EU flexes its muscles

Commissar Olli

Too lateToo late

The EU is developing confidence with its worldwide importance. We have an EU force being sent to Chad, only 4 months late, to help solve the problem of security for Dafur refugees. It was unfortunate that the Chadean rebels (UFDD) just happened to choose the same time to attack the capital N'Djamena,as that chosen for the EU force to enter Chad. They used helicopters supplied by Russia to help do so.The French now have 1,100 troops based in Chad under a military treaty and will lead and provide half of the EU force. The latter sport an armband with a little ring of stars. So the EU is now put in the invidious position of supporting corrupt President Déby. Admittedly there is that oil pipeline to Cameroon to protect.

It is a pity President Déby didn't spend some of the wealth on health and education, just on weapons and corruption. Chad is yet another petro-state see here funded by the World Bank, another pipeline resulting in: environmental damage, population eviction, prostitution etc etc. Who are the rebels? They are led by a former Defence Minister, Mr. Nouri. Apart from that, who knows; I doubt the EU does. Sudan is also not keen on the force and is said to be supporting the rebels. A bit of an impasse.

Chad-Cameroon PipelineChad-Cameroon Pipeline
At the same time the EU is sending in 1,800 police and others into Kosovo. It is expected that the UN will make some special allowance for this to happen but Russia is not too pleased and they control a great deal of European power supplies. There is a huge highway being built from Albania through to Kosovo, Albania denies any wish to create a Greater Albania. The EU plans to consider both Albania and Kosovo for future EU membership so perhaps it won't matter as union will be the de facto result.

Now Serbia is getting a real telling off see here, by Olli Rehn (who he? Commissioner for Enlargement) for not signing up to the EU's pre-nuptual agreement to join the EU. Olli said that: "I deeply regret the obstruction by certain politicians in Belgrade. In my view they have failed to hear the voice of the Serbian people who voted last Sunday in favour of Serbia's European future, in favour of better lives, better citizen rights. It is truly sad for Serbia if politicians continue to put power games ahead of their own citizens' interests."

Olli RehnOlli Rehn

Now the vote was practically 50:50 and Tadic only won by a tiny percentage; the EU helped manipulate the elections by offering faster track membership if Kosovo were allowed independence. What right does the EU have to make such pronouncements? The citizens of the EU have not been allowed to vote on the Lisbon Constitution/Treaty so who else is putting power games in front of their own citizen's interests? Quite a few don't even want to be, or consider themselves, EU citizens Commissar Rehn. Russia is very unhappy about the whole matter and Serbia has just sold a majority stake in its gas and oil to Gazprom. So who has the whip hand?

We know that the EU has gone for the moral high ground regarding energy and emissions. It is helping put the poor in the developing world at risk by insisting on the use of 10% biofuels in transport by 2020. It has decreed 20% renewables by 2020 and has distorted energy markets by giving huge subsidies. Yet the existing emissions trading scheme has resulted in an increase in carbon emissions. The European Commission's climate strategy is increasing Europe's energy vulnerability, with emissions restrictions leading to power companies scrapping plans to build plants, according to the World Energy Council see here.
Intermittent power
for our childrenIntermittent power for our children

From 2013 full auctioning of emissions quotas will compound European vulnerability to energy crises. And, according to the EU's Greens, four major companies profiteered from the Emissions Trading Scheme ( ETS) at the expense of consumers and boosted their earnings by between €6bn and €8bn. I would say that they took advantage of muddled EU policy and organisation to profit their shareholders - as they are meant to do. Meanwhile, Alstom, the world's leading coal-fired power plant manufacturer has warned that EU plans for carbon capture and storage (CCS) would require as much as €12 billion in funding. Now, this is a snitch surely? Less than one London Olympics to help save the world.

Who controls much of our gas, why, Russia. Who could sell more to China? Why, Russia. America wants missile defences in Poland and Russia wanted them in Serbia. It's all feeling rather chilly. A 'very cool' rather than a new Cold War? Perhaps the Commission should also 'cool it' a bit. After all, the Russian President, however unfairly, is elected; whereas the Commissioners are not and that includes our Olli.