June 6, 2014 6:02 am JST

G-7 leaders denounce energy blackmail

SHUHEI KATO, Nikkei staff writer

BRUSSELS -- Group of Seven leaders have condemned the use of energy supplies "as a means of political coercion or as a threat to security," taking a swipe at Russia, whose natural gas exports give it leverage over Ukraine and Europe.

     The club of industrial powers voiced concern about the volatile mix of energy and politics in a communique Thursday following a two-day summit, much of which was spent discussing the Ukrainian situation.

     The leaders said they will work to broaden the market for liquefied natural gas by developing new supplies and transport infrastructure. They also called for supporting innovation in renewable energy.

     The global economy has strengthened since the group met last but still faces downside risks, according to the communique. Policymakers' focus is shifting from dealing with the global financial crisis and its fallout to pursuing structural reforms.

     The leaders said they would present "ambitious and comprehensive growth strategies" at the Group of 20 summit in Australia this November, including steps to reduce joblessness, empower women and promote innovation.