Emergency EU summit called on Russia-Georgia
The Telegraph reports that Russia is speeding up an Asian pipeline to sell to the east if it loses its European customer.
Calls grew louder yesterday for Russia to face greater international isolation because of its invasion and partition of Georgia as European leaders prepared for an emergency summit on the Caucasus crisis and to review the basis of the EU's relations with Russia.
France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, the EU's current president, who negotiated a ceasefire agreement between Moscow and Tbilisi, has convened the first EU emergency summit since February 2003 in the run-up to the Iraq war in order to concentrate the minds of leaders on their policies towards Moscow.
Gordon Brown yesterday took a tough position, indicating that Russia's membership of the G8 grouping of big industrial democracies could be frozen, an option that found some support from Germany.
France is worried that any tough action agreed by 27 European leaders at this afternoon's summit in Brussels will provoke Russian retaliation and undermine its chances of playing the peacemaker.
Russia showed no signs of flinching yesterday, as President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would sign deals providing military aid to Georgia's breakaway provinces. Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, dared Europe to make the first move, telling Russian television: "If any of the European countries wants to serve someone's narrow political interests, then go ahead. We cannot stop them. But we think, as they say in such cases, 'You have to look out for number one'."
...I think the EU will engage in gradualism that will probably be ineffective, but it will give them time to adjust their energy requirements and deal with a Russian shut off. In the event Russia does sell its oil to the Asian market it will free up oil from other markets that has been going to Asia. It might also speed up development of Iraqi oil which could be substituted.
To stave off tough measures, including possible EU sanctions, Moscow has sent a variety of signals that it will use its energy clout to retaliate against any European reprimand for its refusal to implement a ceasefire with Georgia.
While expectations of a tough pan-European response have steadily diminished, Europe's energy dependence on Moscow will be overhauled. Officials will tell EU leaders that plans to reduce the continent's energy dependency on imports of Russian oil and gas supplies are advanced.
A feasibility study is already underway on the costs of creating gas stockpiles to prevent Russia using the threat of switching the lights out or turning off heating supplies to pressure Europe.
British officials said that Gordon Brown would propose that the G7 - the G8 minus Russia - would begin meeting again as a route to humiliating the Kremlin. "Russia does not like it when people get together get together and talk about them," a Foreign Office official said.