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Medvedev May Seek to Assure Merkel on Russian Energy Supplies

by Lyubov Pronina and Brian Parkin

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(Bloomberg) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev may seek to assure Europe of Russia’s reliability as an energy supplier and allay German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s human- rights concerns in a one-day visit to Berlin today.

Medvedev will meet Merkel and President Horst Kohler and address about 1,000 business executives and lawmakers in his first trip to Western Europe as Russia’s leader.

“Energy will be at the forefront of talks and they won’t be easy,” Yevgeny Volk, a Moscow-based analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a U.S. research group, said in a telephone interview. “Russia wants to increase its energy influence in Europe, while Western countries would like to get more guarantees from Russia that deliveries will not fail.”

Note there is no discussion about price. The euro negotiators want to ensure deliveries with an agreement that is necessarily unenforceable in any case. Russia does have 25,000 nuclear weapons, for example.

Russia, which supplies 25 percent of Europe’s energy, has clashed with Europe over concerns that it abuses its role as Europe’s main energy source to further its political agenda. It opposes further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, U.S. plans for a missile-defense shield in Europe and Kosovo’s secession from Serbia.

Looks to me that Russia is in full control, and is using its position to enhance its real terms of trade, something never even mentioned by the Eurozone.

Germany and the European Union have pressed for guarantees that Russia will follow a uniform policy for supplying oil and gas across the bloc, weakening its capacity to wield energy policy as an arm of diplomacy. Russia briefly cut off gas to Ukraine in 2006 in a pricing dispute.

As if quantity ‘guarantees’ would ‘weaken’ anything. Apart from being unenforceable, it all misses the point of price and relative value.

Good luck to the Eurozone!!!


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