n.12 December 2006

Turkey is a natural bridge for the transport of energy from the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea to the West, and hence for increasing the level of diversification in the sources of supply. This is why the EU’s energy policy must coordinate closely with Turkey’s, not least to escape monopolistic pressures of those who intend to take advantage of their role as producers and suppliers.

Europeans have realised that the great battle for energy cannot be won without a common energy policy. Meanwhile, however, they continue to advance in open order, as the Italian government did recently by signing agreements with Russia and Algeria. This is an undoubted advantage for players like Vladimir Putin, who believe that energy can bring about a new balance of power.

Europe is facing the need to clearly define the content of its energy policy. Chancellor Angela Merkel will take this up in the course of her mandate in the search for a common strategy. It is to be hoped that action will not be limited to a general declaration of intent, which would become yet another exercise in Community rhetoric, for worrying alliances haveemerged in the meantime between the major energy production and distribution groups.

The issue of secure energy became a problem of key importance for Europe in 2006, following the dispute on gas between Russia and Ukraine, if not even earlier. It is in this context that the question of diversification of the supply sources has emerged. The EU predicts that Europe's dependence on natural gas will increase particularly strongly. At present, Europe imports about half of its gas, in 2030 it will be almost 85 percent.