Well, I am delighted that we have this opportunity to discuss these issues, and I believe you know the people with me – Assistant Secretary Gordon and Ambassador Morningstar, and of course, you know Ambassador Kennard and Dan Poneman, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, who is here representing the department and Secretary Chu.
You know how vitally important I think energy issues are to our security and prosperity, so for us to have this opportunity to look broadly at what we need to be mindful of as we plan for the future is especially useful. We have a great agenda ready to tackle. And I think this council is a very promising forum in which to do so, because it does provide the opportunity for coordinating policies and actions. It also gives us a chance to determine how to respond to what is shaping our energy markets, from shifts in demand linked to the pace of economic recovery to new sources of supply from liquefied natural gas and shale, to the advances in clean technologies and renewables.
I’m hoping that out of this, we can come up with an agenda and the practical steps that we can take together. We’ve already accomplished some significant steps since we began this just a year ago. We are working to secure new sources of natural gas for Europe by expanding cooperation with partners in the Middle East and the Caspian region, including Azerbaijan; a new supply route through Georgia, Turkey, and into Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor will help open the European market to more diverse energy sources and bolster European energy security. And we’re working with Ukraine as it tries to chart a path toward being a more reliable energy partner for Europe.
I also believe that we have an extraordinary opportunity for the United States and European Union to lead the world in developing and implementing new and more efficient technologies – smart electrical grids and electrical vehicles. The third energy directive passed in 2009 will increase competition and access to energy resources in Europe, and then I think the new energy 2020 strategy aimed at creating a more integrated internal market can help adapt to supply shocks and shifts.
And as Europe prepares for the first EU energy summit in February, I think we can play a part in helping to fulfill the goals that you are setting to quicken the tempo of our engagement. We have Ambassador Morningstar as our Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, and we also want to work together not only bilaterally, but in multilateral fora as well. So I am excited by this. I thank you for diving into it and making it a priority on your extraordinarily packed agenda, and we look forward to the exchange today.