21st Mar 2018

Tillerson sacking to delay restart of EU-US energy summits

  • Rex Tillerson (l) met Federica Mogherini in Brussels last December (Photo: Council of the European Union)

US president Donald Trump's firing of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state on Tuesday (13 March) will mean EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini will have to restart her attempts to dust off a transatlantic forum: the EU-US energy summit.

Trump announced on Tuesday that Tillerson had been replaced by Mike Pompeo, who until then had been director of the CIA.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It means that Mogherini will now need to convince Pompeo of the need to continue EU-US cooperation on energy issues, something which she had been trying to do with Tillerson last year.

Under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, the US and the EU had in 2009 set up the EU-US energy council.

The aim of the forum was for the two sides to cooperate on energy policies, increasing energy security, and clean energy technologies.

They agreed to meet annually, but have not yet done so since the election of Trump in November 2016. The last EU-US energy summit was held on 4 May 2016 in Washington.

A year ago, the EU said it still assumed the annual summits would continue.

Mogherini sent Tillerson two letters, which were made public by the European External Action Service last week at this website's request.

On 22 February 2017, Mogherini wrote Tillerson that the EU-US energy council was a "vital forum for transatlantic cooperation".

"On our end, we have found the EU-US energy council to be an excellent platform for coordinating transatlantic actions on energy policy, and security and low carbon transition," she wrote.

The Italian suggested that a new summit would be held "at a mutually convenient time during 2017".

However, the two sides apparently did not manage to find a date.

On 23 November 2017, Mogherini wrote Tillerson again. In the second letter, she implied that Tillerson had expressed a positive approach to the EU-US energy summits.

"I know from our previous correspondence how much importance we both attach to transatlantic cooperation in the area of energy and energy security and to the EU-US energy council as the framework in which we can discuss these issues," she wrote.

"Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to propose dates when you and US secretary of energy [Rick] Perry would be available for a meeting of the EU-US energy council in the early part of next year," she added.

Climate change

The second letter did not mention climate change, which could be explained by the Trump administration's disinterest on cooperating on reducing greenhouse gases.

While Tillerson has said that the US may remain a party to the Paris agreement "under the right conditions", Pompeo has said that the climate treaty was a "costly burden" to the US.

Greenpeace USA on Tuesday called Pompeo a climate denier, saying that Pompeo was "even worse" than Tillerson, a former Exxon chairman.

Mogherini will have to redouble her diplomatic efforts to convince Pompeo of the value of the EU-US energy council.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Washington would still like to block a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but is not yet considering hitting companies involved in the project.

EU to pump €101m into Cyprus gas network

The EU also agreed on financing a study into the Southern Gas Corridor, to send a signal that the EU is still invested in the project - but leaves questions over renewable energy sources.

Austria sues Commission over Hungary's nuclear plant

Anti-nuclear Austria takes the EU Commission to court over Hungary's controversial Paks II nuclear plant, financed and built by Russia. But it is the Euratom treaty itself that could be on trial.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus