Daily Briefs

Photo : World Atlas

06 October 2021, Wednesday

Europe's Energy Crisis

Blinken meets Macron; NATO expels Russian mission members; Denmark PM in India; Russia to film in space

By Joeana Cera Matthews

Europe's Energy Crisis
From the UK to Germany, numerous European countries have been undergoing an energy crisis. Countries that supply gas are torn between their internal needs and the needs of those external countries that they supply to. According to Euronews, the gas cost in Europe is six times higher than the last year.

Two major reasons: Search for cleaner fuel transition, and the increasing reliance on natural gas 
In an attempt to attain carbon neutrality, the large-scale transition from coal to cleaner fuel has already begun impacting Europe negatively; as a matter of fact, Europe seems to be the most affected – not just in its respective region but the rest of the world too. This can be attributed to their greater initiative to reach the climate goals that they have set for themselves. 

Second, the economic dependency on natural gas. Natural gas-rich countries like Norway and Russia have reduced their supply to address their own needs. Factories in Europe have already begun shutting down while others have announced to follow a similar road. Warnings of blackouts are all over the news and media houses as well.

What does this mean?
First, the supply-demand disparity; despite the increased demand, suppliers have opted not to increase the production as they believe it would impact their profitability and reduce investments. Second, the falling energy supply along with the increasing gas prices has already affected the farmers and will potentially lead to global food inflation. 

Third, a harsh winter. Winter is going to be a hard one. Fourth, implications on livelihood. Despite governments across Europe trying to ease the consumer load by providing subsidies and tax cuts, an energy crisis inevitably affects everyone's life. As Bloomberg Businessweek stated, 'as more gas goes abroad, less will be available at home' – which is the stark reality. Fifth, balancing the domestic and external markets. Countries supplying gas have to decide between providing for their own versus the external market. This is a tough choice to make since choosing the external countries would imply that the country does not care about the national policy and choosing to supply within the country would adversely impact the foreign policy. 

Stephen Stapczynski, "Europe's Energy Crisis Is About to Go Global as Gas Prices Soar," Bloomberg Businessweek, 27 September 2021.  
Lauren Chadwick, "Europe's
 energy crisis: Five charts to explain why your bills might go up this winter," Euronews, 05 October 2021. 
Sergio Matalucci, "
Energy crisis: Harsh winter would add fuel to climate change fire," Deutsche Welle, 29 September 2021. 

By Vaishnavi Iyer

First film in Space: "The Challenge" set to be filmed in the orbit
A Russian crew of an actress and a director have been docked at the International Space Station by Russia to produce the first in orbit film. The story revolves around a doctor who tries to save the life of a cosmonaut. Film director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild boarded the Soyuz MS-19 rocket on 05 October. (Charles Maynes, "Russian crew docks with International Space Station to film 'The Challenge'," NPR, heard on Morning edition, 06 October 2021)

Blinken visits President Macron amid the AUKUS row 
The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time after the AUKUS row. Described as a move to restore the damage, Blinken was present in the OECD meeting. He also met with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The meeting concluded on a common agreement to "deepen and strengthen the coordination" with a lot of "hard work" that "remains to be done". The meeting lasted for 40 minutes and was in alignment with Biden's previous call to Macron over the AUKUS rift. ("Blinken, Macron meet in Paris amid AUKUS tensions," Al Jazeera, 06 October 2021)

Russia: NATO expels Russian mission military members citing them as undeclared intelligence officers
Accused of spying, eight members of Russia's mission to the NATO military alliance were expelled. NATO officially confirmed them as "undeclared intelligence officers". No clear reason was provided in the official statement. Russian senior lawmaker Slutsky mentioned that Russia would retaliate, not necessarily in kind. NATO also mentioned strengthening "deterrence and defense" in response to Russia's aggressive actions but remained open for dialogue. A few months ago, Russian diplomats were asked to leave on similar grounds by Eastern European countries. ("NATO expels 8 from Russian mission as 'intelligence officers'," Deutsche Welle, 06 October 2021)

Denmark: Prime Minister prioritizes climate change solutions as top agenda
Mette Frederiksen, arriving in India marked the first visit by a government official since February 2020 and the pandemic. After having frozen ties since 2010 over an arms drop case involving Kim Davy Purulia, this was a historic visit. In relation to the "Green Strategic Partnership" initiative, Frederiksen discussed investment opportunities in Indian renewable technology and outlined India's climate change positions. The visit provided an opportunity to arrive at deeper bilateral ties with the implementation of the Green partnership. Her visit included interacting with students in think tanks with an agenda to announce the Danish financing and technological support for projects. An example of this would be an "Energy Island" which would be built in Tamil Nadu with a proposal of USD 5-10 million dollars to the Stalin government. The talks also focused on other renewable energy model promotions and investments. (Suhasini Haidar, "Climate change action on top of agenda for Denmark PM visit on Saturday," The Hindu, 06 October 2021)

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