May 11, 2008
The V-4 information site has an interesting article on the natural gas dependence of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. I think it helps a little bit to explain the controversy along the Nabucco-pipeline, which is supposed to bring Turkmen and Iranian gas into the Union. It also shows that a greatly enlarged EU has a hardship in defining its common strategic goals.
“The energy sources balance of the EU, similarly to that of the Visegrad countries (with the exception of Poland), is dominated by liquid fuels – the usage of gas and oil outstrips that of the coal. In comparison with the EU, Visegrad countries remain dependent on gas supply to a greater extent”. Although the current energy demand of the EU is 60% self-supplied, there are great differences among member states. Some member states like Greece and Finland are fully dependent on Russian supplies, and the Visegrad Group is also close to this situation. On the other hand, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands can fully supply themselves with natural gas.
I think this is a very similar situation to the American-European visa-row. The history of Nabucco-plan goes back before the accession of most Central European countries and it seems that the new composition of EU has a hardship on finding a solution that will take into account the different national, or rather regional interests within the enlarged EU. This is similar to the fact that the EU as a whole was blocking a new visa-agreement with the US in hope to achieve something in data protection while Central European EU citizens have not even had the similar rights to travel freely to the US. The Central European states have proven that they can act together and go against an old EU-15 policy. I think it would be much better if the old and newer member states would develop such a new mechanism of negotiations that is not based on annulling each others aims but it helps reaching common goals.Author : Dániel Antal