Friday, January 13, 2012

Pragmatic politics?

You have to smile. One minute, the EU is breathing hellfire and fury, threatening to do such things to Iran … and just a few days later it does this (above).

Here we have a foreign policy initiative that is supposed to be sending a political signal to Iran and then, because the measures would inconvenience Greece, Italy and Spain, they are put on hold for six months. What sort of signal does that send to Iran?

That said, anyone who anticipated this move could have made a great deal of money. Merely on the rumours that the EU was going to take this action, oil prices dropped below the $100-per-barrel mark or the first time this year. On the New York market, benchmark crude plunged from $101 a barrel to $99 in just eight minutes.

But it doesn't even stop there. Not only is there to be a delay in mounting the embargo, there is also likely to include an exemption for Italy, so crude can be sold to pay off debts to Rome-based Eni SpA (ENI), Italy’s largest oil company.

At any time, it is more than a little difficult to take the EU's foreign policy ambitions seriously. It just got even more difficult.