Czech Minister for Europe Mikuláš Bek sees Europe facing an autocratic Moscow-Beijing axis in the long term and, in an interview with “Presse”, calls for an EU counter-strategy in the Western Balkans.
The press: A central objective of the Council Presidency is energy security in the EU, which is threatened by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. How delicate is the situation, especially with regard to Russian gas supplies?
Mikuláš Bek: I am very happy that we are acting in solidarity on the gas issue in Europe. I have a very positive view of the EU’s gas emergency plan.
Accordingly, member states must reduce their gas consumption between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 by at least 15% in relation to the average gas consumption in the previous five years. Was the agreement in the Council predictable from the start?
We weren’t so sure. However, despite some exceptions, there was a shared responsibility in almost all EU member states. What I personally like is that there is very close cooperation between the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland on energy issues. In recent months there has also been a very intense exchange with Vienna. Because we have the same challenges. The EU’s emergency plan is just a first step and not the final solution to our problem. Russia’s future behavior will be decisive for the future.
Can you still trust Moscow?