If, in the end, the bills were not so exorbitant, it could be because the autocrat of all of Russia, Vladimir Putin, announced an increase in gas supplies to Europe, and thus caused an immediate drop in prices. The Kremlin is playing its cards, but it is also true that today it has become clear how short-sighted it was to put up barriers between the European Union and Russia.
The Tsar of Moscow was at home in Europe, and Silvio Berlusconi, in particular, worked hard to build relationships between the Western world and the former KGB officer. No one was ever so naive as not to see the illiberal nature of the Russian system, but also expedient to develop economic relations, in the conviction that this was beneficial to both Russians and Europeans.
But since 2014, the European Union has taken another path. As a result of the Ukrainian crisis, barriers were put in place that hindered our entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Russia and limited the import of products from that country. However, it cannot be said that this improved the political framework, because Putin’s political system closed in on itself even more and strengthened his isolation.
Nothing surprising. For decades, the United States has used the embargo against Cuba without yielding any results, while the embargoes imposed sanctions on everyone. On the economic level, tariffs are also ineffective on the political level, because they prevent the intersection of experiences, sensitivities, and cultures that naturally develop when borders are permeable.
Putin does not intend to be the patron of Europe, and if he makes certain choices, it is because he is guided by very careful calculations. Nevertheless, the Europeans for their part must rediscover the importance of trade: it is necessary to lower prices and remove the illusion that renewable sources are sufficient for our needs, but above all lay the foundations for increased integration and start dialogues, relationships, pollution, hybridization.
The great liberal authors have always known that, if they quote from a formula attributed to Frédéric Bastiat, if the borders are not crossed by goods, sooner or later armies will cross them. What we did not understand in the past by thinking about freedom and rights, we must understand today by thinking a little about the upcoming energy bills.
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