The discussion featuring Alexandr Vondra, Hryhoriy Nemyria, Vladimir Chizhov, and Pierre Noel held on January 26 at GMF's Brussels Office will be broadcast on NPR Worldwide's stations the weekend of February 14, 2009. Air times are as follows:
Sat. Feb 14 - FM Berlin: 13:00 Eastern, 19:00 CET
Sun. Feb 15 - AFRTS: 15:00 Eastern
Mon. Feb 16 - FM Berlin: 02:00 Eastern, 08:00 CET
Mon. Feb 16 - NPR Worldwide: 02:00 Eastern, 07:00 CET
You can download the hour-long program audio below:
More information is available on the NPR Worldwide website.
EU, Ukraine, Russia leaders debate gas crisis and the way forward
On January 26, the German Marshall Fund and the European Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis. The panelists were Alexandr Vondra, deputy prime minister for European Affairs for the Czech Republic; Hryhoriy Nemyria, deputy prime minister for European and international integration for Ukraine; Vladimir Chizhov, Russian ambassador to the European Union; and Pierre Noel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Discussions opened with Ronald Asmus, executive director of the Transatlantic Center and strategic planning of GMF, asking each of the panelists for their position on how this crisis came to be and their thinking on the way forward.
Vondra described this crisis as a wake up call for all of Europe, emphasizing the need to address this issue in the short, medium, and long term. His proposed strategy is to focus on the capacity to reverse the supply of gas from west to east, increase infrastructure through the development of additional interconnections within the EU, and increase diversification in both supply and transit routes.
Chizhov responded by expressing sympathy for consumers but criticized the EU, stating that they have received warning of the impending measures. He suggested that they could have been swifter and more principled in their decision-making, arguing that this situation worked to undermine the case for Russia‘s signature on the energy charter.
While Chizhov reaffirmed Vondra’s call for a greater diversification in transit routes, he defended long-term gas contracts as necessary to attract investment in the energy sector. Nemyria, criticizing the fragmented nature of the European gas market, argued that greater integration of the gas market is necessary to provide energy security to the whole of Europe.
Independent panelist Pierre Noel drew parallels from the current situation to the 2006 energy crisis. He cited similar structural causes and the resulting solution of a compromise between Russia and Ukraine on transit fees. He argued that a long-term solution requires a self-enforcing regulatory regime that will open up the European gas market by dividing both the supply and transport of gas.
The EU presidency stated that it was necessary to find the lessons learned in this crisis but also noted that there are a number of systemic challenges that continue to impede any major changes to the existing market structure.