Thursday, January 12, 2006

End of Fool's Paradise

Issues of energy continue to gain prominence on the European political agenda.

Yesterday there was a major public debate in Brussels over these and related issues in which I participated. The occasion was a presentation of and debate on the new version of its Global Scenarios that Shell has produced.

Coming out of a mandate from the European Council meeting in Hampton Court last year, the Commission is now working on a major proposal to be presented to the March meeting of the European Council.

Energy security will be very much in the focus of that report, the first ideas of which were discussed by the Commission at its regular meeting yesterday.

But it's not only the dispute between Russia and the Ukraine that has now focused the minds of policy-makers in Brussels and elsewhere. There are also very real energy-related issues involved in the now rapidly escalating dispute with Iran.

And some of us - including the key decision-makers in Brussels - spent most of the evening yesterday discussing what might happen and what can be done.

EUObserver quotes me from the public debate as saying that we so far have been living in a fool's paradise in which issues of energy were strikingly absent from the political agenda.

But those days are now definitely gone.