Dieter Helm is characteristically sharp:
To meet [a] series of new challenges, Europe needs more than a set of national responses, however much these might be in individual member-states's narrow interests. That Germany is in the driving seat, both as Gazprom's hub and with the presidencies [of the EU and G8], provides a timely chance to prepare Europe for its future energy dependency, and to better align its internal energy market reforms with the external challenge.
But at stake is much more: if Germany fails to go down the European path, it will be a break with one of the deep political objectives of the EU, and it will show the sceptical voters of Europe that the EU cannot deliver in an area of such vital interest. Energy is where a significant part of the case for greater European integration may be won or lost.