EU leaders urge 'energy Schengen' with Russia, partners

26th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Senior European Union officials on Friday urged an "energy Schengen" or borderless power grids between 27 EU members and key partners in Russia, Central Asia and North Africa.

"In the case of smart (electricity) grids and good connections, cross-connections, in the European Union, we can think about electricity from Russian and Ukrainian nuclear power (plants) and the Desertec (solar energy) project in the Sahara," European Parliament head Jerzy Buzek said at a transport and energy conference organised by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

"In essence we need to create a sort of 'energy Schengen'," Buzek said, referring to the Schengen zone allowing visa-free travel between 25 European states.

Also speaking at the conference, EU energy chief Guenther Oettinger echoed Buzek.

"I'm inclined to ask the provocative question here whether possibly over the next decade we shall not be importing gas and then converting it into electricity, but it shall be converted into electricity in Russia," he said. "Technologically, economically, financially possibly that would be a viable solution to us all," Oettinger added.

He also urged closer EU consultations with key energy suppliers.

"I believe that Tunisia and Algeria and other Mediterranean countries should join us in terms of our energy discussions," Oettinger said.

"I believe that Turkey should also be made part of our energy commonwealth and should become part of our energy infrastructure similarly to Georgia and Azerbaijan and I hope that Russia and Turkmenistan, and possibly in the more distant future, Iraq too," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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