EU wants crisis control of Norway's oil : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Forside / news in english Updated 11.04.01, 09:00 (GMT +01:00) EU wants crisis control of Norway's oil

The European Union plans a new directive that would give it control over all oil produced by Euro-area countries in the event of an energy crisis. That would include Norway, even though it's not an EU member.

Norwegian officials are expected to vigorously oppose the EU move, which the European Commission is taking on the grounds that Norway is a signatory to the European Free Trade Agreement.

The Brussels-based commission wants to ensure that European countries would get first crack at all North Sea oil in the event of shortages such as those that occurred in 1973. Its directive would override Norway's and Great Britain's individual rights to decide where they sell their oil, and dictate that European-area oil be used first to satisfy the needs of European countries.

British authorities already have expressed opposition to the proposed directive. Norway's EU ambassador, Einar Bull, doesn't think the directive will be accepted by Norwegian authorities, either, but he said he hasn't been formally briefed on the move.

Nor has Norwegian energy minister Olav Akselsen, who like Bull is on Easter holiday this week, received any formal word on the proposed directive. Akselsen said he hadn't heard anything about it, although the issue first surfaced in an article in the major British newspaper Sunday Times over the weekend.

Bull noted that provisions of an international energy agency, of which Norway is a member, call for the various nations to help one another in the event of oil shortages. As an oil-producing nation, however, Norway has reserved itself against some provisions.

The proposed EU directive is already stirring dissent from some Norwegian politicians. Hallgeir Langeland of the Socialist Left party called it "a serious attack" on Norway's right to self-determination. Langeland said he will call for a full orientation on the issue by Akselsen before the Parliament.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 12, 2001

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