Deputy Secretary Dan Poneman and I are very, very pleased to be here for the 5th U.S.-EU Energy Council today, and I’m particularly happy to join High Representative Cathy Ashton who is doing a superb job in my judgment wearing a lot of hats and helping to fight fires in many places, as well as lead our efforts in the Iran nuclear talks. I’m delighted to be here with Commissioner Oettinger and Giannis Maniatis – thank you very much. We’re happy to be here with you also representing the EU presidency.
I think the difficulties of the recent days underscore the imperative to what brings us here today: energy security – not just for Ukraine but all across Europe – that it frankly requires a major amount of transatlantic cooperation and transatlantic leadership. And that’s why President Obama asked us to come together with our European partners in order to tackle these challenges head-on.
It really boils down to this: No nation should use energy to stymie a people’s aspirations. It should not be used as a weapon. It’s in the interest of all of us to be able to have adequate energy supplies critical to our economies, critical to our security, critical to the prosperity of our people. And we can’t allow it to be used as a political weapon or as an instrument for aggression. So we are taking important steps today in order to make it far more difficult for people to deploy that tool.
And we’re working in lock-step to help Ukraine bring natural gas in from Poland and Hungary and develop a route through Slovakia. Ukraine is committed to do its part. And through their recent commitments to the IMF they’ve agreed to act on energy subsidies and to make their energy market more competitive. This is critical, obviously.
The United States and the EU have a lot of work to do in order to diversify our energy supplies. We’re working on it very hard in the United States. President Obama’s implemented a climate action plan, and Europe – no group of nations have done more than the European community to try to move on this front. But we, all of us, have to make certain that we are not dependent on one single source of energy.
So our agenda today, or at least part of it, is going to be to look at how do we get more natural gas through what folks call the Southern corridor, from Azerbaijan to Turkey and on to Europe. There are also other opportunities, including LNG terminals planned across Europe, and pipelines that can get gas to customers.
I think it’s fair to say that American entrepreneurship is hard at work trying to help change this equation. Our new capacities as a gas producer and the approval of seven export licenses is going to help supply gas to global markets, and we look forward to doing that starting in 2015. And we will supply more gas than all of Europe consumes today.
So whether it’s confronting the immediate energy challenges in Ukraine, which is critical, or the absolute imperative of all of us meeting the challenge of climate change, which in the latest IPCC report we see underscored for its importance, we’re going to have a partnership – with a partnership between the United States and Europe is absolutely vital in this effort.
So we couldn’t be more pleased than to have leaders like Representative Ashton and Commissioner Oettinger alongside us today to begin this work, and we look forward to a really healthy, productive discussion. Thank you.