EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht wants to see oil and natural gas exports from the US to Europe included in the forthcoming transatlantic trade deal which will create the world’s largest free trade zone.
Europe wants US oil and gas to help offset its dependence on Russian energy. About 30 percent of Europe’s total gas requirement comes from Russia, approximately half of that is vulnerable should Ukraine cut supplies, as happened in 2006 and 2009.
The EU believes importing energy from the US would make supply more secure.
“It is important that we come forward with a position on that (energy agreement) as soon as possible, because maybe you may have noticed that some things are going on in Europe,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told reporters on Tuesday. De Gucht is in Washington holding meetings with US Trade Representative Michael Froman about the deal.
The EU trade chief believes including energy on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would secure energy supplies in Europe and send a strong signal to Moscow.
“I think everybody would agree that energy is a little bit more urgent for the time being, and also, very much geostrategic,” he said, adding the finalized trade pact will likely be ready in a year. The deal will be historic bringing half of the world’s economy into a free trade agreement. It has been likened to an economic version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). …