Sunday, November 28, 2010
Putin Lambasts EU for Robbery
Russian Premier Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles during his current visit to Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking to a group of investors in Berlin, Putin reacted sharply to EU laws that are aimed to liberalize the European energy market. In March 2009, the EU agreed that companies from outside of the European bloc would not be able to purchase strategic distribution networks without approval of the host governments.
Putin said such laws deprived Russian investors of getting a return on their investment, and said the laws deprived Gazprom the right to use its own property. He asked rhetorically, "What is this? What is this robbery?" He continued that the laws were already creating difficulties for Nordstream, and he confidently asserted that Russia was the source of Europe's energy: whether it be oil, gas...or firewood. "I don't understand: how will you heat your houses? You do not want gas, you do not want to develop nuclear energy. Where will you get your heat from, then?" ("Putin says EU energy laws are uncivilized "Robbery"; Today's Zaman, 28 November 2010)
The Premier is noted for such rhetorical flourishes; but, given Russia's track record of cutting oil supplies to Europe in the dark of winter during its disputes with Ukraine, questions about where Europe will obtain its heat need to be taken seriously. Putin's rhetoric is a direct threat to the energy security of the continent.
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