006
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-oil-refinery.jpgThe drive to secure oil and gas supplies for Europe in the coming decades is the focus of a high-level convocation this week at Brussels.

Extending the energy system
Representatives of the 25 European Union states, surrounding countries, the energy industry and international organisations have been debating plans for an extension of an integrated EU energy system well beyond its own borders.

Announcing the gathering, the European Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebags, said: “The European Union and its external partners need to work together for the extension of our energy market beyond the EU borders. This conference will be an important step towards this goal”.

The attendance list includes thirty national Ministers for External Relations or Energy, and executives of energy companies including the dominant Russian firm Gazprom.

European Commission projections show that Europe has over 50% dependency of energy imports from third countries, expected to grow to over 70% in the coming 15 years.

The extension plan would see an integration of energy resources development, building and use of infrastructure, management and trade.

The European Union has been pressing for closer integration with Russia in all aspects of the energy trade, including the meeting last month between European heads of Government with President Vladimir Putin, during their summit at Lahti, in Finland, (20.10.06).

A further step towards extension of Europe’s energy web took place at a gathering in Skopje, in Macedonia, on 17.11.06.

Four potential member countries or close associates of the European Union were granted observer status in a close association of states, under a formal arrangement called the Energy Community.

Ministers from Moldova, Norway, Turkey and Ukraine attended a Ministerial meeting of the Community body, which was formed under an international Treaty – modeled on the original Coal and Steel Community that formed the basis of the EU.

Membership of the Energy Community is open to any country prepared to accept the European Union’s energy market rules, and which has direct physical links to the European Union electricity and gas grids.

Present members are the 25 EU states, with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia / Montenegro, Albania, the UN-oversighted Kosovo, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania.