Polish PM appeals for greater energy solidarity in Europe
May 16, 2014
Poland's PM Donald Tusk
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he and his counterparts from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic agreed Thursday at the 2014 GLOBSEC Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia to work on a “solidarity mechanism” in case Russia cuts off gas deliveries through Ukraine.
The Visegrad Group is a good example how to build a common stance, in spite of differences. And our decision to work out, as soon as possible. the details of solidarity mechanism against potential gas crisis is an example of such a common stance, Tusk said at the event attended by the heads of government from the Visegrad countries, NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as well as 800 politicians and experts from 65 countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that his country could stop sending gas next month because of Ukraine’s high gas debts.
Polish PM said that the most important thing is, in spite of all differences, to build European solidarity in the face of such difficult challenges as Ukrainian crisis.
Tusk thanked his counterparts for „continuous support for his idea of the Energy Union”. “The solidarity mechanism worked out in the region will be a good example for the whole European Union to create similar anti-crisis solidarity mechanism.
He also said that Europe would not feel safe if the highest level of energy solidarity is not reached.
The EU must show unity and assume its costs, Polish PM said.
“No solidarity comes for free,” Tusk said, explaining that an approach that puts common interests above national ones is needed if the West’s promises are to be anything more than simple declarations.
Tusk, who for the last few weeks has been running “a diplomatic offensive” concerning his idea of energy union, wants all EU states to jointly negotiate the price of gas bought from outside providers. He also wants the EU to spend more money on developing energy networks to enable countries to share gas in case of cutoffs or shortages.
According to Tusk the joint stance of the EU does not automatically mean a radical position. “If we don’t have a common EU stance on defense and energy we will lose the battle for the future of Europe,” he said.
The comments come as Tusk recently put forward the idea of a
creating a Europe-wide energy union, that would reduce Moscow's dominance over European energy markets.
He also said that EU member states should also work more closely together on energy infrastructure to guarantee the security of supplies and look to better exploit fossil-fuel resources.
The EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger "largely agrees" with the Polish proposal of energy union within the EU, the commissioner's spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. Earlier, German paper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported Oettinger as rejecting the concept.