Publisher | Europe’s energy weakness

The European Union is caught between two unavoidable needs: guarantee the supply of gas and oil and punish Vladimir Putin so that he stops the dangerous escalation of the war in Ukraine. But given that Russia is the first exporter of energy to the countries of central Europe, the risk that the Kremlin will interrupt the service does not cease to weigh as a brake when it comes to making the sanctions that must be approved reach the level of being an effective threat to break the backbone of the economy Russian. It is specified like this the long-held risk that the lack of diversification of the energy supply is the Achilles heel of the Europeans, now dependent on the designs of Moscow.

Several factors have contributed to an uncertain situation. Firstly, the belief that Russia was a reliable partner, with a large company like Gazprom with sufficient means to meet European needs, an assumption that is only true in a normal situation, but now it wobbles. Secondly, Germany’s haste in dispensing with nuclear power, leaving it at the expense of the gas that flows through two gas pipelines – the northern one, through the Baltic Sea; the southern one through Ukraine– and stop looking for alternative providers. Thirdly, the slow pace of changes in the energy model, with the consequent dependence on fossil fuels. As if this were not enough, the link of former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with the Russian energy sector – he is president of the Russian state-owned Rosneft and of the shareholders’ meeting of Nord Stream AG– casts a shadow of suspicion about the ultimate reason for many of your country’s strategic decisions.

Certainly, maintaining nuclear power is not desirable and the decision to have it for clean energy during the energy transition, as the European Commission has done, is something more than debatable, but that Germany plans to bolt it in the short term translates into being left without a possible alternative and in the hands of an autocrat like Putin. Almost 60% of the gas that Germany needs comes from Russia, and it is true that Russia would lose around 200 million dollars a day if it stopped sending it to the heart of Europe, but Sanctions complicate gas payment bought and Putin may think better to turn off the spigot.

It’s not about doing an image wash to nuclear energy, but rather to recognize facts as relevant as the greater energy independence of France, where 60% of the electricity produced comes from nuclear power plants. Or to appreciate realities as worrying as that the import of liquefied gas from the United States and the Middle East It will be difficult to cover energy needs if Russia cuts the supply or reduces it to a minimum, with the consequent rise in prices. This is the time to rescue the proposal always defended by Spain that the security of energy supplies depends on the coordination of the Twenty-seven, of the diversification of imports and the interconnection of its generation and supply networks, together with a reform of the electricity tariff calculation system. Because there is no doubt that the current model is very harmful, has contributed decisively to triggering inflation and it has not served to advance towards a replacement mechanism that, if necessary, counteracts the possible use by Russia of energy as a political weapon.

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