lundi, janvier 02, 2006

Cold War

Europe has woken up to the New Year drained of some essential energy that could be helpful to combat the cold in the months ahead. This time the energy drain is not due to excess revelling (definitely not in Paris) but because Putin's government has cut off the crucial gas pipeline that passes to Europe through Ukraine. An EU Energy Summit has already been set in order to discuss the pressure drop in pipelines in Eastern European countries after Gazprom (the Russian Copmapny) cut off the gas supply to Ukraine.

The dispute is supposed to be between Russia and the Ukraine over Ukraine's refusal to accept a new Russian gas bill that effectively quadrupled costs for the Orange Democracy. The political motivations for this gas spat could run deeper. Russia might still be punishing Ukraine for its shift towards the West. Russia cannot have ignored the fact that this "punishment" affects European countries as much as Kiev.

Which means that this escalation threatens Europe with a Cold Winter. And its not the first time that the Russians use the power of the icicle to win their battles... ask Napoleon and Hitler. Fortunately, the latest "Cold" bout had ended with the dismantlement of the communist behemoth and the "democratisation" of the East.

Russia supplies around 25% of European gas needs. Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany would be the first countries to feel the effects of this embargo. The Brussels meeting of EU gas industry experts will take pplace on January 4th.

... and on January 7th the Three Kings are expected to bring us Gold, Frankincense and Brrrrr!

source: BBC World News
picture: Napoleon's Retreat from Russia, 1812, Theodore Gericault

1 commentaire:

Justin Borg Barthet a dit…

On the other hand, the Russians might reason that they should not continue to subsidise energy supplies to a State that is no longer allied with them. It's not entirely unreasonable for the Russians to demand world prices as opposed to a quarter of the market-value of the gas.

Then again, I do agree that a warm and fuzzy pan-Slavic sentiment and the proper place of the Motherland may have had a lot more to do with it.