Energy crisis: Saudi crown prince welcome again?
After the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became a persona non grata in the EU amid suspicions that he commissioned the crime. This week, however, the controversial heir to the Saudi throne was received by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The energy crisis is facilitating his rehabilitation, commentators suspect.
No mention of human rights
Saudi Arabia and Greece signed a new energy agreement during bin Salman's visit to Athens on Tuesday. Documento criticises Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' stance vis-à-vis the Saudi prince:
“As a democratically elected prime minister of a European country, does he really have no qualms about not making any mention to this murderer and kidnapper about the need to respect human rights? ... In the case of Mitsotakis, an answer to this question is superfluous. This man who maintains relations with the leader of one of the most authoritarian countries in the world is the same man who is responsible for the destruction of press freedom in Greece, the targeted persecution of journalists and the bloody deportation policy.”
Now is the time for realpolitik
Le Point is counting on the French president to take the right approach:
“Emmanuel Macron's goal is definitely to put pressure on the Saudi ruler so that he agrees to increase oil production. So far there is no solution to this problem, because Opec is co-chaired by Riyadh and... Moscow! ... All of this points to the urgent need to return to realpolitik so as to give France and Europe more autonomy vis-à-vis the Russian behemoth, which until the war covered almost 20 percent of our energy requirements, in particular regarding gas, and to put the question of human rights on the back burner. Emmanuel Macron knows this and has always cultivated relations at the international level, sometimes even to the detriment of the most important French values.”
Like a 'Sun Prince'
The controversial guest does not receive a state banquet, but the fierce protests against him are understandable, La Repubblica finds:
“Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in France like a sun king, at least to judge by his choice of residence. His chateau in Louveciennes, a stone's throw from Versailles, is a modern palace inspired by Louis XIV's grandeur and built a decade ago by Emad Khashoggi, the cousin of the journalist murdered in 2018. It is one of the many paradoxes of the Saudi prince's visit - his first since he was ostracised by the international community for Khashoggi's barbaric murder. ... Macron, for instance, is not embarrassed to receive the Saudi prince for a working dinner at the Elysée Palace.”
Renewables now please!
Bin Salman's international rehabilitation is now complete, Der Tagesspiegel notes:
“The ostracization of bin Salman lasted just under four years. Now the spiralling energy prices are making him socially acceptable once more. This is what is known as realpolitik, and it's necessary in view of the looming crises in Western society. However, currying favour in this way naturally undermined the arguments of those who want to disengage from Russia and dispense with its energy. So now is the time to introduce renewable energies across the board - also to avoid having to roll out the red carpet for evil rulers who happen to have access to natural resources.”