So much for Russia being an ally of Europe against the U.S.! Russia alienates countries from Kazakhstan to Denmark. The Washington Post reports:
RUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union urged the United States on Saturday to join it in pressing for open energy markets and more democracy in Russia when the world’s leading industrial powers meet in St Petersburg in July.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a transatlantic conference that the 25-nation EU and Washington should press Moscow to create free market conditions and legal certainty to guarantee predictable energy supplies.
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said Washington was ready to work with Europe to promote an open, commercially based and non-political energy regime.
“We need to enhance our external cooperation and create the necessary market conditions and legal framework in those producers or transit countries on which the world economies count for their energy supply,” Barroso told the Brussels Forum.
“We can no longer afford, nor should we accept, the unpredictability of the energy market,” he said. Moscow’s abrupt cut in supplies to and through Ukraine in January over a pricing dispute sparked alarm across Europe. His comments capped a week in which Russia has threatened to divert gas supplies from Europe to Asia if EU countries shut its giant monopoly supplier Gazprom out of their retail markets.
Fried told a news conference: “We want to work with Europe to advance our common interest in an energy regime in Eurasia which is open, which is commercially based, not politically based, which is allows for multiple sources of energy, so there is no one single source in one party’s hands.”
Republican Senator John McCain, a possible presidential contender, said Washington should be tougher on what he called President Vladimir Putin’s autocratic rule and “some perverted vision of a restoration of the Soviet empire.”
“In all the days of the Soviet Union, Russia never turned off the spigot of gas. Putin did,” McCain told an International Republican Institute lunch attended by Barroso.
The EU Commission president said Moscow had been a reliable energy supplier in the past and had an interest in secure demand from the EU and also in European investment, technology and know-how to get oil and gas out of the ground.
He criticized Moscow for refusing to ratify an international energy charter treaty that would force it to open its pipeline network to third-party suppliers.