21 March, 2007
“The best way to deal with gas issues, is that these should be based on free-market conditions” was the non-answer an EU commission spokesperson provided when I asked clarification yesterday on new media stories that major gas producers are likely to set up an OPEC-like gas-cartel on 9 April in Doha, Qatar.
It seems the Brussels bureaucrats are losing less sleep than some European business leaders over this potential development. Last week during the European Business Summit, Belgian business leader Rudy Thomaes expressed explicit worries taking the threat apparently more seriously than the Commission.
When I asked the spokesperson again if he was trying to find out the truth about these stories, his short answer was: “we are always trying to find out the truth” but indicated that media stories do not really scare them.
I wonder why the EU has all these highly-praised energy dialogues when, in moments like these, no one seems to be using them. Or are they just used to keep the commissioner busy and give some of the bureaucrats their regular exotic tourist trip?
For those of you interested to follow this story, Radio Free Europe has a good article. EurActiv just published a CEPS analysis which also downplays the possibility of such a cartel. Michael J. Economides in Foreign Policy on the other hand thinks the gas cartel will come about.Author : Willy De Backer