Britain and the rest of the world must take President Putin’s aggression “much more seriously” because Russia’s belligerence poses a severe threat to Europe’s energy security, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, warns today.
In a forthright interview with The Independent, Mr Davey said Mr Putin’s threats to turn off the gas pipeline to Ukraine jeopardised supplies across Europe which could push up prices in Britain and hurt our economy.
The Energy Secretary also criticised Tory attempts to limit onshore wind power as an “unwise” policy that would push up prices and put further pressure on Britain’s energy security in the face of Mr Putin’s growing hostility to neighbouring countries.
“The UK, Europe and the world need to take Putin’s aggression much more seriously. I think it’s of sufficient concern that we need to plan seriously and deeply with our partners – with the Americans, the Japanese and with our European and international partners,” Mr Davey says.
Mr Davey will meet energy ministers from the G7 group of leading economies in Rome on 5 and 6 May where he will push for “an ambitious package of measures to improve the energy security of Europe as a whole and to improve our resilience to any impact from Russia”.
The ministers will examine how best to safeguard gas supplies and improve energy efficiency. They will also discuss measures for tackling climate change – such as increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable sources – which have the additional benefit of reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.
Britain would not suffer directly if Russia turned off the gas because it only sources about 1 per cent of its supply from the country.
However, if the disruption persisted for much more than a few days, gas prices in Britain could jump because the country is operating in a Europe-wide market, Mr Davey warned.
“If there was disruption to gas supplies in Europe, that would impact on gas prices and we would be hit by that.”
The Independent, UK