European nations seek to reduce reliance on Russian energy

Ed Davey, Britain’s energy secretary, said a two-day meeting in Rome found participants agreed to develop medium- and long-term policies to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s oil and gas.
By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press Published: May 7, 2014
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The Group of Seven industrialized powers and the European Union have resolved to cooperate to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin from using oil and gas supplies as a weapon in the increasingly violent Ukrainian crisis, an official said Tuesday.

Britain’s energy secretary, Ed Davey, said a two-day meeting in Rome found participants agreed to develop medium- and long-term policies to reduce the level of dependence on Russia’s oil and gas by much of Europe.

The discussions yielded a united stance on the need to “disarm the Russian energy weapon” by reducing Europe’s energy dependence, Davey told reporters.

That, however, could take years, he acknowledged.

A pipeline running across Ukraine carries gas from Russia to much of Western Europe, including Italy, the G-7 member nation that hosted the meeting in preparation for a full summit next month.

Washington has been bullish about pressing sanctions on Russia, which in March annexed Crimea, a strategic part of Ukraine. But participants said the discussions in Rome didn’t deal with sanctions.

“We have moved to a common understanding that energy security is a collective responsibility,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.