- oD 50.50
This week's editor
No to TTIP
The European commission's new energy plan falls far short of the integrated, long-term strategy that the continent needs, says Dieter Helm.
The "special relationship" between Russia and Germany over energy supplies is both a challenge to European Union integration and an invitation to get serious about it, says Dieter Helm.
Russia's combative "resource nationalism" is a reaction to the frontier capitalism of the 1990s. The west should look, learn and reform, says Dieter Helm.
Western oil companies are reeling from a series of setbacks in Russia. Welcomed in under Boris Yeltsin, offering a new frontier for exploration and production, the likes of BP and Shell saw a chance to build up their reserves. BP saw Russia as a next step in its history - after Iran (it was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company originally), then Alaska, and then the North Sea.
The gas-price dispute that erupted in early 2006 has sobering lessons for all the parties involved, says Dieter Helm.
When Gazprom turned down the gas supply to the Ukraine in early January 2006, there was a sense of panic in Europe, as the full extent of dependency on Russian supplies dawned, both inside and outside the old Soviet boundaries. Some saw this as a wake-up call, which would usher in a dash-for-nuclear.
The argument over genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) needs to be seen in the context of wider agricultural policy. In itself, the technology is neutral and may even have possible benefits. But the use of GMOs by farmers tied to the distorting economics of the EUs Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will only intensify the latters disastrous environmental impact. Rather than ban GMOs, it would be better to reform the CAP and tax agrochemicals.