On February 10, he will release the European Commission’s long-awaited “gas package”, and he must manage expectations among an unusually varied bunch of interests. There are eastern Europeans who want assurances that they will be safer in the face of any supply cut by Russia. The Norwegians need comforting too, looking for signs that there will still be EU demand for their gas in the years ahead. Environmentalists want Brussels to stress that the longer term trajectory is a greener, more efficient continent burning less gas.
According to an early draft of the plan seen by Brussels Blog, there appears to be a little bit for everybody – but not yet enough to keep everybody happy. Take Norway. It wants to want to maintain its status as the EU’s favourite gas provider. But their companies need assurances that Europe has a long-term appetite for gas at a time they’re looking to invest in infrastructure in the Barents Sea, above the Arctic circle. Just in case the message wasn’t getting through, Oslo wrote to Mr Arias Cañete about the issue again last week. Read more