Energy is the most important topic today on the second day of the European Summit in Brussels, but solidarity during the (energy) crisis is not natural in Europe. That’s also what Matthew Brondel, who studies the role of energy on the world stage, says.
Yesterday, the European Summit was still about candidates for membership in Ukraine and many other countries, today the top European players are changing their shoulders. High energy prices and supplies for next winter are at the table.
Crisis consultation is needed because energy prices are soaring due to the Ukrainian war. Western nations have imposed strict sanctions on Russia, a major producer of oil and gas. Result: Price increases and gas taps slowly but surely turned off from Moscow.
Germany is also experiencing this. Yesterday, the Minister of Economy announced that Germany has promulgated the second phase of the country’s emergency gas supply program. This means, among other things, that businesses and households are required to consume less gas.
Therefore, according to Prime Minister Alexander de Crew (Open VLD), it is time for European solidarity. According to the Prime Minister, the fact that Germany has to expand its emergency plans reveals a major problem. If the country gets into trouble and as a result the German industry has to be closed, then in Europe. “
We finally have to be one energy block
“That’s why,” De Crew said yesterday. To intervene. ”
So it’s one of Europe’s energy blocks, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s what Matthew Brondel, a postdoctoral fellow in energy geopolitics at Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom, says.
Brondel pointed out in the “morning” of Radio 1 that the European solidarity mechanism already existed. “In 2017, it was agreed that other Member States would be obliged to assist if there was a supply problem in the Member State.”
That’s the theory, but it’s actually very difficult. “Germany’s reliance on Russia is very high. Group buying of gas will not solve the problem in principle,” Brondel said.
And do you remember the corona crisis? When there was a shortage of protective equipment at the beginning of the crisis, member states stopped trucks at the border with other European countries. It was everyone for himself. “Nationalism often dominates at important moments.”
If so, should sanctions on Russia be reduced? “Our sanctions were to hurt the Russians. The Russians went out into the streets and demanded that the invasion of Ukraine be put to an end, but that rarely happened.”
“It’s very difficult to ease sanctions. It’s a political face loss. Russian President Vladimir Putin expects Europe to pay more attention to sanctions now that Europe is experiencing great impact. Brondel concludes.
“Everyone understands that if we think of ourselves first, we will perish together,” said Prime Minister De Crew. “If we don’t do it now, we’ll have an accident, and next winter it will be even higher, and we’ll probably face a shortage,” he said. A special summit on energy is also being considered, according to De Crew. It seems that the main agreement has not yet been written on the stars.