Marina Kaljurand: “Reliable transit of energy and its role in securing stable economic development and international cooperation”
Statement by Ms. Marina Kaljurand, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Ashgabat, 24 April 2009
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to be here in this beautiful country and to be speaking at this event. It bears significance that this conference takes place in Turkmenistan – a country, which is not only a major energy producer, but also a strategic energy partner of the European Union and one of the key countries of the Southern Corridor initiative. Looking at the name of the conference - “Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy”, I am convinced that the Southern Corridor will provide both – reliability and stability – for our energy cooperation, for supplies from the Caspian region to Europe as well as for real progress in the field of transport cooperation. As an EU member state, Estonia – although not directly involved in relevant projects – strongly supports this initiative.
The Southern Corridor is a most important and mutually beneficial initiative, one that, just like the Historic Silk Road, carries with it the promotion of common prosperity, stability and security of all countries involved. However, unlike the Historic Silk Road, the Southern Corridor directly serves all the countries concerned. Therefore, implementation of this initiative’s projects, such as the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, the Nabucco Pipeline, and the Italy-Greece-Turkey Interconnector, is of common interest to the EU and the Southern Corridor countries.
Although the principal aims of the Southern Corridor process are to strengthen relations among the EU and the Southern Corridor countries and to enhance our mutually beneficial energy co-operation, they do not encompass its entire focus. Enhanced energy collaboration and the energy infrastructure projects which will interconnect the countries along the Southern Corridor, will act as a catalyst for further co-operation.
Serving as a cornerstone for the overall co-operation among all countries involved, the Southern Corridor initiative has the potential to lead to more extensive interaction on many levels, which would contribute to further development in social and economic matters and other spheres as well as promote co-operation in the entire region.
Speaking of co-operation there is always a question about trust and reliability among partners, especially concerning long-term issues such as energy matters. I believe that I need not convince you of the reputation of the European Union – the European Union is and will remain a long-term strategic partner to countries of the Caspian Basin. This is evidenced by the very recent agreement between our most honorable host, Turkmenistan, and the German energy company RWE, signed last week.
The European Union has in recent years taken several great steps in the field of energy – questions such as the environment, long term planning and energy security are high on the European agenda. Thus the EU is in the process of completing energy policy decisions – diversifying energy suppliers, energy carriers and shifting towards more environmentally friendly energy sources – which will have a great influence upon its actions for at least the next 20-30 years. On the other hand, the paradigm of energy security in a world increasingly reliant on energy consumption dictates the need to ensure stable supply in situations of increasing volatility of energy issues. The question of energy transit is closely interlinked with all of the aforementioned.
Dear colleagues. I already mentioned the importance of trust and spoke about the EU, but trust runs both ways. Despite everything, we are still saddened to witness attempts to use energy supplies as political leverage. This is not acceptable. It is very welcoming, therefore, to witness that all Southern Corridor countries have ratified the Energy Charter Treaty. [Referring to Ambassador Mernier’s speech yesterday] The Energy Charter Treaty is the most important universal agreement concerning energy transit, trade and investment. This, in line with other international commitments, provides the necessary framework for and assists the countries concerned in implementing a clear, transparent, cost-based, stable and non-discriminatory transit regime for the transportation of natural gas and oil.
To sum up my message in two short sentences - The timing for the Southern Corridor is right and the framework for accomplishing it is in place. In addition to extensive mutual benefits in the field of energy, the Southern Corridor is a remarkable opportunity for cooperation in numerous areas for all parties involved.
Thank you for your attention.