MONACO – The first international forum on energy security, “Energy Security for the Future: New sources, Responsibility, Sustainability” opened on June 2 in Monte Carlo, Monaco, with a performance of arias by Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi sung by the world-famous tenor, Jonas Kaufmann.
But after its harmonious beginning, the forum’s 150 guests – European politicians, leaders of non-government organizations, the owners of Europe’s largest energy companies, energy experts and journalists – got down to discussing something that has caused much discord since Russia launched its covert war on Ukraine in 2014 – the energy security of the European continent.
Having abruptly weaned itself off Russian gas imports and reoriented to European suppliers to the west over the last two years, Kyiv is now looking for ways to fill the energy supply gap left after cutting itself off from its now hostile neighbor.
And in the knowledge that Moscow had long used gas supplies as means to exert political pressure on Kyiv, speakers at the forum expressed their support for Ukraine and Europe as both seek ways to achieve energy independence and develop sources of renewable energy.
“Traditionally, energy security is seen as a part of political security,” said Joschka Fischer, the vice-chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. “Today, it is very important for Ukraine to cooperate with Europe, and progress in this field has already been made. Ukraine has a huge potential in using renewable energy sources.”
The host of the forum, Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, also stressed in his speech the need to develop alternative energy sources, describing it as “crucial” for the future security of Europe.
“Energy security planning has to be done in the long-term perspective,” the prince said. “We should pay more attention to renewable energy sources, which would yield cheap energy without polluting the environment.”
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the president of Poland from 1995 to 2005 and now an independent director of Burisma Holdings, a private oil and gas company operating in Ukraine, said the subject of energy security was relevant for Ukraine and the whole world. Energy shortages could become a weapon of the 21st century, he warned.
“The topic of this forum is very important, as energy is a key factor not just today — it will also remain a key factor in the future,” Kwaśniewski said. “The modern world is changing faster than ever. I hope that Burisma will continue to support such initiatives.”
Kwaśniewski also presented at the forum the English version of “Mission Ukraine,” a book written by a Polish publicist Maciej Olchawa, which reflects on the vision of the European community and Ukraine’s place in it.
The book reveals new interesting details about the Cox-Kwasniewski Mission, which played a key role during the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Moreover, particular attention in the book is devoted to issues of European integration, Ukraine’s place in Europe and the world, modern leaders, and the formation of new political elites. The book also proposes a new political strategy for the European Union in light of the events in Ukraine.
Kwaśniewski together with Olchawa held an autograph session at which they promised to publish a Ukrainian-language version of the book.
In his speech, businessman and President of Burisma Group Nikolay Zlochevskyi praised the work of the forum in incubating new approaches to achieving energy security in Europe.
“This such a unique occasion, when a forum managed to unite different people of different social status over the idea of energy security in Europe,” Zlochevskyi said. “This international forum, organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Burisma Group, isn’t just an attempt to attract socially responsible businesses and civil society to address this issue, it’s also an opportunity to provide a discussion platform for a wide range of ideas, which will result in comprehensive, long-term and substantial work on a new strategy for the energy security in Europe.”
Other speakers at the forum included Andris Piebalgs, the EU Commissioner for Energy between 2004 and 2009, T.J. Glauthier, the U.S. Vice-Secretary of Energy from 1999 to 2001 and president of TJG Energy Associates, Hunter Biden, an independent director of Burisma Holdings, Ireneusz Bil, the director of the Amicus Europae Foundation of Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and Jean-Arnold Vinois, the European Commission’s representative on energy policy issues.
The forum was jointly organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Burisma Group, and the Amicus Europae Foundation.