EU-Iraq Energy Co-operation: Missing the Point?

By Edward Burke

Opinion No. 2 - January 2009

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In a meeting last year with MEPs in Brussels, Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) to Iraq called the current lull in fighting the “magic moment” to build a democratic government in Iraq that uses its energy revenues transparently and efficiently. Europe would do well to heed his advice.

So far, a regular high-level political and energy dialogue with Iraq has not been set up and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on energy with Iraq has been delayed by the long process of negotiating a bi-lateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The EU has also not adequately invested in providing bi-lateral technical assistance to improve the governance of Iraq’s energy sector, key to Iraq’s future stability and of obvious interest to a European market short of reliable supplies of oil and gas.