We received a recent request from Neil Endicott, Policy Officer (Sustainable Energy Security) at the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA).
He brought our attention to the publication of the QCEA Sustainable Energy Security programme’s first report – ‘The Nabucco Gas Pipeline: A chance for the EU to push for change in Turkmenistan’.
You can read the report here:
As the report summary says:
The European Union has stepped up its engagement with Turkmenistan in order to secure supply for its flagship gas security project the Nabucco pipeline. Turkmenistan is among the most brutal and repressive dictatorships in the world. US NGO Freedom House included Turkmenistan in its 2009 ‘Worst of the Worst’ list of countries without social and political freedoms, alongside North Korea and Burma. In a 2008 report, Amnesty International described ‘widespread and systematic abuses’ of human rights in the country, while Human Rights Watch noted ‘the fundamental and ubiquitous nature of repression in Turkmenistan’ and ‘the government’s abysmal human rights record’.
The Council and Commission accept the need to tackle human rights, democratisation and certain development issues with Turkmenistan, but they have not specified the root cause of continuing tyranny in the country: the appropriation and mismanagement of hydrocarbon revenues by an unelected governing elite. The EU is right to target human rights and development issues in Turkmenistan, but should also realise that shortcomings in these areas are enabled by the Turkmen government’s stranglehold on the country’s collective oil and gas riches. The EU will be part of the problem in Turkmenistan, not part of the solution, unless it combines its energy security goals with dedicated efforts to bring about reform in the management of hydrocarbons in Turkmenistan.
Neil would like people to join the campaign to get the EU to take notice of the recommendations made in this report. We need Friends and anybody who is interested to ask their MEPs to raise the issues covered in the report with the EU’s new foreign minister Catherine Ashton and with the European Commission.
Below is a PDF document containing a standard letter to email to your MEPs and instructions on how to find out who your MEPs are. If your MEP contacts you in due course with a reply from the European Commission and Catherine Ashton’s office, it would be great if you could forward it to Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org.