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BB200611, News in Brief

Informal European Council Dominated by Energy

22.11.2006

President Putin did recognize the need for establishing "common principles" in the relations between Russia and the European Union, at least as far as energy is concerned. Mr. Putin went along the lines of Commission President José Manuel Barroso when he said that "Russia needs Europe just as much as Europe needs Russia".

However, the Russian President refused to change his position regarding the European Energy Charter. The door wasn’t completely closed as Mr. Putin said “[ Russia was] not against the principles that are included in the charter, but we believe that certain provisions of the charter should be defined better”.

This approach from Moscow raised again the question of the relationship Europe should have with Russia. Danish Prime Minister Andres Fogh Rasmussen said that Russia has to be treated as an “important strategic partner”.

Rasmussen saw renewables as part of a solution: "The most important means to achieve that goal is to increase our production of renewable energy, to reduce our dependency on imported energy," said Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in an interview with Reuters Television.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett also spoke of tense conflicts. Mrs Beckett said that climate change would bring more famines, make water shortage an even worse problem and threaten security of energy supplies.

Speaking in Berlin, just after the Lahti informal summit, she claimed that climate change can fuel conflicts between states. “In short, a failing climate means more failed states,” she stressed, pointing out that investing in renewables is not only an imperative, but also an opportunity.

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