“Russian Riddle: EU Can’t Agree on a Natural Gas Strategy”

DER SPIEGEL, Frank Dohmen and Christoph Pauly, June 24, 2014: “Russian Riddle: EU Can’t Agree on a Natural Gas Strategy”

European leaders agree that the Ukraine crisis has made natural gas supplies from Russia precarious. Yet they are divided over what to do about it. Poland wants a new European energy union, but others seem to be in no hurry.

The flame last Tuesday was immense, rising some 200 meters (650 feet) into the air out of the natural gas pipeline named Brotherhood in eastern Ukraine. What caused the explosion remains a mystery. But it showed with shocking immediacy just how vulnerable Europe’s energy supply  has become as a result of the unrest in Ukraine.

A day before the explosion,Russian energy giant Gazprom  had announced that it would only continue supplying Ukraine if the country paid for deliveries in advance. Because about half of Russian gas headed for Western Europe flows through Ukraine, European leaders now have a crucial topic to discuss at their summit this week in Brussels: Will deliveries to EU member states be affected?