Europe Energy Crisis: An Opportunity for Reinvention

IED Seminar in Athens, Greece


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Europe Energy Crisis: An Opportunity for Reinvention

The event covered a range of topics related to the energy crisis in Europe, including the current energy issues in Greece, the current energy situation in Europe, and geostrategical aspects of international law in the Aegean and around Cyprus. The participants were also discussing food sufficiency and supply in the framework of the war in Ukraine, as well as the environmental impacts of the war in Ukraine. Other topics included collective EU security, targeted misinformation, and ethics in politics.

The Welcome and Introduction section saw the intervention of Mikel Burzako (CEO IED, by video) Dimosthenis Danellas (Enosi Kentroon) Tina Andrioti (Young Democrats for Europe) and Irene Madole, Member of IED scientific committee & Forum of Citizens Cyprus. During their short interventions the speakers p addressed the necessity and the importance of this event before ceding the scene to the topical discussions and the key note speakers.

The TOPIC #1: Geopolitical repercussions towards EU energy independence was addressed by dr. Yorgos Christidis, Associate Professor Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia. Some of the key ideas are listed below:

  • mentioned the Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the deteriorating relations between China, the USA, and the European Union;
  • addressed the current energy situation in Europe and the need for the European Union to support the independence of Serbia, Bosnia, and North Macedonia from Russia's energy dependence through new sources of import;
  • Serbia is in negotiations with Azerbaijan for a 10-year energy contract, which could change the geopolitical situation and gas pipeline and oil pipeline of countries in southern and eastern Europe.

The TOPIC #2: Current Energy Situation in Europe - Towards a EuropeanEnergy Sovereignty had as main speaker Mr. Christophe Grudler MEP, member of the EU Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. His intervention put on the table some key ideas such as:

  • the energy crisis started with the war in Ukraine and Russia's position as a major energy exporter for Europe;
  • highlighted the role played by the Covid pandemic, which had just ended, and the fact that the European industry was shut down, requiring a lot of energy (which caused a significant price increase);
  • his priorities were the negotiations for lower prices and energy stocks (oil and gas, which were essential for heating homes in winter);
  • mentioned the REPowerEU plan, which aims to save energy, produce clean energy, and diversify our sources of energy.

The TOPIC #3: Geostrategic Aspects - Violations by Mr. Erdogan of International Law in Aegean and Around Cyprus brought together two speakers: Irene Madole, Member of IED scientific committee, & Mihai Sebe, Member of IED scientific committee & Academic in Bucharest. Their ideas revolved around:

  • a presentation of Turkey's violent invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the loss of human lives, territories, and culture it entailed;
  • for the EU Turkey is simultaneously a key economic and trade partner and also a strategic partner (we have common problems such as security, migration, terrorism, and energy);
  • the EU reports shows that Turkey is moving away from democracy and human rights, and the its aggressive actions in the Mediterranean are negatively affecting our relations;
  • the relations between Russia and Turkey are turbulent, sometimes cooperative, and sometimes in conflict;
  • we should support the development of Turkey’s relations with the EU, rather than its cooperation with Russia, and for that we could use the strong bilateral relations between Romania and Turkey.

The TOPIC #4: Current situation in Ukraine saw the intervention of Olga Shapolayeva, General secretary - Greeks of Ukraine Union, translator - interpreter. During her emotional intervention she:

  • spoke about the war in Ukraine and the terrorist, violent, and unprecedented actions Russia has been carrying out since February 2022;
  • showed alarming pictures of innocent families who have died and cities destroyed by bombs.

The keynote speaker for TOPIC #5: Impacts of the War in Ukraine was Eleni Martsoukou, Lawyer and Counsellor at Law, who highlighted several consequences of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia:

  • the war has been a catastrophe for Ukraine and a crisis for the world as Putin's fear of Ukraine's development into a western-style European democracy led to the violent and brutal war;
  • Mariupol and other towns have been completely destroyed, thousands of civilians have died, and survivors have been haunted by war crimes and sexual violence;
  • the war has consolidated the Ukrainian national identity and made Ukraine more united than ever;
  • the consequences of Putin's decision to invade have shattered the European security and frayed the global economy:

    NATO is now the provider of defence and security for Europe, while the EU needs to develop an independent military capacity;

    the war has battered and reshaped the global economy, delivering an energy price shock and disrupting global trade, highlighted the fragility of the interconnected world and disrupted attempts to fight climate change and also generated a global inflation, causing consumer prices to grow and interest rates to inflate;
  • Europe has accepted paying the price for freedom, and the future of democracy and security depends on stopping the war.

The Topic#6: Collective EU Security was addressed by Philippe Michel-Kleisbauer (former French MP), & Istvan Serto Radics (former mayor in Hungary). Their interventions highlighted aspects such as:

  • the need for a collective Europe is emphasized as a necessity, especially in light of the current war and occupation on European borders;
  • creating a European defense against aggression is crucial, along with the political will to prevent all forms of aggression;
  • protecting Europe against foreign intrusion and disinformation, including the risk of misinformation from American allies such as Elon Musk, is important;
  • security must be considered an obligation rather than an option, and the notion of collective Europe is crucial for this purpose’
  • the importance of the UK and France's military alliance and efficient agreements like the Lancaster House agreements is emphasized;
  • the capacity to intervene rapidly in conflict zones must be maintained, as demonstrated in Mali;
  • continuing to work with UK brethren for the security of Europe and the Mediterranean is crucial;
  • the worrying developments in Algeria and the threat posed by the Russians in the Eastern Mediterranean are addressed;
  • in Hungary's election, Orbán portrays himself as a safe choice as the country faces potential war;
  • the majority of EU citizens support economic sanctions against the Russian government, companies, and individuals’
  • most EU citizens agree that the EU should invest in renewable energies, increase energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and goods, and reduce dependency on Russian energy sources;
  • rising prices, inflation, and the cost of living are the top concerns for citizens, followed by the economic situation and energy supply;
  • younger respondents are more likely to cite environment and climate change as their top concerns.

The Topic#7: Targeted Misinformation – EU Code of Practice on Disinformation saw the intervention of Philippe Michel-Kleisbauer, Mihai Sebe, & Georgios Christidis. The main ideas are:

  • misinformation is a critical issue in the battle between real and false information as lies persist in people's minds even after being debunked;
  • Russia is using false information to undermine democracies and promote their own system as superior;
  • false information is used to destabilize countries and create cognitive disorders, as seen in Ukraine before the war;
  • strategic action is necessary against this new operational threat of intelligence information, especially during election periods, as they provide a window of opportunity for the Russians;
  • lack of transparency and mistrust of authorities have exacerbated the problem of misinformation during the pandemic;
  • media literacy and civic scientific culture among young people could help combat the spread of misinformation;
  • freedom of expression needs to be balanced with potential harm caused by defamation or incitement to hatred;
  • transparency, scientific methodology, and civic education are essential in addressing the problem of misinformation.

The final Topic#8: Ethics in Politics- The Political Union of Centrists’ Agenda saw the interventions of Sokratis Vassiliadis, Lawyer and Counsellor at Law & Apostolos Fournanis, Fournanis, Lecturer of Psychology, Roehampton University. The main ideas are:

  • the question of whether politics has moral standards is complex as modern politics often lacks morality, with politicians overselling themselves for votes and power as they often serve the interests of a few over the needs of the many;
  • those who remain faithful to their political agenda and moral values often cannot reach high positions in politics;
  • moral values towards comrades in a party often depend on circumstances, but using unlawful means to fight against someone we don't like is not acceptable;
  • there should be moral standards in modern politics, coinciding with the morality and good behaviour of politicians towards voters and people in general;
  • new parties and leaders often emerge during times of political turbulence while political parties may break into pieces to absorb social protest and become one again when periods of prosperity and peace permit it;
  • the relationship between politicians and citizens is based on dependency, with citizens relying on politicians to address their concerns and make decisions on their behalf, while politicians rely on citizen support to remain in power and implement policies;
  • subordinations and obedience to authority are key dynamics in this relationship, with citizens expected to follow the directives of elected leaders even if they disagree, creating a power imbalance that can be exploited;
  • the assumption that the leader has all the answers and takes care of the group can create a culture of passivity and reliance on the leader, inhibiting growth and development within the group;
  • political parties often operate on a fight or flight mentality, with survival seen as depending on the destruction or attack of an external or internal enemy, creating a culture of aggressive competitiveness within the group;
  • leadership is often bestowed on those who can mobilize the aggressive forces of the group, rather than those best suited to address the group's issues in a constructive and ethical manner;
  • the question of whether ethical politicians exist is complex, with emotional complexities and power imbalances in the relationship between politicians and citizens. An ethical politician would need to be reflective, sensitive, and able to use logic while tolerating criticism and emotional ambivalence;
  • an ethical politician would need to be ready to serve the people, even if that means being seen as a scapegoat or facing difficult challenges, committed to the primary task of their appointment: the servitude of the public.

Report by Mihai Sebe

Events overview

European Elections 2024