EUROPA – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Cyprus on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020

The legislative triangle of the European Union

The legislative triangle of the European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a MUST READ press release from the European Commission who  are planning to give Cyprus EUR700 million.   via

EUROPA – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Cyprus on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020.

The press release will be of interest to those interested in both Cyprus and EU reform.

Whilst the EUR700 is good news, it will no doubt come with qualifications from the various EU funds. Careful reading of the document shows that the approach is “The EU has lots of money, guys how can we give some to poor old Cyprus?”.

There is no evidence of a strategic review of Cyprus. Indeed the press release fails to mention Cyprus huge offshore gas reserves.

If the EU were giving out aide in response to strategic requirements of the EU and Cyprus, it would focus on both offshore oil and gas.

Given the overall context of Europe’s crisis, the size of the EU’s available funding and the strategic importance of investing in Cyprus’ energy sector, the promised EUR 700 million is far too small.

Clearly, the EU process is paternalistic and political, so the strategic needs of both Europe and Cyprus have not really been considered. This, of course, brings into serious question the effectiveness of the European Commission.

Any thoughts?

EU Energy Policy Underpins EU non-Competitiveness and Youth Unemployment: Cyprus the savior?

European Union Flag

European Union Flag (Photo credit: adamblang)

The case of the  EU energy policy highlights what is fundamentally wrong with the EU. The EU energy policy is ineffective, dated, non-strategic, myopic, and buried in bureaucracy.

The US has enormous shale gas resources and is approaching energy neutrality, causing a shift in geopolitical priorities. Russia has massive energy reserves and is using energy policy to influence her geopolitical priorities. China is the biggest consumer of energy and now looking at imaginative options to secure future energy. For example, China is looking to invest in Cyprus’ potentially enormous offshore natural gas industry and possibly might be interested in Israel’s reserves as well. Energy is once again critical to geopolitical priorities.

Also this week, we have seen the Chinese Premier forming strategic relations with Greece, a pivotal country in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, EU energy policy is buried in the past. The nearest to an effective policy is a green paper dated 2006 and predating the financial crisis and the subsequent massive damage done by excessive austerity.   According to Wikipedia, here are the fundamentals of the EU’s 2006 green paper:

  • A cut of at least 20% in greenhouse gas emissions from all primary energy sources by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels), while pushing for an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol aimed at achieving a 30% cut by all developed nations by 2020.
  • A cut of up to 95% in carbon emissions from primary energy sources by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
  • A minimum target of 10% for the use of biofuels by 2020.
  • That the energy supply and generation activities of energy companies should be ‘unbundled’ from their distribution networks to further increase market competition.
  • Improving energy relations with the EU’s neighbours, including Russia.
  • The development of a European Strategic Energy Technology Plan to develop technologies in areas including renewable energy, energy conservationlow-energy buildingsfourth generation nuclear reactorclean coal and carbon capture.
  • Developing an Africa-Europe Energy partnership, to help Africa ‘leap-frog’ to low-carbon technologies and to help develop the continent as a sustainable energy supplier.

It’s quite quaint really but also potentially toxic. This is an example of the muddled economic thinking that is coming from the EU – it’s the same bureaucrats who have been pushing excessive austerity on Southern Europe, despite the evidence of most respected economists.

Of course, the reality is that the EU does not have an effective policy. Energy policies are determined by sovereign governments  pandering to national interests, with the strongest able to deploy bullying tactics.

As an expert in strategy and change management, it obvious to me that the EU desperately needs an effective strategy for energy to radically improve EU competitiveness, and redress the staggering high EU youth unemployment, especially in Southern Europe. The context is deteriorating quickly. We are witnessing a push towards right wing extremism, as well as a rise in radical Islam.

Meanwhile, the EU seems to be blind to the vast energy resources available in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially offshore Cyprus. Surely, it would be strategic for the EU to invest Cyprus’ offshore gas and oil to secure supply? Perhaps, China is more strategically focused and the EU essentially dysfunctional?

Is it not time to petition Europe’s politicians and the mainstream media that an effective energy policy in Europe is a game-changer?

Any thoughts?




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