$5 Billion Down the Drain Russia’s Gazprom has finally thrown the towel on the South Stream pipeline, after spending $5 billion on it. This follows repeated attempts by the EU to shoot itself in the foot using its ‘competition rules’ as a pretext. These nonsensical rules are employed as a pretext for a great many things, but the protection of consumers ranges most definitely at the very bottom of priorities. South Stream would have circumvented the Ukraine and brought Russian natural gas to a number of countries (many in the Balkans, plus Austria and Italy) which are nearly 100% dependent on Russian gas already. Germany presumably doesn’t care because, tada! – it gets its gas via ‘North Stream’. For unknown reasons the ‘competition commission’ had nothing against that pipeline. One wonders why? We think the only European newspaper that came closest to the truth was the Italian paper La Republicca. While it (wrongly) blamed the decline in energy prices for the decision, it wrote in an aside:
‘The latest jolt sweeps away South Stream. The maxi-pipeline – dear to Vladimir Putin, supported by the former Berlusconi government, opposed by the United States – will not be built’
The truth is, the EU’s ‘competition commission’ rigmarole was a pretext for what is at its core a political, not an economic decision. The US opposes South Stream solely for geopolitical reasons, as it has zero commercial importance for it. The EU has neither valid commercial and nor indeed valid political reasons to oppose the pipeline. Europe has been buying energy from Russia even back when it was still part of the evil Soviet Union, the communist empire that was an actual enemy. And yet, as German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel remarked in an address (in which he admitted that German subsidies for various ‘alternative energy’ nonsense needed to end), Russia has never reneged on its energy deliveries, not even in the most tense moments of the cold war.
This post was published at Acting-Man on December 3, 2014.