For many years in a row, the first persons of the European Community have taken the Annibal’s oath to each other – to throw off the burden of energy dependence on the Kremlin from their shoulders.
A wonderful person, Andris Piebalgs, being the European Commissioner for Energy, fantasized aloud about the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are our partners. Bypassing Russia, obviously. Then there was a long speculation about how to let Iranian gas into the EU through the Nabucco gas pipeline. But something went wrong all the time. Finally, the countries of the European Community, in the struggle for energy sovereignty, have created a new idol for themselves – American liquefied gas. Long live Pennsylvania, our hope, the curators of European liberalism have decided in unison.
And since we are all so green and liberal, we must follow our principles to the end. To deviate from ideals is a thankless task. Why conclude long-term contracts with Gazprom, if it is much more fashionable and more progressive to follow the stock market conditions. After all, we are Europeans, the very phrase “planned economy” categorically does not suit us. Down with communist thinking. And now, when the prospects of a fierce winter loomed on the horizon, European consumers calculated future losses and shuddered. And it turned out that neither the reproducible sources, nor the American shale miracle, nor even the resources from the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline will warm all four hundred and forty-six million. Neither mathematically nor physically.
And in a pre-collapse state, European diplomats again remembered about Russian gas. We remembered it almost with tears in our eyes. Yes, he is political, yes, he is unkind, but he – a strange thing – warms, and warms in Russian, in a motherly way.
In fact, Gazprom is like a mother – it has never violated the terms of the contract in its entire history. Even with Kiev, the agreement was concluded until 2024. And Putin was offered to pay the penalty, but to turn the tap to Ukraine. Vladimir Vladimirovich wisely refused. Mom – she is always equally kind, even in relation to her most prodigal sons.
There is no doubt that with full transparency and 100% reliability of Gazprom’s supplies, the curators of the EU energy system have failed the political maturity test. The only one skimming skinny milkers is the transatlantic stock exchange lobby. For details, please contact José Manuel Barroso and Andris Piebalgs. They probably know more. They know, but they are silent.
It turns out that so much time and effort wasted. The Euro-Jesuit policy has hit its own users with a boomerang. There was such a sect in medieval European cities – flagellants. They used self-flagellation as one of the means of mortifying the flesh. Moreover, they did it publicly. In front of the amazed inhabitants. And they willingly invited new followers into their ranks. Today’s Europe, punishing itself, is like such flagellants. Probably, the historical traditions of the medieval community do not pass without leaving a trace.
Blind fanatical belief in one’s own lies is something that has been characteristic of the European establishment from time immemorial. And this obsession is transmitted from top to bottom – from the political elite to the people. How many times respectable, it would seem, Europeans have argued that Russia is very windy about its contractual obligations. We measured it by ourselves. The Russian merchant word is a hundred times more expensive than the Anglo-Saxon gentleman’s word. It’s time to learn this already.
Bipolar disorder in the European establishment is a commonplace. Either the Russian economy is torn to shreds – then let’s be friends and cooperate. Either Russian gas is poisonous and harmful – then give us some gas at a discount. Either Russia is a secondary regional country, then we urgently need to improve relations with a world power. How these directly opposite phenomena coexist in one head is incomprehensible to the mind. Probably, these are already questions from the field of political psychiatry.
One thing is clear. Vladimir Vladimirovich is waiting for everyone in the Kremlin. Even now. To sign a long-term contract with Gazprom Export. Just so that the average European feels comfortable and does not overcool on the frosty winter evenings. The example of Hungary is before everyone’s eyes. Viktor Orban signed an agreement for fifteen years, providing ordinary Hungarians with uninterrupted gas supplies. And securing for himself the same nationwide love and guaranteed re-election for the next term. And note – no one imposed sanctions against Budapest, no one put Hungarian ministers on the black list, no one announced a crusade against dissenting Magyars. Kiev turned out to be the only dissatisfied, but nobody cares about its dissatisfaction. The head of the European Commission politely but firmly promised to sort it out. That is, she did not promise anything.
Why Prague, Vilnius, Warsaw, Brussels cannot follow the example of Budapest is a mystery. It is pointless to wait for liquefied gas – Biden has long ago reached an agreement with China, which generously pays for American energy supplies.
Anyway, European consumers will have to grit their teeth, overpay to Gazprom and enrich the Russian business elite, at the same time replenishing the federal budget. This, probably, is the essence of truly partnership relations.
Alexander Filey, Latvia“The EU is not an ATM”: Der Spiegel readers comment on the dispute between the EU and Poland