Energy Likely to Dominate Finland's E.U. Presidency

Energy security, in particular oil and natural gas supplies from Russia, will likely dominate Finland's six-month presidency of the European Union, which begins July 1.

"It is always said that the E.U. is in crisis but every time it recovers. We are well prepared. We will try to be as concrete, as pragmatic, as possible," said Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

Finland will be responsible for securing energy supplies through the end of the year and in the face of Russia's dominance in the E.U. power supply, a power seen earlier this year when it cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. Russian power supplies will likely be a hot topic during the G8 summit next month in St. Petersburg, Russia (Agence France-Presse, June 27).

Finland felt Russia's control over the European energy market in January when it threatened to cut energy supplies to the country by 25 percent (Greenwire, Jan. 20).

Russia must open energy markets, U.S. ambassador says

In order to become a "world-class energy player," Russia must open up its oil and gas sectors to foreign investment, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said in an op-ed published in the Moscow Times today.

"The only issue is how Russia will choose to take advantage of the opportunities before it and overcome some significant challenges along the road ahead. All of us have a stake in Russia's success, but it is Russia and its people who stand to gain the most," Ambassador William Burns said.

In the editorial, Burns urged Russia to establish a "clear and predictable investment framework" for both domestic and foreign investment.

Highlighting regions of Russia with vast supplies of oil and natural gas, Burns said that "realizing the potential of these regions will depend greatly on smart and timely decisions by the Russian government to attract and hold investors. The sooner those decisions are made, the better for all of us" (Agence France-Presse, June 27).

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