Monday

25th Mar 2019

Nato says Russia funding anti-shale NGOs

  • Rasmussen (l) did not give evidence to back up his shale remarks (Photo: Chatham House)

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has accused Russia of funding NGOs which oppose shale gas.

He made the controversial statement in a Q and A session at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, on Thursday (19 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas. At least that’s my interpretation and it adds a new aspect to that information campaign,” he said.

He noted the EU should support the construction of a new gas pipeline to the Caspian sea, bypassing Russia.

He also said the EU should complete energy market liberalisation so that “no one single energy supplier can blackmail any one single nation” in future, alluding to Russian gas supplier Gazprom.

Nato officials later told media the views on shale are Rasmussen’s own and do not reflect the alliance’s official position, but it published an audio file of his Chatham House remarks on its website.

Rasmussen visited London in preparation for a Nato summit in Wales in September.

He said in his Chatham House speech that Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine is part of a “turning point in history” after the end of the Cold War.

He urged EU countries to follow the example of Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states in boosting defence spending to 2 percent of national GDP.

He also said in the Q and A portion there is “a new build-up” of Russian forces on the Ukraine border in what amounts to keeping “an option open to intervene further in Ukraine”.

He noted that if Russia openly invades its neighbour, it would trigger “deeper, broader, more profound economic sanctions”, but he ruled out a Nato military response saying Nato is “focused on the defence of our allies [members].”

Environmental groups ridiculed Rasmussen’s shale remarks.

“The idea we’re puppets of [Russian leader] Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder what they’re smoking over at Nato HQ,” a Greenpeace spokesman said.

A Friends of the Earth spokesman noted, in an ironic reference to British reluctance to invest in renewable sources, that: “Perhaps the Russians are worried about our huge wind and solar potential, and have infiltrated the UK government.”

Dedicated anti-shale groups, such as Frack Off and Rising Tide, said their “grassroots” movements depend on ordinary people’s concerns.

The US is the global leader in shale oil and gas extraction, which relies on fracking - blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into underground shale deposits.

Green groups say fracking can cause ground subsidence and pollute groundwater.

They also say shale development will “lock” industrialised states into fossil fuel use instead of cleaner energy.

According to US statistics, the Baltic states, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and the UK have the largest shale reserves in Europe.

Poland is leading the way in Europe. It has drilled more than 60 exploratory wells and its environment minister, Maciej Grabowski, recently said commercial extraction could begin in Pomerania, on the Baltic Sea coast, by the end of 2014.

A 2013 US study into shale underlined the importance of local geology, however.

The 2013 survey downgraded its 2011 estimate of available shale in Poland’s Lubmin basin from 44 trillion cubic feet to 9 trillion due to geological problems discovered on the road to extraction.

It downgraded Norway’s available shale from 83 trillion cubic feet to zero.

EU ditches plan to regulate on shale gas

The EU commission has backed away from regulating shale gas extraction, leaving national governments in charge on the controversial practice.

News in Brief

  1. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  2. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  3. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  4. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  5. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  6. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  7. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  8. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  2. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  3. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  4. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  5. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  6. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  7. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  8. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us