Friday, 2 September 2011

Libya - Now the fighting starts

Open Europe's press summary for today contains one important news item:
"On his Straneuropa blog, La Stampa’s Brussels correspondent Marco Zatterin reports that EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger may next week propose that in future all oil and gas contracts between EU member states and third countries be examined at the EU level before they are concluded. The article notes that Germany has probably been lobbying for this proposal, due to fears of lagging behind France, the UK and Italy in striking deals with the new Libyan government.

Meanwhile, following yesterday’s conference in Paris, competition has kicked off among countries that participated in the military operations in Libya to secure energy deals with the new Libyan government. In an interview with RTL, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said it was “logical and fair” that  countries which offered the biggest support to Libya’s National Transition Council received a preferential treatment. On the BBC’s Today programme, David Cameron noted, “I think there’s a big danger today actually of people in the West taking too much credit for themselves." (Emphasis and links mine)
One wonders how long it will be before all trade deals need to be examined at the EU level -- but I digress.

 EUobserver reports that according to Sarkozy, the EU will in future play a bigger role vis-a-vis the US in providing hard security in north Africa and the Middle East, whilst also being of the opinion that the union should also play a bigger role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. For all the sabre rattling, one fact cannot be denied and that is in Libya, as in any future 'war of liberation', the EU could not undertake any military action without American logistics, reconnaissance, command and control and ammunition.

So the fight has started for oil deals with all the squabbling that will be involved, which is something that probably prompted Cameron's statement above. Oil, undoubtedly is the prime reason for the UK's involvement in Libya, however the involvement of the EU is, without doubt, twofold - oil and the Barcelona Decaration - aka Expansion of the EU Empire.

For new readers the Barcelona Declaration was adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference - 27-28/11/95 and is a subject of this post in April 2010. According to the EU: "The declaration is intended to establish a comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean partnership in order to turn the Mediterranean into a common area of peace, stability and prosperity through the reinforcement of political dialogue and security, an economic and financial partnership and a social, cultural and human partnership". It will also be noted that since 1995 other conferences have been held: in Malta in April 1997, in Stuttgart in April 1999, in Marseilles in November 2000, in Brussels on 5 and 6 November 2001, in Valencia on 22 and 23 April 2002, in Naples on 2 and 3 December 2003 and in Luxembourg on 30 and 31 May 2005. In addition, think tanks involving the Ministers for Foreign Affairs were organised in Palermo in June 1998 and in Lisbon in May 2000. At the Stuttgart Conference, Libya was welcomed for the first time as a special guest of the presidency. It also attended the conferences in Marseilles, Brussels and Valencia and now has observer status.

All this talk by Cameron, Sarkozy and the EU about the restoration of democracy is but a smokescreen to cover the grasping with both hands an opportunity to further two long-term aims. Whilst the expansion of the EU empire will take a few years, knowing that their energy plans to produce electricity are no more than 'pie in the sky', I would not be surprised if the elite in the EU had been reminded of the words of an American politician, one Christopher Dodd:
"As the temperature drops, the need for heating oil goes up."


PeterCharles said...

You may want to consider the French connection in this affair. France is the main European trading partner of Algeria and Tunisia, remnants of French North Africa, and is still looked to for social mores and is politically active in the area. However Algeria has recently turned away from France and next door neighbour Libya, not a friend of France, was busily stirring the pot, the word being Ghaddafi or his circle thought there was potential for an Arab North Africa with Libya as senior partner. Many consider this is the reason France was the main driver for military intervention. As you point out, there was also the problem of Libya under Ghaddafi spoiling the EU Med region by not playing EU ball.

These things are always much, much more complex than the media or governments report, the actualite is often very different from that portrayed. I still think Cameron got involved because he saw a way to out-Blair Blair by having a 'successful' war.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: 1st Para: The two, combined, no doubt played a part in the decisions taken on Libya. I also think that the oil question was/is important, though.

As for out-Blairing Blair, that too..

Yet none of this will appear in the MSM.........

PeterCharles said...

No, it won't appear in the media. The media does not do complexity, like politicians that might make them seem uncertain or even fallible and we can't have that. Of course they both have the same bonus factor as well, yesterday's news is today's chip paper, as they used to say. No one ever takes the media up on it. Politicians do occasionally get called on past comments but they are adept at weaselling out of it: 'That's what was reported but isn't what I said' or 'I did say that but it isn't what I meant' or they side-step out of it, Dennis Healey was particularly adept at that. "The conservatives lay the blame for the economic situation at your feet Mr Healey." "The conservatives know nothing about economics but it is because of Tory policies that my cat had kittens and your's is in as much danger" and if all else fails they can just ignore it and it will go away.