by Frank Schnittger
Sat Jul 26th, 2014 at 03:04:09 AM EST
298 mostly European civilians lost their lives when a civilian airliner was apparently shot down by a sophisticated homing missile available only to the most advanced armies in the world and fired from an area controlled by Ukrainian insurgents. Such weapons had allegedly been previously used to shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft. Whether it was operated by Ukrainian insurgents, Russian "advisers", or regular Russian troops, is almost immaterial: Putin and the Russian federation are almost certainly ultimately responsible. And yet European leaders do little but wring their hands and complain about the chaotic crash scene investigation and the recovery of bodies and personal effects.
No one expects European leaders to go to war with a nuclear power like Russia over such a provocation - but the repeated mincing of words by Obama and his Nato allies is nothing short of embarrassing. Well might Putin et al obfuscate until the outcry dies down. But isn't it about time that the EU took some concerted action? How about a strategic EU energy policy and plan to reduce all dependence on Russian gas within 10 years to zero by building a European supergrid powered from largely sustainable sources?
The problem with most forms of sustainable energy is that they require very large amounts of capital upfront, reasonable interest rates, and guaranteed feed in tariffs to be economically viable. This is problematic at a time when many EU states - particularly those at the periphery are over-borrowed and under huge pressure to reduce Sovereign and private indebtedness. But how about making such capital available through the European Investment Bank for EU Commission approved projects?
Irish and Scottish wind, wave and tidal turbines allied to eastern European and Mediterranean solar farms could make up a huge amount of the energy deficit created by a progressive reduction in Russian energy imports, whilst at the same time providing a much needed boost to investment and employment starved peripheral EU economies. Would it be too much to ask the EU to be proactive and actually take the lead in such a continent wide project? Would it be too much to ask for the EU to actually have a continent wide energy policy?
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