Briefing Document / May 27, 2009

Global Witness letter to the European Commission President regarding corruption and energy security

5 March 2009 

Dear President Barroso,

Global Witness is a non-governmental organisation that campaigns against the misuse of natural resource wealth for corruption and conflict. We wish to request a meeting with you to discuss our concerns about the link between corruption and security of energy supply and how the European Union can address it.

You may recall our letter of 23rd June 2006 on this theme. We have been prompted to write to you again by the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute - in particular, the role of RosUkrEnergo - and our concern about its implications for the security of energy supplies from the former Soviet Union and the developing countries. We attach our recent Financial Times op-ed on this theme.

It is generally accepted that without good governance, the revenues earned by countries that export energy can easily be easily misappropriated or wasted. The result is entrenched poverty and misgovernment which can make countries more unstable, threatening energy supplies and creating human misery which the European Union, as a leading member of the international community, will be compelled to address.

We note a strong recognition of these links in the Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy, approved by the Council in December 2008, which states that: “Greater diversification, of fuels, sources of supply, and transit routes, is essential, as are good governance, respect for rule of law and investment in source countries” (page 5). This report also notes: “Ruthless exploitation of natural resources is often an underlying cause of conflict ... Preventing threats from becoming sources of conflict early on must be at the heart of our approach” (page 8-9).

So we were surprised to find, in the documents published by the Commission about the Second Strategic Energy Review, no equivalent discussion of the relationship between corruption, poor governance instability and energy supply. We find this absence unfortunate, especially in the wake of long-standing concerns about the gas trade through Ukraine, and it strongly suggests to us that the European Union needs to join up its policies on energy and governance in a much more coherent way.

We would like to suggest some concrete and practical steps that could be taken by the Commission and EU member states to promote greater transparency in the energy industry, as a way of improving governance in countries that supply energy to Europe, and within the trade itself...

(letter continues, download below...)

Read Global Witness report 'It's a Gas' (April 2006)

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Letter to President Barroso security