By Ebru Sengul
ANKARA (AA) - The European Union (EU) has agreed to gather a comprehensive industrial group together in an effort to break the monopoly of the U.S. dollar in energy trading and promote the euro, according to international media outlets on Wednesday.
The industrial group includes executives from European oil and gas firms such as Austria's OMV, Italy's Eni, Belgium's Fluxys and France's Engie. The media outlets reported that the meeting would take place in Brussels behind closed doors on Thursday under the auspices of the European Commission.
“The EU is the world’s largest energy importer with an annual energy import bill averaging €300 billion in the past five years. Roughly 85 percent of this amount is paid in dollars,” the Commission said in documentation prepared for the meeting, according to the media reports.
The EU's aim is to bring a “market-initiated” change, while participants of the meeting are called for digging into "constraints on alternatives to the use of U.S. dollar through wider use of the euro, in spite of the benefits of such a change."
The reports noted that the meeting is part of a consultation process until mid-2019 and is expected to provide new input to EU plans for promoting the euro in energy trading.
On Dec. 5, the European Commission announced the adoption of a recommendation on the international role of the euro in the field of energy, promoting its wider use in this "strategic sector."
"Strengthening the international role of the euro in the field of energy investment and trade will help reduce the risk of supply disruptions and promote the autonomy of European businesses. It can therefore make an important contribution to our objective to ensure security of supply in the Energy Union," Miguel Arias Canete, commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, was quoted as saying in the announcement made in December.
The relationship between the EU and the U.S. has been strained over a number of issues since the latter withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, in May last year despite stiff opposition from close U.S. allies in Europe.
The six remaining parties to the accord -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran -- announced the creation of a system within the EU to facilitate ongoing payments to Iran in circumvention of U.S. sanctions.
In the two years of his presidency, Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord and the Trans Pacific Partnership. The president is also reported to have suggested multiple times last year that he wanted the U.S. to pull out of NATO, according to the New York Times.