This article was crossposted on The Commentator.
The EU’s plans to establish an Energy Union are steaming ahead. The problem is that this all in the midst of stirring tension with Russia. What the Ukraine crisis has revealed are the internal contradictions of 28 countries being chained to the EU, and to a single foreign policy.
While some countries are desperately trying to join the EU (some are former Soviet nations) and some EU members are enthusiastically pursuing this policy — which, to use David Cameron’s words, could be called an EU “from the Atlantic to the Urals” — it turns out that provoking Vladimir Putin doesn’t come without consequences.
This is not about appeasement. It is about interests. And we at Get Britain Out are as appalled as anyone at the brutal murder of leading Russian oppositionist Boris Nemtsov.
But when it does come to our national interests, we have to deal with the world as we find it.
Russia is threatening to cut the gas supply to Europe. They have already agreed to deepen their ties with energy-hungry China, the fastest growing economy on the planet. This means that the kingpin of the EU, Germany, is in a very vulnerable position.
Up to a third of their energy is already provided by Russia and they don’t want to see their energy bills rise, especially as they had remarkably slow growth in the last twelve months. Several other countries in Eastern Europe have realised they will face cold winters this year if they get dragged into a confrontation with Russia.
Perhaps they are right to see things this way. Perhaps not.
Yet why should Britain have to be dragged along as well? We are in the middle of a fracking revolution. Our energy costs are low because of the collapse of oil prices. We are also not as reliant on energy from Russia but we still gain nothing from alienating the Russian bear.
We certainly don’t need to part of the EU’s plans for an Energy Union, which would simply mean subsidising energy infrastructure to wean the East European nations off Moscow.
This is 2015, not 1915. We cannot afford to be embroiled in petty sabre-rattling between the EU and Putin’s Russia. This country already struggled in a Cold War with Russia for almost half of the 20th century, subjected to the constant fear of Russian aggression. We don’t need this again.
Indeed, it is during this period that the democratic nations of Western Europe, partly because of fears about communism, decided to form the European Economic Community, the predecessor of today’s European Union.
Little did the people of those countries know that by joining the EEC out of fear of losing their democratic sovereignty to Russia, they would be subjected to a loss of sovereignty (though obviously of a different kind) by Brussels.
If the Eurocrats want to invent an EU Energy Union, purely so they can poke the Russian bear without suffering the consequences, that is their business, and they should go ahead with it – without Britain.
Britain has nothing to gain from pointlessly antagonising Putin, and the sooner we Get Britain Out of the EU, the sooner this country will be safe from the reckless game of brinkmanship that European Commission President Juncker and his cronies are forcing us to play.