150428 4/18/2008 14:59 08BUCHAREST311 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 08BUCHAREST216|08BUCHAREST311 VZCZCXRO1981 PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #0311/01 1091459 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 181459Z APR 08 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8188 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 0044 RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA PRIORITY 0016 RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0041 RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 4134 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0218 RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 000311
USEU BRUSSELS FOR AMB GRAY EEB FOR SMANN, SGALLOGLY EUR/FO FOR JGARBER, MBRYZA DEPT FOR EUR/CARC MICHAEL CARPENTER NSC FOR LCATIPON DOE FOR TYLER TILLER STATE PASS USTDA FOR DSTEIN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2018 TAGS: ENRG, EINV, PGOV, PREL, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA: FRUSTRATION WITH EU PARTNERS ON ENERGY SECURITY
REF: BUCHAREST 216
Classified By: DCM Mark A. Taplin for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary. Visiting DAS Matthew Bryza's April 3 meeting with Prime Minister Tariceanu's Chief of Staff, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, and Romanian Ambassador to the U.S., Adrian Vierita, exposed Romania's frustration with the EU's reluctance to think strategically about energy security. Constantinescu seemed to be out of ideas on how to continue pushing the issue within the EU and sought DAS Bryza's help in identifying potential allies and new engagement strategies. Constantinescu sought reassurance that energy security was an appropriately serious issue from the U.S. point of view to justify having the Prime Minister discuss it with President Bush. End Summary
2. (C) Constantinescu began by saying Romania is frustrated that other EU countries are focusing on disparate energy projects, which dilutes the EU's ability to present a common front against Gazprom's aggressive approach in Europe. He requested DAS Bryza's help in identifying another European country that shares Romania's energy security concerns and with which Romania could partner in an effort to raise the profile of the issue within the EU. DAS Bryza suggested approaching Poland and/or Lithuania, and Constantinescu said he would follow up. Constantinescu stressed that NATO's decision not to include energy security in its Bucharest summit program was a disappointment to the GOR, and he sought advice as to which other forums would be appropriate for encouraging more strategic thinking on the part of the Europeans. DAS Bryza suggested continuing to work within the EU to put energy security on the agenda. This could be done by lobbying for ministerial level meetings, and by shifting the focus away from the periphery of the EU back to Brussels. Bryza acknowledged that Romania has faced an uphill battle in convincing the other European states that energy is more than just a commercial issue.
3. (C) Reiterating Romania's strong support for the Nabucco pipeline project, Constantinescu inquired where Turkey and Azerbaijan currently stand on the project. Bryza responded that the two governments are close to a gas transit agreement. Constantinescu characterized Turkish President Gul's recent visit to Romania as polite and diplomatic, but without substantive commitments when it came to Nabucco. He agreed that the Europeans need to engage Azerbaijan more directly if the EU hopes to ensure stable long-term gas supplies. He felt that there have been missed opportunities in the Romania-Azerbaijan bilateral relationship and hoped to exploit these opportunities more aggressively in the future.
4. (C) Considering alternative strategies should Nabucco not materialize, Constantinescu said that White Stream (a pipeline project to draw Caspian Gas to Europe via an underground route from Georgia to Ukraine) would be an acceptable option from Romania's point of view. The GOR remains interested in LNG projects, noting that imports of LNG from Georgia via tanker across the Black Sea could be one possibility.
5. (C) Comment. Chief of Staff Constantinescu is the Prime Minister's lead foreign policy advisor and a very thoughtful interlocutor on energy issues. His comments suggest that, while Romania will remain committed to a Southern Corridor gas strategy, the GOR is less certain of the staying power of its Nabucco partners, both downstream and up, and is seeking to hedge its bets. According to Government insiders, the PM has tasked Constantinescu with re-examining the country's external energy policy, though his central role in virtually every important issue at Victoria Palace has made it difficult for him to focus on this task. Constantinescu's discourse with DAS Bryza and his desire for reassurances that the USG will remain committed to Nabucco -- and to European energy security more generally -- reflect rising anxieties
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that Romania could be left out in the cold if Nabucco falters. Continued U.S. high-profile engagement on this issue will be critical to maintaining Romanian resolve. End comment.
6. (U) DAS Bryza did not have the opportunity to clear this message. TAUBMAN