Germany, the EU’s “Mr. Coal,” has stumbled in its first high-tech attempt to make this fossil fuel environment-friendly.

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Hosted at the Embassy of Finland, this meeting was convened on the 10th Anniversary of the European Union’s Common Strategy on Russia and in anticipation of the upcoming EU-Russia Summit in May and the U.S.-Russia Summit in July, and included a review of Finland’s recently-released Action Plan for Russia. As both Europe and the United States ramp up diplomatic efforts, the pivotal implications of Russia’s economic, energy and security policies have spurred the need for a more coordinated and complimentary transatlantic approach. Participants included His Excellency Pekka Lintu, Ambassador of Finland to the United States; Maimo Henriksson, Director of the Unit for Russia at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Hiski Haukkala, Special Advisor for the Unit of Policy Planning and Research at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Luc Véron, Minister-Counselor and Head of the Political and Development Section for the Delegation of the European Commission; and Samuel Charap, Fellow for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Visiting Fellow for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
This meeting focused on Europe’s increasingly troubled energy relationship with Russia, with particular emphasis on Northern Europe. Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian gas crisis and renewed pledges on the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, participants assessed Russia's influence in European energy markets and the critical interplay between Russia's economic downturn and energy export policies, as well as the attendant implications for the transatlantic relationship. Participants included Pekka Sutela, Head of the Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition; Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Jaroslav Kurfürst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Czech Republic; Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Energy Cooperation, U.S. Department of Energy; Tomas Gulbinas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania and J. Robinson West, Chairman, Founder and CEO, PFC Energy. Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former U.S. Special Envoy for European Union Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy presented keynote luncheon remarks.

The geopolitical significance continues emerging more and more strongly in the imbroglio about getting Russian gas to Europe – via the pipelines that cross Ukraine.

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Raffaele Liberali, Director of Energy Research, DG Research, European Commission, in charge of the implementation of the Non-Nuclear Energy priority of the 7th Framework Programme, discussed the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology-Plan (SET-Plan) which is meant to accelerate innovation of low carbon energy technologies whilst encouraging European industry to turn threats of climate change and insecurity of supply into opportunities to increase competitiveness. This meeting was held following the June 10 EU-U.S. Summit in Brdo, Slovenia, where transatlantic cooperation in energy research and technology development was highlighted. The U.S. perspective was presented by Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Energy Cooperation, U.S. Department of Energy.

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